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YouTube Tips The 10 Second Secret To Better Videos

Brave Starr

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Before I get started I wanted to thank @Damon for suggesting the book that gave me this idea, which I share with you here with a bit of my own take on it. The book is called How To Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck. Definitely a must for any serious YouTuber. Now, on to the secret.

What if I told you that it could take you 10 seconds or less to find one amazing key to creating better video content? If you spent the last 10 seconds thinking about what I just said and you didn’t get it, fear not, I will tell you what this key is, even though I already told you what it was.

Have you ever looked at a video on content you enjoy watching, say a video on the latest iPhone features or how to make a beautiful rainbow cake, but somehow you found yourself bored after watching for less than a minute even though you were looking forward to the content? Maybe there was something about the way the video was created that just didn’t quite manage to catch your attention. Or maybe it’s not that it didn’t grab your attention but that it failed to hold it.

Ever heard of the saying you have the attention span of a goldfish? While there’s debate on whether it’s true that people’s attention span dropped from 12 seconds to 8, less than a goldfish, the reality, in my opinion, is that one’s attention span varies depending on what you’re focused on and the reason you’re focused on it. In the case of a YouTube video odds are your attention span is likely within that amazing key I mentioned before, 10 seconds. That’s why most YouTube Pros will tell you the first 10 to 30 seconds of your video are crucial to keeping the viewer from clicking away from your video. Take that advice one step further and every 10 seconds of your video can also become crucial to keeping the viewer from clicking away from your video all the way till the end.

You see, chances are many of you get bored if you’re watching a video where all you see is one scene that doesn’t change much. Our eyes are looking for something to focus on and if that thing is constant it can get tiresome and you end up losing focus and thus interest. The trick is to keep that focus on your video by keeping the viewer from getting bored and the key to that is changing the view every 10 seconds or less. “But what exactly do you mean by changing the view every 10 seconds or less?” you might ask. Well, let me give you some ideas.

Let’s say you’re making a video review on the latest Apple Airpod 3rd Gen (example). Part of your content will be you talking into the camera about the features, the style and other things about the airpods viewers might be interested in. Other parts will be the B-roll footage you took of the airpods. Now, if you follow the style of other tech reviewers you’ll have all kinds of angles on the airpods. From above, spinning on a lazy Susan, camera sliding passed the device and more. If your device looks good from different angles, why can’t you? Maybe you have multiple cameras you can use to record yourself giving you the ability to also create multiple angles of yourself. But if not, a single camera can work as well either by using the single angle of a stationary camera or you move the camera around recording different parts of your video. Either way, the idea is to have footage you can use to create the 10 second barriers where the viewer might start losing focus.

The way it works is you create your footage so that your script is broken into clips that last anywhere between 5 to 10 seconds. Every time you reach the end of one clip the video changes while you continue into your next clip. Then you repeat this pattern throughout your video. The idea is that the viewer is not watching your face or the, in this case, airpods as you talk for more than 10 seconds in a row. While the script makes it seem like you never stopped talking during your commentary, the video changes from your face to, say, a B-roll clip of the airpods for the next 5 to 10 seconds, then it jumps back to you. If the script calls for more of you and not B-roll then this is where different camera angles come in. Or if you’re just using a single angle then you can do things like zoom in, pop an image on the screen next to you of airpod stats, make text appear or even use special effects that match your script. The idea is to make it so that the focus of the viewer is not solely on a single scene for more than 10 seconds consecutively.

It’s basically the same concept as jump cuts where it seems like you’re not just saying a really long sentence that doesn’t seem to have a period or comma anywhere for a long time. It keeps your ears from getting bored.

I know this sounds a bit complicated and will likely extend the time it takes to edit a video because you’re working with a bunch of +/-10 second clips instead of longer clips but I believe, based on the content I currently enjoy on YouTube often tends to be created this way, that it can work if implemented correctly.

Do the research. Look at some of the YouTubers you watch. Check and see if their content style falls within the 10 second timing between each scene change. Compare the content to the timing to see what might work better with different genres. Then experiment with the concept yourself. Try and see what timings work best for you. This may not work for everyone and it may not work for every genre. It’s definitely not a great concept for gaming videos since most tend to depend on maintaining as much action on the video as possible and that action will always exceed the 10 second threshold but considering games are literally about moving in most cases the scenes are constantly changing anyways thus gaming videos are less dependent on scene changes and more dependent on the content of the game being good, more specifically the player.

Don’t forget to share your thoughts on this below. If you already use this technique, share your experience with it, maybe even add your own 2 cents. Thanks for reading.
 

Damon

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Thanks for the shout out. Don't know how many times I've told people to buy this book and do everything it says. T.V. and film has figured all this out over about 100 years, yet few YouTubers bother to learn those lessons.

Also most of my shots are about three seconds. Maybe five seconds when I'm overlapping the audio from one clip to the next to smooth things out. 10 seconds is a very long shot for me, and my videos are slow-paced.

In reality you'll see a variety of shot lengths in a film or T.V. show. The pace changes depending on the story.

Also, I don't watch other YouTubers, I watch films and T.V. Since I want every fishing adventure to be a documentary film, I spend most of my time watching other documentaries like National Geographic, mountain climbing documentaries, old Jacques Cousteau films, Bill Mason films, and etc.

I understand not everyone wants to be a filmmaker, but the film industry has long since figured this stuff out. Why not learn from them and make your videos better than all the other YouTubers you're competing against?
 
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Brave Starr

Brave Starr

Life ain't no Nintendo Game
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Thanks for the shout out. Don't know how many times I've told people to buy this book and do everything it says. T.V. and film has figured all this out over about 100 years, yet few YouTubers bother to learn those lessons.

Also most of my shots are about three seconds. Maybe five seconds when I'm overlapping the audio from one clip to the next to smooth things out. 10 seconds is a very long shot for me, and my videos are slow-paced.

In reality you'll see a variety of shot lengths in a film or T.V. show. The pace changes depending on the story.

Also, I don't watch other YouTubers, I watch films and T.V. Since I want every fishing adventure to be a documentary film, I spend most of my time watching other documentaries like National Geographic, mountain climbing documentaries, old Jacques Cousteau films, Bill Mason films, and etc.

I understand not everyone wants to be a filmmaker, but the film industry has long since figured this stuff out. Why not learn from them and make your videos better than all the other YouTubers you're competing against?
I'll admit that wasn't the first time I saw you mention it but I have this thing with books. We don't necessarily get along. ;) But when I listened to the Harry Potter series on audiobook I found a passion for audiobooks and so far have listened to 2 books in the past month that I would have never read no matter how interested I was in it. Now I'm listening to this one and am loving it. Might need to listen to it a second time as I believe I missed out on some awesome ideas because I usually listen to it at work which is a perfect place for listening to podcasts and audiobooks but sometimes ppl talk to me and I have to stop the player but sometimes I forget to and it keeps going for a little bit.

And if you're gonna limit yourself to just YouTube when the knowledge, experience and reach can get you noticed by more than just your viewers, then you're not thinking big enough. Look at the guy who was hired by Disney because he took the Mandalorian scene where Luke Skywalker shows up and improved it with just his home computer and uploaded it to YouTube or Super Woman Lilly Singh who now has her own TV show. YouTube is literally a potential gateway to Hollywood and more.

I love watching National Geographic and Discovery. The animal kingdom is fascinating to me.