Getting to Grips with YouTube | Home Practice

Anna has been one of the masterminds behind getting Home Practice online and out to the world. In this blog she talks all things YouTube, offering us an insight into the highs and lows of getting Home Practice out to you all!  

YouTube is not a new phenomenon, but a global pandemic has made it feel like the hottest new media! Suddenly everyone is trying to get their business online, and YouTube is a free platform whose value is up in the billions. Countless numbers of users and content creators were already proving that YouTube is a successful way to reach around the world.

So of course, Stopgap were chomping at the bit. Though our content started on Facebook Live, we soon realised that people were being left behind.

The constant dismissal of the disabled community during the pandemic made it even more important we tried to make any content as accessible as possible. And that is where YouTube came in.

I was bamboozled.

Now I watch a lot of YouTube videos, often with subtitles, about various topics (mainly knitting patterns, book reviews and cats). It is a platform where you can absorb a huge amount of information in short bursts, you can learn anything in 10 minutes to an hour. You can watch entire performances without leaving your sofa or paying a penny. YouTube is the present and future of the internet and content consumption.

But to be on the other side of it was overwhelming. I have never used the word ‘algorithms’ so much. But now we are in full swing, with professionally filmed videos, all excellently edited, and the content meticulously planned. And all these factors make YouTube so much easier.

However, there was still so much else! Even starting with the uploading times, then processing times. Writing a title and description that appeased the algorithm gods (luckily, we have Sho to thank for that!), an eye catching thumbnail (and that is thanks to Lily!) and the many levels of tick boxes and categories.

And then there is the other beast to tame… subtitling

When we were uploading the Facebook Live recordings to YouTube, the subtitles were a messy blur of mistakes. While the auto captioning was helpful, it was unreliable especially because Stopgap artists led from their gardens, living rooms, bedrooms and I think we had a kitchen or two? And not forgetting Tomas Young’s sessions from the Norwegian landscape. The overall quality of the videos were so low, we simply couldn’t make the sessions accessible to everyone.

So when lockdown eased for England, Stopgap could start filming in a studio. Which upped the quality of video due to using a microphone. Subtitles got a whole lot easier!

But then came the problem, sometimes the auto-caption just doesn’t appear… for no reason we can ever find! So from just reading through and correcting the auto generated subtitles - which takes maybe an hour to an hour and a half depending on the length of the video, it becomes a full write out taking around five hours….

By chance, I happened across a trick – I used a separate programme to auto generate the subtitles which meant I had to have the video running. Once the video finished, the YouTube subtitles had materialised!

YouTube isn’t perfect, it has issues and those can be putting the community captions behind a paywall, trolls, heavy restrictions on music and the lack of editing after posting your video. The biggest flaw in YouTube is that it grew too quickly for its own good and it has a lot to catch up on. And the cracks are beginning to show. But for now, it works for us and it works for many others. It will be exciting to see how YouTube grows, how our audience grows, and what is coming up next.

My only issue now is getting the cat to stop running across the keyboardasdfghjkl;]]]]

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