A hobby I’ve mentioned on this blog is Exploration HQ, an online video series I’ve created with a friend. Since our last batch of videos years ago, I’ve made higher quality and resolution logos.
The new one has a few variants. It was made in Photoshop, same as the last. It was made through layering a couple of photos of grass using different masking effects. The polygon tool was also used for the triangle; the first time around, I’d actually meticulously drawn a triangle because I had no idea how to make a triangle in Photoshop at the time.
New Logo and Variants
Logo without text
Logo with white text
Logo without text with background
Logo with text with background
Logo with black text
Using After Effects to Create an Intro
Mask not showing logo
Mask showing logo
In the two above images, I’ve made it easy to see where I’ve masked the logo by showing it with the logo and one without. There are three masks; pink, green, and yellow. Each for different sections of the logo. Using these masks, a stroke effect has been applied and animated using keyframes.
The two big tools used on the logo were the masking tool and the stroke effect.
Finally, a black solid was used as the background and used the gradient ramp and noise effects to create a subtle red vignette. CC Ball Action was used for a particle effect.
Here’s something I like to work on in my spare time and when I’m bored. It’s an urban exploration YouTube channel that a friend and I started in sixth form in 2014. Since then, we’ve made a few videos and you can see how they’ve improved over time. You have to start somewhere.
What do I use to edit these videos?
I use Adobe Premiere Pro CS6. Or if I’m using a university computer, I hop onto the CC version. I used to use Sony Vegas, but I ditched that because Adobe is generally accepted as the overlord of editing media content, and is also beheld as a more professional editing suite. If I really wanted to, I could use After Effects to create better visual effects, but these aren’t necessary for pseudo-documentary type of internet videos.
How much money went into this thing?
Not a lot actually. I already had an old camcorder called the Sony HDR-CX115E from a second-hand shop. I think it cost about £180 at the time. I’ve started using my phone instead; modern smartphones make very decent videos and it’s now even better than my old camcorder. We all chipped into the project by buying our own equipment. Torches, respirators, etc. As for the video editing software? You know how it is.
I actually used this channel in a university interview and I have to say; they were impressed. It seemed like I knew more about the program than ther interviewer did as well. Call me a bragger, but I couldn’t think of any other sixth form student who made videos as high quality as these. It showed that I was genuinely interested in the subject I wanted to do.
As for advice for doing this sort of thing yourself? Get motivated. If you don’t have any friends who would do this with you, do it yourself. You know the saying; “if you want something done, you’ve got to do it yourself.” Just watch other internet videos and copy them – but make them into your own creation. That’s what I did. Think of it as market research. You’d also want to hop on a good username for your stuff and grab it quick. We made the mistake of choosing the name Medway Urbex and then deciding we wanted to expand it outside of the Medway towns. We changed it a couple more times before we settled with Exploration HQ. We managed to change some of our URLs, but not all of them. Now we’re stuck with a YouTube channel that has “medwayurbex” and “ministryofexploration” as custom URLs but not “explorationhq” as with our facebook and twitter pages.
If you actually go ahead and make a YouTube thing (as well as if you already have), please don’t go putting in pop music in your videos. Use a royalty-free library. Back in the day, the selection of music in royalty-free libraries were so bland and common I didn’t bother using them. I tried mixing the tempo and pitch of good songs owned by copyright-holders to cheat the system, but now they’re being picked up on. Over the past few months, more and more of our old videos have been flagged up by the automatic Content ID system. Just go with royalty-free music; there’s many good sounding copyright clean music out there nowadays, so there’s no reason not to.
Engage with your community as well, social media is a thing to take hold of. Nowadays, you can’t have a YouTube channel you intend to spread without having the complementing Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Have fun with it while you can; once you move onto your next stage in life (e.g. university), you’ll find it difficult to find the time and place to do this stuff.
Captioning your videos actually improves search engine optimisation (SEO)
Tag your videos with keywords people are likely to search for
Do not monetise your videos until they reach into the thousands (or better, tens of thousands). Seriously, it’s not worth it if you only get a few hundred views. The adverts will only drive new viewers away. Even we haven’t monetised anything yet
To achieve the effect we have on our newer intros, just layer upon layer of grunge textures on top of each other and change the blending options
One dirty tactic of getting your content to spread is by spamming twitter users with links. You know, those people who slide into your DMs after you follow back
Longer videos are preferred by the YouTube search algorithms. Try to make your videos 15~ minutes long. Our videos usually end up being about an hour long before editing, so it’s a lot of cutting but also a lot of leaving good stuff in
Try to come up with a unique concept. A reason for people to watch your stuff instead of “genericoolgamer1998”
Yes, this post is also intended to promote my channel