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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Dear YouTube DIY Instructors

Dear YouTube DIY Instructors,
Many of you do absolutely fine work which has helped me diagnose and repair several vehicles (looking at you Scotty Kilmer) and have taught me several new skills (much love to Walter Sorrells). However, I have found that many of you all fall disappointingly short in a few areas. Here are a few things which will make me choose to subscribe to your channel over one of your friendly rivals.
Sound. A whole lot of these videos have a lot of loud background noises which are totally understandable and acceptable, things like engines revving, air tools whirring, and hammers banging on workbenches are completely expected. They do not, though, need to be so loud that they drown out the information being presented. Videos shot outside are particularly bad because of the wind. Unfortunately, the only really good way to deal with this is a separate mic with a wind screen which can be pricey and difficult to handle so your best bet is shooting your video indoors if at all possible. As for reducing background noises after the fact, this is surprisingly easy to do. Both Windows Live Movie Maker and iMovie come free of charge along with the respective computers they work with (Windows and Mac respectively) and can quickly and easily extract the audio then it’s off to Audacity (free again) to reduce the background noise to a dull roar, back to your video editor to reattach the edited audio, and Bob’s your Uncle.
Shots of the piece being worked on. The best and easiest way to do this is to take stills of the piece during various stages of removal repair and replacement. Show us the piece and the damage alongside the clean replacement. These stills can be spliced into the video with the above-mentioned video editors.
Show us the whole damn thing step by step already! I know you’re busy, I know that getting the right shot is difficult but I’m sick and god-damned tired of seeing a guy point to a part on my engine, saying “go ahead and take X out” and then cutting to a shot of the part laying on a bench saying “well that was pretty tough but we got it out and there it is.”
This next one is tough and most of you do it very well so this is for the lower level guys. Try your best to present yourself with an air of confidence. The phrase “I don’t know if this will work on your car but it seems to do the trick on mine” is the fastest way to get me to switch to another video. I understand that my car may not be the same as yours but when you sound like you’re throwing out the same tips & tricks as my co-workers, it makes me reach for my wallet and drive to a professional shop.
Ok folks, here it is and please pardon my language. Buy a fucking tripod! They are not expensive at all. I’ve shied away from telling you to buy software and equipment so go to best buy already and plunk down $20-30 on a cheap one and get filming. You’re a busy mechanic with only two hands and you need them both to do all of the things I stated before. So, open up the wallet already and show me some steady camera work.
So, there you have it. My rules for YouTube repair videos. If you liked it let me know in the comments, if not please be civil. Or not, fuck it. Do whatever the hell you want.

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