March 30, 2016 by
As the title says, education is the most important thing, and the subtitle on this post was almost ‘(and how I learned to stop worrying and love deletion).’ To understand why, let’s roll back to last week and the blog post I cancelled that otherwise would have been up on Thursday. It was a very simple blog post to provide a behind-the-scenes look at my operation and how I go about making a tutorial, from conception to publishing. It seemed a good time to do it because I was already taking some offline video of how I draw out level designs manually, and getting more pics and videos of my setup would just fit in with the workflow, but as I started taking pics, I also started getting very frustrated. My working space tends to be cluttered, pics alone didn’t help to explain my process, and I was having trouble putting it into words. In the end, because I didn’t feel I was explaining things well enough to make it educational, I trashed it and decided to do something else.
A parallel experience happened over the weekend. I had spent 17 hours recording a new series on network multiplayer with Steam in blueprints on Unreal Engine 4. After editing the first three sessions, I ran into something that I had to backtrack on in the current session. I wanted to go back and tie the change I was discussing back with where I originally set it up in the second session, and that’s when I realized: I had stopped explaining things in the second episode. Completely. I was commenting on things, but I wasn’t explaining anything. I might as well have been talking about the weather. There was no context as to why I was adding the nodes I was adding, or choosing one node over another. Without that, there was nothing for a viewer to latch onto to understand and learn from what I was doing. I had just gotten so caught up in doing it that I got lost in my own thoughts. It was not a positive education experience for the student.
So despite over 17 hours of invested time, I deleted the series, including the episodes I had already uploaded but not yet made public. It was a painful decision, but it had to be done. I started posting videos to teach, not simply to show that I can do something. I already have a plan to re-record the series, as I want to get it posted before mid-April, but there are changes I’m making to ensure I keep the education content as high-quality as I have always wanted it to be. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy it once I get it posted.
I just have one request – if you ever feel I’m lapsing into rote ‘just do this, then do that’ without explaining why, please call me on it. I want to ensure that what I deliver to you for tutorials are able to give you the education that you are looking for!
March 09, 2016 by
The first of the ‘Common Concepts’ tutorials was posted yesterday, and it has already received 175 views as I sit down to write this, the first in my promised shift to weekly blog posts rather than semi-annual! In the new tutorial, Basic A.I. in Unreal Engine 4.10 Using Blueprints, I decided to begin taking a new approach to recording and editing. In prior tutorials, I would sit down and start recording as I worked through the topic on the fly. Then, after finishing, I would go back and edit the tutorial down to a ‘more streamlined’ format to eliminate a lot of the pauses and missteps. Unfortunately, a byproduct of that approach is that occasionally, a little too much would get cut, and occasionally caused confusion for viewers. An example of this might be me exploring one way of doing things, then deciding to go a different way and cutting the first way out but forgetting that a variable I created in that first way gets used in the second way but now it has no explanation – it just appears. That’s definitely not viewer-friendly!
The new approach works differently. I make an outline of topics I plan to cover, then make the slides, and then film in short segments focused on each section of the outline. I back up the tutorial after I complete each section. If in filming a section, I decide I don’t like it, or I feel I’m being unclear, or I jumble words, then I revert back to the backup and start again. By doing so, I ensure that any re-records have to cover everything, and nothing gets cut that will leave the viewer confused. It also makes it a bit easier for me to record, because I don’t have to plan for a multi-hour recording and editing session. As I record and am happy with each section, I add it to the video editing project in Premiere Pro, and that way the video is built over time without needing a marathon recording or editing session, which means I’ll be able to record more frequently!
The final change for the video is that I decided not to do any microphone post-processing other than a very minor de-noise filter. While I actually prefer my voice with the vocal enhancer on, I think it was making my voice a little more muffled. I also did my playback with my PC set at 60% volume, so that I could determine the level for my voice. If I could hear it clearly at 60% volume, then hopefully that means everyone else watching at full volume won’t have issues hearing me! Still, I want to make a mic test video soon to post, and have viewers offer feedback on what mic and settings work best.
That’s it for this first weekly post. I have no idea what I’ll post about next week, but I’ll try to make it good! What would you like to see discussed?