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The Budget of A YouTube Video

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*This article on YouTube Budget is picking up from the previous blog article: Are Netflix and YouTube Really the New Television

Concluding on the topic of Netflix and YouTube operating as network stations for the 21st Century: We know that Netflix operates on studio sized budgets. Today, we will examine the budget of a YouTube video. YouTube is now a combination of corporate channels and amateurs. There is the potential (or at least fantasy) for any amateur to go viral and have their postings become a viable source of income.

Low Budget under 100,000 views

Approx. Episode Cost: $1,000

Biographics: NDG

The newest of the Simon Whistler channels, Biographics is rather low on the views spectrum. They air new episodes once a week. The budget is based on research, editing, and Simon’s narration recording.The tone of the video is speaking to the week it was posted but the overall video will serve as an online for decades to come. Watch a couple minutes of this episode about  Neil deGrasse Tyson. Biographics tries to spice up the visual appeal of the video with overhanging close-ups to the narrator and sharp contrast of colors reminiscent of a McG music video.

Low Budget with 5 Million Views

Juns Kitchen: Cooking for cats

Approx. Episode Cost: $500

Low budget can also be high views. But did you remember to cast cats? Juns Kitchen is a cooking show with some episodes of cooking for cats. Notice the great upbeat music. Because it is swing music from the 1930’s it is most likely public domain. The lighting could be better. This video was setting a mood and much of the channel’s other work is better but to find out more about using practical lighting click here. The bulk of the budget for the videos is the initial costs of the camera and lights. The individual video costs are all editing based. This channel’s videos could also use some text, especially for recipes.

Medium Budget with 1 million views

Worth It: $2,500 Pizza

Approx. Episode Cost: $10,000

One of the many BuzzFeed videos. This is a program within a channel. The other two examples are from channels that air episodes of one program. BuzzFeed lumps several shows into one channel. While the food costs might be waived for the production as a promotional for the restaurant the talent, editing and travel costs build up to a more than modest production. This is where a larger entity business can reduce risk by diversification. Everyone likes pizza, so enjoy a good old street slice or a gold-leaf squid-ink caviar monstrosity.

We can talk about High Views – High Budget. The YouTube Red original movie Lazer Team costs $2.5 million and has 10 million views. This is funded by YouTube and brings the prestige of their original content. This is not very much bang for the buck. Also, this article intends to show how YouTube is the gateway for 3rd party companies to produce and air their own videos.

There is a thing called Low Views – High Budget but we’ll save those examples for a blog on “What Went Wrong?”

Of course, professionally looking corporate videos can be done on a budget. Advertising a product and entertaining a crowd are not the same aim. Ads should be entertaining. The videos we are analyzing border more on educational or informational. YouTube seems to take over the Reality TV market more than Netflix. Both have mixed script/interview/documentary content but each does one of them significantly better.

If you are analyzing the data of what type of shows will yield the highest return rate then cooking up a storm is the what you need. Oh, and cute cats can’t hurt.

Are Netflix and YouTube Really The New Television?

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I recently looked at new apartments. Most of the ones I viewed were fully furnished. One detail could not escape my reasoning. Why did all these places come with a large screen television? Me personally, I have been sans idiot box for over a decade now. No need for applause, there are still countless hours viewing all types of programming. I use my laptop and tablet for almost everything. This includes music listening and playing, video games, movies, news, and series. As I was signing a lease I asked about internet service providers and the landlords informed me about a package deal that includes cable television. So not everyone is onboard with the streamlined living room look yet.

Days Past

My childhood, as everyone from the latter half of the 20th Century, can recall the focal point of the living room as the couch and chairs that revolve around the large box in the corner. The main display of our culture, affectionately bearing the title TV. It is a nice return to days past to have a living room were community, conversation, and reading can thrive. It’s also just one less mechanical thing that can go wrong and makes moving a lot easier.

The Hardware Industry

Manufacturers are still pumping out the new format television. “Smart televisions” are a crossbreed between those that want the best of both worlds. You can stream from your favorite premium sites and watch from the cable providers. Event programming such as sports and awards shows are the last holdouts to fully adapt to the streaming digital world. Every year for the past decade, the Oscars tries to let viewers watch online. However, this is only if they have a legitimate cable subscription and are within domestic range.


