DM Tales, I Learned Some Things


This week I recorded, edited, and released my second video for my “DM Tales” channel. I’ve embedded the video below, and would be honored for readers to take the time to watch it 1. I released the video yesterday morning, which also happened to be “GM Day 2,” which I did not know was a thing. Drivethru RPG is even holding a nice sale site-wide to celebrate, and these prices will continue though March 14th. If you want to buy some old school books, either print on demand or as PDF’s, that’s a great place to look.

I’ve learned a couple of things in my two weeks creating regular content, so I figured I’d share them here.

First, a video monitor is essential. My camera’s screen flips out, so I can see myself while recording, but it’s small. I also connect to my camera though an app so I can control settings and begin the video but, even though my phone closer to me, its video preview is even smaller. This means I don’t notice things creeping into the frame, like a distracting goose-neck Ikea desk light, or take note of just how bad the background clutter is. The thing is, I have a monitor on my desk. I could have set that up out of frame and dealt with all this, but the thought never crossed my mind. But I have learned.

Second, you can’t escape post-production. I did two takes of this week’s video, the first was recorded through OBS and the second straight to my camera. On my first take I was trying to avoid significant post-production by running all my overlays through a Keynote presentation and activating them using my Stream Deck. The workflow was nice, but the footage wasn’t. There were a few reasons for this–I’d set my camera to a more flat look so I could color grade in post, I forgot to set my output in OBS to 1080p so the overlays looked horrible, and the frame drops were obvious. My second take I recorded only the video and added all my overlays in post, the results were much better.. Again, I learned.

Third, I can’t have too many overlays. As I was editing I was concerned that I was cutting to my overlay images too much. It turns out, I wasn’t doing it enough. There’s a particular bit at the end, which my friend Jamison pointed out, that I should have been showing my current campaign map on screen. This is something I’ll need to keep in mind as I move forward. Learning is good.

Fourth, I need to learn how to breath while mic’d up. I was talking so fast that my inhaling sounds like the intake of a jet engine. It took me an hour to quash all those sounds in post. Learning 3 how to breathe from my diaphragm will cut that down a lot.

Fifth, planning ahead is good. I already knew this from being a preacher and a blogger, but making videos highlights this even more. Between my world building videos and my actual game stories I have between sixteen and twenty weeks mapped out. Now I can start fleshing out how I want to present these videos and write the notes that become my rough script. And as new ideas come up, I’m adding them to my notes 4. It’s nice when established lessons find new applications.

And there we are, five lessons from an upstart YouTuber. I hope you enjoy this week’s DM Tales and, if you’d like to be kept in the channel’s loop beyond my weekly blog updates, you can follow my DM Tales twitter account.

  1. This is where I’m supposed to add, “Don’t forget to like and subscribe!” 
  2. For the uninitiated, “GM” means “Game Master.” That’s the generic term for the person who runs any Role Playing Game. 
  3. Learning is the theme of this post. If you hadn’t figured that out, you have now learned something. 
  4. Which I am keeping in Scrivener.