I’m putting up tomorrow’s post today as I’ll be on the road most of tomorrow followed by… Wait for it… WorldCon! Okay, maybe I’m the only one around here excited about that. But you know, it beats going to work for a week. 🙂
At first I couldn’t think of what to write about. I’ve not been streaming so I’ve no highlights. The video I did post on Sunday consumed a gigabyte of my meager data allotment, so I won’t be doing that again. So as I was thinking about it I caught up on my Reader feed.
And wouldn’t you know it, Herding Cats gave me an idea! It’s not a rebut of her post, titled #Blaugust 18: Why I’m Not Watching Your Stream. I happen to agree with everything she said in that post. If you aspire to be a professional streamer, you need to treat it like a professional stream. That takes hard work and yes, as she points out, no small amount of talent. Talent I don’t have. I’m not ashamed to admit it. It’s the truth. If I’d have wanted to go into show business I’d be an actor… or something. But I’m not. I’m not going to pretend to be.
However, I do stream. I stream to Twitch, even though I once said YouTube Live was a superior platform. By the way, that is a really old post and a lot has changed since I did those comparisons. Perhaps one day I’ll redo the comparison, but for now I’m indeed using Twitch. More on that in a bit.
So how many viewers do I have? Practically none would be the correct answer. I occasionally get a lurker. And once in a great while I’ll actually get a, “hello.” Oft as not I’ll miss it, because I’m not a professional streamer. Sorry. It’s not personal. I’m just really into my game and I suck as a host. In fact, I am probably one of the worst streamers on Twitch these days. Okay, maybe I am the worst streamer on Twitch. That’s okay. I’m not streaming for you.
“So why the hell stream,” you ask? Because it makes video editing so much easier. 😀
First of all, I can capture an entire gaming session without consuming a single gigabyte of disk space. I used FRAPS for years because FRAPS is good. But it is an uncompressed video capture program and it is a hard-drive eater. One hour of full HD 60 frames per second Elite: Dangerous video capture consumes 100 gigabytes (or more) of disk space. Do you know what editing a file that large is like? I’ve 16 gigabytes of memory in my system and I sometimes run low on memory. By streaming to Twitch they get to handle the load.
Okay that’s not a really good reason. Playing and streaming at the same time often uses all CPU cycles and as much memory as editing a 100 gigabyte file. Also, by streaming my game session I am accepting a certain amount of compression, which I could easily do on my own hard drive. In fact, I do that on my laptop when I’m travelling as I am now. It’s how I got Sunday’s video done. So saving hard drive space and RAM isn’t it.
What is it is Twitch’s highlighting system. That taken in conjunction with YouTube’s relatively new video editor, I can save snippets of interesting game play and do things like produce the Sunday highlights I’ve presented on this blog. Both of those were done using Twitch highlights and YouTube editing. It’s practically painless.
Let me say something about the YouTube video editor while I’m on the subject. It’s awesome. I don’t mean that it’s technically awesome. That it is not, and I know. I use Adobe Premier when I need to do complicated things and that program is awesome. What I mean when I say YouTube editor is awesome is that it’s simple enough anyone can understand it and it’s freely available where ever you are, no matter the bandwidth of your connection. It’s also quick. I can spend hours upon hours working on one of my Elite: Dangerous videos in Adobe Premier. I can crank out a Sunday Highlights video in about an hour to 90 minutes. It’s a real time saver.
And that’s why I really stream. It saves time. Look, I have a full-time job. It consumes 40 to 50 hours of my life a week. When I have free time I like to game. I enjoy it. It’s my relaxation time. And though I do enjoy video editing, if given a choice between gaming and video editing I’ll take the gaming thank you very much. By streaming my sessions I already have them on the Internet, in a suitable format. I can highlight them on the Internet and, thanks to Google, I can edit them on the Internet now. That works for at least 80% of what I do.
And interestingly, I am seeing an uptick in YouTube views because I’m trying to limit video times via the Twitch highlight system to something that’s easily digestible. That’s one reason I started the Sunday Highlights videos. I intend to keep them at four to six minutes and just give viewers the exciting stuff. Probably 90% of my gaming is just boring because it’s all “been there, done that” stuff. That’s the nature of games. There is a lot of rinse, lather, repeat involved. We call it grinding. Apropos no? I suppose that means I’m trying to be professional with my YouTube videos… naaaaaaaaah. I’m just trying to be a nice guy and not subject the world to my World of Yawncraft level of gaming expertise.
Oh, wait, I promised to tell you why I’m using Twitch now and not YouTube Live. Simply put, Twitch has made up the video quality ground, which was its biggest detractor a bit over a year ago. Now I can stream full HD at 60 frames per second no sweat. And Twitch has always won the ease of use award. Streaming to Twitch is as easy as CTRL-TAB to get into Xsplit Gamecaster and then click Stream. Even when I was using Open Broadcast Software it was very easy to start a stream: just a couple of keystrokes. YouTube Live was not that way when I evaluated it April of last year, and I don’t think it’s gotten any easier. It bites. Twitch still has the issue with their apps only giving access to the 300 top streams at any given point in time, but I’m personally not worried about that. As I said, I’m not a professional streamer.
Anyway, I hope this has given a few of you some ideas on why you should use streaming even without a desire to be a professional streamer. If that’s your gig go for it, but the rest of us just need the time-saving features online streaming gives us. It’s all good in the end. Right? And lastly, thank you Herding Cats for the idea. Cheers!