The Netflix Addicts

Move aside Hulu, this is no longer a competition. Netflix has the original programming that consists of about 20% of the “water cooler” shows we all need to see before entering the office the following day. In fact, most new Netflix series premiere over a weekend whereby binging is the new norm. You watch what you can and catch up with your cronies throughout the week; avoiding spoilers if you’re lucky. Part of the genius is not so much the original formatting programming. Netflix seems to greenlight anything that comes their way…

Original Programming Vs. Intelligent Algorithms

This a bit strange because Netflix does not have an open submission policy like Amazon does. Yet Amazon Prime original programming is much more refined. Good luck to all you hopefuls; keep the dream alive. The real genius behind why you watch Netflix so much is the algorithm that suggests more programs. With over 70,000 micro-genres, Netflix is the prime tool to find new shows and movies you might enjoy. A recent study also found that the shows you watch on Netflix and for how long can accurately predict your sexual orientation. Too bad Klinger didn’t have this useful tool during M*A*S*H*.

YouTube Stardom

YouTube allows anyone to post their own content and potentially go viral. This was the case for Colleen Ballinger who created the character Miranda Sings on Youtube then made the leap to Netflix. Her 8 million followers on YouTube did not translate well to Netflix and they recently canceled the show after its second season. I am not here to promote it but if you like awkward aesthetics like Jon Waters films, American Movie, or Little Britain then this is right up your alley.

YouTube Vlogs

A prime feature on YouTube is video clips. A short 5-15 minute video can be even more addictive than Netflix binging. The revenue from Youtube is also slightly different than premium services. Channels can extract revenue from Google ads within the video window. Channels can also promote products or services during the airtime. For educational programming, channels can set up a Patreon site for additional funds.

We will continue this blog tomorrow to talk about the difference in budget for videos that get under 100,000 views versus those with over a million. But I’m curious how many of my readers still use cable television more than streaming. Hit us up on social media with your response.

Bizarre Christmas Movie Stories

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We can talk about the Christmas classic films and how they shape our conception of the holiday expectations. Another interesting angle is the list of films we forget take place during Christmas. This list focuses on the unique aspects each of these contributing films brings to the culture of our holiday. Yep, each example tests an experiment in how we perceive ourselves a whole. How we consider movies as being part of our lives and the science we can tweak to discover something new.

What is the Christmas Ingredient to Cinema?

Let’s ask what qualifiers make a film “Christmas themed.” Love Actually has pursued the ranks of recent holiday classics. While focussing on the conflict resolution during the Christmas holiday, the film takes place over several months. There are other films that have extended holiday scenes. Who could forget the Christmas pageant in Mean Girls? Yet one scene does not make a movie into a holiday film. So it should take place essentially around the season.  What about those films that take place all in one day, like an ancient Greek play… And that day is December 25th.

The Die Hard Dilemma

Ya, Die Hard takes place in one day on Christmas. Film nerds like to talk about this fact because it slips through the first time viewing eyes with little recognition. Originally, Die Hard needed to be a Christmas related story because the lead characters were experiencing a family crisis. An earlier draft of the script describes the McClane family as having lost a child on Christmas day years earlier. The story goes, Bruce Willis was too funny reciting lines like “Yippee Ki Yay” which didn’t jive with the dramatic overtones. The idea of the action-holiday genre was born.


But it Has a Crazy Grandfather

Decades before Die Hard tackled the Holiday box office with the action slot-filler, a film noir swept audiences. Ok, Lady in the Lake took a rather measly share upon its release. It remains a failure at critic success too, except for one unique trait. IT’S ALL SHOT IN THE FIRST PERSON!?!? I’m glad someone tried this but the result is nauseating, motion sickness not metaphorical). Bad reviews aside, when watching you get a detective thriller taking place on Christmas Day.

National Treasures

Twentieth Century USA religiously watched two things on Christmas. Football and It’s a Wonderful Life. The film would air on TV like clockwork, sometimes for 24 hours continuously on a single channel. If you were watching it then it either good times or you are stuck in a hospital and there is no other choice. But one country takes this a massive step further.

Home Alone Riots

Forget all the Polish Jokes you’ve heard as a kid. They are most likely incorrect stereotypes that do not make any sense nowadays. The modern country enjoys a stable and growing economy. Oh, and even a Christmas tradition of watching Home Alone. The movie would play on TV every year until the networks decided to change it up. Well, in 2010, patriots and Christmas goers throughout the country rose up and took arms to the streets. Fans leaped onto wire fences screaming “WHAT IS KEVIN DOING?” Some might have lit themselves on fire as the protest ensued. Because essentially the psyche get bound up throughout the year that the repetition of a tradition is a powerful way to relieve the stress. It’s funny that we do this as a cultural setting.

