Lets talk about quality

Geostigma

Pro Adventurer
AKA
gabe
#1
For a bit of context, recently we quickly made a video regarding Tabata leaving SE. While we were happy with the final product it did bring on a brief shower thought-esque discussion regarding quality, speed in making the content, and to an extent the idea of whether or not we should just do barebones reporting or strive to add our own flare into the mix generally.

I posted my overall thoughts on the subject a day later and wanted to pick the brains of the fellow content creators on the team on the subject, but then after a bit of discussion I both realized that Discord is not a good platform for that and I was actually kind of curious what you guys who consume the content also think on the subject.

anyway I'm basically going to copy and paste the post now, as usual my formatting is trash :monster:


"
Before I get going though I just want to make sure im clear that im not trying to state this stuff from an authorative place or be number 1 subscriber to imright.com or anything. I'm really interested in everyones input on this and seeing what we come up with as a team Anyway during work today I thought a lot about the varying video styles , stuff like speed vs quality both in terms of the video itself and scripting and stuff like delivering the news so that were on time with it or making sure to inject our TLS flare onto it etc. Ultimately I came to the conclusion that we should probably strive for hitting the flare mark more often then not mainly due to the following reasons.



A) The (in my opinion) 3 types of content consumers.
B) Our Competition (even if we don't necessarily look to compete full on).

For the 3 consumers I think (in order of smallest to largest amounts) they are basically
1- The reader. They prefer to read the news etc.
2- The Viewer. They prefer to watch/hear the news etc.
3- The Headliner. They literally only read a headline and go straight into the comment section.

Our competition (in no particular order)
1- Other similar youtubes
2- Gaming Journalism (written)
3 - Reddit Front Page Headlines



It's due to these 6 things combining in various ways that I think we really should gun for some sort of hook or flare to both further reach and retain viewers. For Readers/Article competition , why would a viewer go out of their comfort zone of like Eurogamer to watch our videos? Just paraphrasing an article will not only not pull them in, it may even push them away. The same goes for the other types of consumers and competition types, especially for the type of "consumer" who just sees a reddit headline and goes straight into the comment section. It's the reason why people may know who Jim Sterling is , but don't know who videoblogger 5 million is.



For what its worth I do think we can skate by doing some by the numbers news hits to tide us over till we drop the bigger/thoughtful video types, but I do think we can do more and be rewarded for trying as well.

"
 

Flare

Pro Adventurer
AKA
Flare
#3
I agree with what you wrote, Gabe, and it was also fun discussing it on the Discord too, because putting heads together to discuss ideas is great :reptar:

Also am I the only one who read "inject our TLS flare onto it" and for a second wondered why I was being injected? :awesome:

I've noticed that low energy as well with the creative teams. In a way, it's almost like this most recent video was just people wanting to do something in the 'drought' (if that's a good term for it), regardless of what it was. Okay Imma just dive into a bit of that constructive criticism again I suppose :wacky:

We have a really great team and as I mentioned on Discord, the video actually fell flat for me. Not because the script was bad, or the voice, or some of the clips (although as I mentioned to Gabe I thought showing the Ardyn clips 3 times during the vid was a bit much), but because it was just another echoing of a news story that probably every FF fan already knew of by then.
When I was a major lurker for TLS and getting all the cool news from the site, I read all the articles about site news and FF/SE news in general that popped up, and then I enjoyed listening to stuff directly from the community members (like podcasts, though I started listening to those right after I joined, and browsing some of the absolutely fabulous conversations and speculations about the games). So I think we should definitely keep writing articles to cover news stories, but making a YT video... we're not going to compete very well in that area unless we were dedicated to bringing news out right away with a 24/7 team or something. At least I don't think we would be. So yeah, the news video wasn't bad! But it was just telling me stuff I already knew, so why (if I was a rando) would I want to watch it?

Tl;dr I think, and this is just my opinion and I'm looking forward to reading everyone else's opinions and ideas on the matter :D but I think that if we're going to make videos, they'd be better suited to quality and more uniqueness than speed to push out recent news stories. I have a few more thoughts floating around for video ideas but I'll come back to them later I think and end the post for now!
 

