In September I hinted that I had some exciting plans for the future of The Parsnip Post, one of those exciting plans was to start a Youtube channel. Last week I started recording my first video and yesterday I uploaded my first video. Today’s article is going to run through some of the processes behind the making of this video.
I wanted to make how to play videos to get a better understanding on the best way to approach teaching games and in turn writing a rule book for my future games. I decided to start with Railroad Ink since it is a game I am very familiar with and it has quite straight forward rules. Then came the next part, how do you make a board game video? Luckily there is already a video about just that from Tim Chuon. There is a lot of useful stuff in this video but the biggest takeaway for me was that my first step should be to write the script. The script should obviously be the flow in which you explain the different rules of the game. Once the script was finished it gave me a clear picture of how the video should look.
I experimented a bit with my set up and recording some shots and I found that it was difficult for me to read the script and also focus on making sure everything I was showing was in shot. I decided that the simplest way would be to record the voice over first and then play it back in my headphones while I record the video. I initially recorded with my headset but when looking for tips on recording audio I decided to upgrade to Razer Seiren Mini which I really felt gave a huge boost to the audio quality. Finally after a number of mistakes through trial and error the video was finally finished and published.
Overall I am quite pleased with the video, there is definitely a lot of room for improvement in it. For example, while recording I stood between the game and the main light source and I cast shadows occasionally, also relying on mid winter sun in Ireland for lighting is probably not the best set up. I also left out some info which I had to put in later as subtitles during the edit and I felt on playback that I speak too fast for someone if they aren’t familiar with the game. I also moved the camera in between recording which is something that should be so obvious not to do but I still did it.
There were also some smaller things I learned while recording this that made the process smoother for me. Firstly if you have game pieces that you want to stay in a fixed place then you should secure them to your table. In this video the game board kept moving as I drew on it so I just got some blu tack and stuck onto the table and then I didn’t have to keep resetting it for new takes when I would make mistakes. Another thing I found useful was to take my hand completely out of frame for a few seconds between any actions. This way in case there was any mistake in the video I could use the rest of the video and I would only have to reshoot that one mistake. This can also be applied to the voice recording, leave slightly larger gaps between sentences than normal as it can be easy to then cut mistakes instead of losing the whole audio.
Another video I found useful was this how to teach games video by tikyjo. This video is aimed at teaching in person but can also be applied for Youtube tutorials. She mentions considering the players experience and to avoid using board game jargon for beginners. This is the difficult think about Youtube, you don’t know who will watch the video so you don’t know their level, as such you should aim for it to be as accessible as possible. For example in my original script when giving an overview of Railroad Ink I described it as a “roll and write game”, after watching this video I decided to change that sentence to “a game where you roll the dice and draw railways and highways”. I think not only is this sentence more accessible for someone who might not know what a roll and write game means but it also gives a clearer picture of what happens in the game.
Finally I would recommend looking at more videos on Tim Chuon’s channel if you want more tips. His video on recording B-Roll and audio are some other videos of his that influenced my first video.
Let me know what tips would you give for recording a video?