Christmas Commercials from 2017 Not to Mistletoe

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Ok, sorry for the pun. But getting into the holiday cheer is a strict recipe. First, be 20% silly. Then, hit an emotional chord during the most vulnerable time of the year. Finally, dress it all up with the aesthetics of red and green. Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and NYE are the bundle package that ends the calendar year for marketing cliches. Not every element will contain Santa hats and trees. What maintains true to the season is the spirit of giving and a touch of magic. These recent ad spots will get you in the mood to celebrate.

Audi Parking Lot Race

Car commercials are in full force and the typical stereotype made popular by Mercedes Benz showing a new car with a bow on it in a driveway is not what this ad jumps to. Instead, Audi plays off the Black Friday theme frenzied gift buying. We see two similar model Audis pull up to a shopping mall parking lot. The two drivers, exchange an amicable nod of the head. A spirit of giving is inside these consumers (high-income, middle-aged white American men).

The idea is that there is room for us all to succeed in our quests. Then they notice there is only one parking spot left and they will have to race through a crowded parking structure to seize the victory. Now, when I am at a crowded mall, I patiently wait for someone to leave and never drive over 5 mph as it is dangerous. Oh well, let’s throw caution out the window for some fictionalized gallivanting.

The song Carol of the Bells plays. Definitely the most haunting Christmas carol on the market. The reason for the creepiness could be its origins in a Ukrainian folk chant. Russian music often uses a 12 note scale instead of the 8 note our Western ears find aesthetically harmonious. The motorists derive various tactics to suit their parking dilemma. Each action in the sequence is a product shot for the features of the car. The race continues to a fade to black shot. Our imaginations wonder for a second what has happened. Then we see a wobbly shopping cart wheel and a slight crash between the two drivers. Successfully they have found parking spots and entered the store. Now, the battle rages for the last toy in the shop.

This ad knows its audience. They know what their market looks like physically, financially, and what they want out of a car and out of life. Audi drivers are also family people who like a good laugh at the expense of reality.

Amazon’s Give Spot

Basing the ad around a cover of the Supertramp song Give a Little Bit, Amazon breaks into the holiday season with the theme of gift giving. Amazon’s audience is much more diverse and widespread than Audi’s. Thus the subject character that is doing the giving is not in full frame. It can be anyone of us. In fact, this spot utilizes an adult passenger on the bus who has a few minutes to shop online. We see the Amazon logo with a Christmas theme logo.

This displays that Amazon’s services can be used anywhere, particularly via mobile devices. We then view the service in action. Animated versions of the Amazon logo lip sync to the song as they move along a conveyor belt to the shipping phase. We get a good first-person view for the minute-long almost continuous shot as we follow along to the song. Finally, we arrive at the destination and see a young smiling child with missing top incisors. Remember, cuteness totally sells.

Macy’s Lighthouse

Here is an example of corporate cinema to tell a more detailed story and hit at deeper emotional chords. Without dialogue or narrations, the spot showcases a story like element of visuals in the extended 2-minute version. Set to a slow tempo cover of the song Everlasting Light by Barking Owl and making use of the golden hour in a tranquil New England coastal setting this video harkens to the American Christmas with home and family.

These are the attributes of their customer base and the desires within their viewers. We see children playing and pictures of family. Many of the items include clothing and home products could be product shots for what Macy’s sells but this is not the highlight. The emotional rift to the storyline is what matters. This plays more as a music video than a commercial. The framing of the shots and the tones of color set the mood for the season.

There is little conflict, just restlessness and a passing of time in anticipation for the gift opening practices. The video ends with a family dinner and the prime positioning of a bag with the Macy’s logo.

Pornhub Hanukkah

*This is absolutely Safe For Work, I steer you wrong not.

We open as a couple lights the menorah, only to astonish in the lights from a house across the street putting on a show extravagance. The display is a rockin’ example of some modern Jewish pride. The feelings soar as the impact climaxes. Then we are left goop-free with a new tip of knowledge for a great sale offer! Free premium Pornhub service for the 8 days of the Challa-Days! Is the commercial in some way offensive? This M.O.T. author is just proud there other marketers and audiences with hidden tastes. Hey, New Evolution even did a weed ad. We just got an early start on 2018.

Overall, Christmas and December holidays are the dominating season for the B2C market. Consumers of all types want to have fun and delay responsibilities. B2B investments are not at the top of most Santa wishlists. While you may have a hard time hocking diet and exercise products this month, New Year’s is right around the corner and viewers’ minds are ready for priming. Today’s branding is tomorrow’s sales.