Lex

Administrator
#5
I've always favoured quality over quantity when it comes to TLS, but it would be great to set a bare minimum quota of something like videos per month or whatever to keep content ticking along while maintaining the quality.

I like what people have been putting out so far but I think it still needs some polish before it's where it *could* be for TLS, and I think when that bar is set and the standard is established, everyone working on content will know what to go for and the "regularity" of content will become easier to achieve.

In particular I agree that we should be striving to be as unique as we can easily be because our site is so niche so our videos should reflect that. This isn't to say I don't think we should be doing things like rebooting the let's play or a variation on it like a commentated relay (which I want to spearhead or be involved in myself) but the video ideas have been great, I think people just need the right time and tools to work on stuff.

This site has always been about uniqueness over general news and we've also always had issues with "regular" content - something Flint tried to remedy with the front page's "weekly roundup" which lasted for a while but petered out like everything else we're not too invested in doing (that was general FF news for the uninitiated).

It's been said before, but we have threads about things that are utterly specific to the deepest depths of the compilation, and there's no reason we can't have videos reflecting that kind of content aswell. There are people out there looking for it; like "is the compilation really over???" kind of thing (I mean it is now but you catch my drift).

My 2 pennies <3
 

lithiumkatana17

Pro Adventurer
AKA
Lith
#6
Unless we have a dedicated team for video content, I do agree that qu

Maybe it would be possible in the future to have some type of weekly recap series? There's enough tidbits that come through social media enough to make a 2-minute youtube video from that.

Also, on the subject of videos: I'm not expert, and I haven't fully edited a video from start to finish in a long time, but it could be beneficial to us if we had some type of video graphic to play on repeated loop while we splash quotes, voiceovers, and pictures in the background.

Example: some nice Lifestream floating and dissolving around.

I hate to bring up competition, but damn, I saw a nice video Pixel put out earlier that had some nice crystal graphics in it... Like damn, why couldn't we have something like that? I'm no animation/graphic designer expert... I think it at least deserves some research.

Also, and I'm not sure how to fix it, but the articles... We need better thumbnails on Facebook and Twitter. I think that's one of our issues with bringing in new traffic. People who've been lurking for years no better, but that's something we need to think about.
 

CrashOuch

Wide and Slow
AKA
Sara
#7
Re Pixel's video: I feel like it's worth pointing out that he's been working on that for at least six months and that he's been teaching himself animation for like the last two years or something, pretty seriously, because it's something he's idk really passionate about so, like, I think shit like that might be a little beyond us? I don't think anyone here's an animator? Like ... but he's also obviously relying pretty heavily on HD graphics ripped straight from the games and stuff, so, that's something we're already doing and something that I think looks really good. Also, his is a fairly basic look at just the straight up history of FF at the very beginning, not so much an editorial like what we're essentially discussing focusing on here? We can easily make way better stuff than that :tonguewink: I'm sure it's gonna be awesome, I don't mean that it's not, cos I really like his stuff, I just also don't think he's outshining our team. We're bare minimum on an even footing with him.
 

Geostigma

Pro Adventurer
AKA
gabe
#8
Not to drag his name through the mud or anything, but if were talking about ex- member of TLS Pixel its worth noting he has used a premade "template" here in the past as his own work (those materia orb things IIRC). It could be he just purchased a template license from contemporary sources like

https://videohive.net/category/after-effects-project-files

edit:

I edited my post earlier so that it was throwing less shade at Pixel which feels bad because I feel like linking this just throws him back under the shade, but just to illustrate the cost of stuff like this here is the template he used for his latest video

https://videohive.net/item/blue-crystal-pack/10949441?s_rank=3

I'm sure he intended to use that graphic repeatedly through out the series, but that still is 51$ for a regular license down the hole :monster:
In case anyone is unsure of what I mean in regards to these templates that can be purchased. Essentially the entire 3D effect, graphic etc. Is already done , all you do is purchase the project file and click a layer that says "TEXT HERE" and type in what ever you want. Similarly if you want to change an image there are layers marked like "IMAGE HERE" and you just add in what you want and hit render.