Office Holiday Parties for Motivation and Celebration

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Office Parties at Huge Companies

I began my career at Disney. A multinational conglomeration that had the funds but not the heart or logistics to engage all the departments in an office party. Sure, separate branches had their own respective parties and I went to a couple social events during the year. In fact, during Summer, half of the Burbank lot would turn into a carnival-like festival for a day. The company encouraged employees to bring their families. There were plenty of activities for the kids. I was in my mid 20’s and all about the work. I thought office parties were just to make an appearance and show that you can stay sober then move on to your own time.

Office Parties at Medium Size Companies

Cut to a few years later when I went to work for a vendor company that made movie trailers for Disney and other studios. The 150 employees, from three locations around Hollywood, had the chance to socialize for the office holiday party. I was only a month in during my first holiday party. Thus, I figured I had to make an appearance, then I could go out and enjoy my Friday night. The party was at the Edison nightclub in Downtown LA. From the moment I walked down the stairs, I knew this was something special.

A huge buffet spread of various foods decorated the center table. Despite filling myself up with tapas prior to my arrival, I embarked on the journey of fresh roasted salmon with asparagus. And even though there was no room left in my gullet, I piled several handfuls of fresh precious berries and hand-whipped cream onto my plate and through my taste buds. I could care less there were people around that I should converse with when there was such a magnificent food spread. I mean, if I was going to say anything it would just be about the food.

Motivation and Celebration

People could eat at the buffet, play video games in hidden rooms, enjoy the open bar, or dance to the music. Then the CEO began to speak. A large projector and multiple flat screen TV’s around the lair showed the speech then rolled into the new demo reel they were so happy to announce. Cheers from the audience roared for minutes and confetti shot out of cannons. The video of our work created motivation and celebration for the other videos.

The Trouble with Office Parties

The stigma of work-related parties getting rowdy is of great concern these days. There are harassment and other inappropriate liabilities to worry about. Yet, this could point to another reason to have them recorded. Alcohol might play a factor but that is a personal concern to any company. It’s a balance between having fun and staying professional.

The Best of

When you think about recruitment for your growing company you should picture the activities of people working and enjoying themselves. A few clips of highly motivated employees dressed up in suits can go a long way. Even recording an end of the year speech from the executives can grab a few key phrases that perfectly describe your mission purpose. You probably want prime moments like this recorded on 4K.

Cloning Tricks in Just A Few Easy Steps

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It’s fun to add some special effects to videos and applicable in many ways even to corporate videos.  Imagine an ad for a product where a spokesperson walks toward the camera. They present the product. Then an identical spokesperson arrives alongside and presents an improved version of the product. The same person can even have a conversation between themselves and not look crazy. We have all seen this effect in advertising and movies and now it is incredibly easy to do in all video productions.

Cloning Layers

To make cloning effects it is necessary to build layers. One for each clone you intend to use. Two is not the limit but each clone must be shot individually. This seems like more work. However, the initial setup to do the first two is where the majority of the work lies so consider buying clones in bulk if it works organically with the script.

Lock It Down

The first and most important thing to do is to lock down the tripod. It is crucial that the camera angles are the same for the entirety of the shot. Bolting the tripod to the floor would be ideal but sandbags to keep it in place with bright tape as a visual barrier so no unauthorized persons trample into it would do in most cases. Locking the camera into the right angle in the tripod is also part of this task but decent equipment makes that quite possible with a simple switch.


Next, calibrate the camera to auto white balance. Since white contains all colors in the visible spectrum, the camera will pick these up more quickly despite which lights you use in the shot. This video will explain more about white balance.

Lights, Camera, what’s that third thing…

Now comes the action. Film the first individual you want to appear from beginning to end. Then repeat with the second and third, etc. It is crucial to work quickly in this manner as small changes in the environment will create more drastic changes in lighting as time passes. Shoot all the intended footage giving yourself two takes of each for safety.

Editing Magic

Then it is on to post where there are a number of editing software programs that allow layers of video to be manipulated. I’m going to stick with Final Cut Pro as it is the most commonly used editing program. The process begins in a similar way to layering music but adding the trimmed shots on top of each other rather than various instruments. Next, you must crop the subject so the many clones are visible within the final shot.

Beyond being a fun effect, cloning creates a lot of symbolism in how you say your message. Something that was once long and tedious to do in production has become a realistic possibility so taking advantage of this feature is a nice addition to many corporate videos.  

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