There is nothing difficult about "making" animations in this way, it just costs money to do it the right way as pirating the template is a surefire way to get your ad money redirected to the real owner. As you can see on the link I posted less than 300 people have purchased this template pack. I promise you the owner can easily cross reference who has purchased it and used it in their videos and who has pirated it :monster:



Which i mean depending on price im totally down for helping out if we find a real saucy thing were looking to add to our collection etc.
But this also sort of leads into another discussion regarding whether or not we are ok with purchasing and using licenses of other peoples work that could potentially crop up in videos from other channels and thus, potentially come off as cheap I guess? Not sure how to articulate the point lol.

With the exception of one of the graphics we used in like our 2nd or 3rd video most of our graphics and effects have been hand made by either me, or Lex, or in the case of the Intro both us goofing around in the same project file.

If someone can link me to a timestamp of the effect Pixel used in his latest video I can tell you straight up if I can or can't make something of that caliber though lol.

Animating little effects and animations isn't difficult per say, how ever generally they need a good knowledge of various techniques that you wouldn't expect to work well together to really pull off I like to refer to this tutorial to illustrate how convoluted simple animations can get in terms of tech used

https://www.videocopilot.net/tutorials/animated_polygon/

It's also worth noting atleast in my case im primarily a AE editor and while its great for video and to a degree motion 3D graphics with the right plugins there are better things to make animations in that I just simply have not learned.


Regarding animated backdrops etc. for Article screengrabs etc. This is something we sort of toyed with in the past, we thought of using a custom sort of border for videos that used gameplay with lower resolution (i.e. FF7 gameplay). I believe Lex drew up a neat mock design for us but we haven't pursued it much further after E3 sort of killed the mood. I think if we do end up trying something like that though we could also use a similar graphic to fill out the screen for screencaps.

My only issue with that really would be that the screen cap needs to be in the focal point in the center which leaves little room to the right and left, and the mock up design we had for the border is more of a diagonal border rather then something to either side of the image.



I touched on this following point briefly in discord and thought I should bring it up here to.

I think something we just have to accept unless we make drastic changes to our style (and thus ruin the good vibe and team structure imo) were always going to be behind our competition by default, especially in the spectrum of quick news that is being reported instantly.

The fact of the matter is our competition is 1 of 2 types of people for the most part. People who are being paid to do this, and people who are no lifing it trying to get their youtube going. In both cases neither really has a team structure that they work on democratically and both are probably able to start cranking out a video at 2am when an obscure tweet hits and gets the news machine rolling.

It's because of that were always going to be behind, so since were already working as a team we should take that extra time to just make sure it has some TLS "Flare" on it :monster:

Also im totally up for weekly recaps, though I think if were only gonna cover mostly FF7 stuff most weeks episodes are gonna be "we aint found shit" lol.
 
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#11
Nothing much to add on this topic other than a general agreement that it's better to have content contain more of our style / quality over quantity, but I also echo Lex that it would be great to get into some form of rhythm and be able to produce 'semi-regular' content rather than have extended periods of drought.

On that subject however I do need to bitch a little. I think we've all been deflated due to lack of news, but it's no surprise that it also occurred during the 'switch' to the forum from Discord. I feel that really caused some issues. But weeks later, Podcast team and others started using Discord for things, whilst some tried to make use of the forum here and get the ball re-rolling. Now I see that there is a lot more going on back over at the Discord that I wasn't even aware of, with interesting posts about things, ideas, content seen, etc... So now there's almost a weird divide in the entire team.

We honestly need to use one or the other. We can't keep splitting the team or our energy - its certainly effecting the group dynamic.
 

Geostigma

Pro Adventurer
AKA
gabe
#12
We honestly need to use one or the other. We can't keep splitting the team or our energy - its certainly effecting the group dynamic.
I think they both have their place to be honest. Each platform has their pros and cons, there were several times I had to scroll up a ton because I forgot to grab a link to an article i needed for a video or finding a link to one of our drives etc. Heck the itinerary spreadsheet was full on lost for like 2 weeks lol.

I know Discord can sticky comments too, but it isn't as neat as a forum with sticky threads though imo.

That and with Discords more robust @system that will actually notify me like on my phone if someone needs me is pretty nice. The forum has it too but it wont notify me in my pocket nor can I drop an @everyone in a section either. Plus having a bit more of a "real time" platform is useful for relaying quick messages that aren't particularly needed on a forum or could easily fit in a thread or something.

Similarly discussions like this are way better on a forum that has a section dedicated to making it easy to go back to, re-read and keep track of while also being able to get the attention of people even if they didn't see the question when it first popped up. If you didn't see my question that got this thread rolling in the discord you would either have to see the tail end of the discussion and scroll up, or miss it entirely.

I'm pretty sure a simple middle ground an be found and as long as each member of the team is informed and aware that both are used it should be fine.
 
AKA
The Engineer
#13
To be honest... most of the unique stuff that this site has to offer are various people's pet projects. Stuff like Shademp's Lost Text Series, Tres's FFXV Lore archive, all the various translations people have done over the years... Those are the kind of things that make the Lifestream, the Lifestream, and not just any other FF news site.

I kinda wonder if there's some way we can open the floor (not nessicarily the front-page, but a forum thread?) to other people's FF pet projects. Or even if other people on the forums have those? Like... what do people like researching for fun about Final Fantasy? And I'm not even talking about crazy hidden things in the game either. Plot stuff, character stuff, world-building stuff...

I don't know. Part of me thinks that at least having a dumping ground in the forums for "the one time I was board and looked up what all the FFVII Shin-Ra related mobs are" wouldn't be the worst thing in the world...
 

Carlie

CltrAltDelicious
AKA
Chloe Frazer
#15
In regards to discord and the forum I agree with Gabe they both have their pros and cons. To me anything that is time sensitive, you need to get a hold of someone or your having a live conversation because you're working or something together should be on discord. Any big discussions, ideas for new projects etc should be here on the forum.
 

Lex

Administrator
#16
IIRC my idea initially was to have that discord server closed when a section of the board had been created, and open a channel or two on the main TLS discord server for content creation (structurally similar to the way this section is set up, some of it public some of it not). I see the benefit of having a live chat but agree with Claymore that there's less incentive to make use of this section of the board while the server is open. It's best we keep file links etc. here so I can sticky appropriate threads.

If people are opposed to that idea let me know.
 

Lex

Administrator
#17
I genuinely don't see why we don't host a member ff-art section, or just generic member creations section.
We have tonnes of amazing artists on the board and apart from their own art threads in the forums we don't really showcase the work.
I agree with this too - we do have a section for art though, it's "creativity" under general. Are you talking about the front page or the board? And if it's the board, are you talking about it being somehow different?

The board structure needs to drastically change, this has been the case for years IMO. I wanted someone to create a visual map of the board so we could all discuss where fit best where, but it's a bigger project than people might think to implement (the mapping itself isn't much work but even then nobody was really willing to do it at the time and it's always just slipped down my own priority list of shit that needs to be done). It does need to be completed at some point though.
 

Geostigma

Pro Adventurer
AKA
gabe
#18
On mobile and at work so I have to be brief but regarding art and showcasing it better I was actually kind of toying around with the idea of doing that in the idea of the weekly recap.

Since FF7 news is sparse we could have the recap be forum centric and cover various people's art, cool threads we wanna invite the YouTube community to join us on. News about maybe movie night, funny quotes junk like that and then if there's Ff7/ FF or SE news it goes in too etc.
 

Carlie

CltrAltDelicious
AKA
Chloe Frazer
#19
That's a really cool idea Gabe, we bring a spotlight to the talent of our members and get people interested in our community. We can also feature some of this stuff in the TLS Istagram like the art, is a good venue for it.
 

Ergo

Sugar Honey Ice & Tea
AKA
Ergo, V
#20
Yeah pretty much what's already been discussed above. Slow news weeks could quite easily be filled up with showcasing work. Not gonna lie i think it may also encourage folks to do more artwork also if they know the site is going to showcase it which to me is a win win.

Doesn't just have to be artwork, it can be any form of creativity such as short stories etc as long as they tie in to the sites aesthetics.
 
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