Last year I decided to start a YouTube channel to share VMware-related tutorials and demos. I have to admit I felt the same hesitance as when I started my blog several years ago. There is so much rich content on VMware technology already available on YouTube. What value am I going to add? These were the exact same thoughts I had in 2016 when I started my blog and that turned out pretty well, I think. So, I decided to throw all my objections overboard and simply record and post my first video and get rolling. With each new video, I’m trying to improve on at least one thing/area, small or big.
“Losing my street cred”
My primary objective is to learn about the awesome technology VMware is putting out there myself. After transitioning more and more in a leadership role over the past years, I want to stay as “hands-on” as possible. I’m definitely experiencing the fear of “losing my street cred” – as VMware CTO Chris Wolf adequately put it during the VCDX CTO panel I was privileged to attend. I’m not ready to disconnect myself from the technology and even more so, I firmly believe staying in touch hands-on with the technology makes me a better Field CTO at the end of the day. Teaching is the best way to learn, so delivering these videos has helped me a great deal in understanding these products better. If I help someone else with my YouTube channel on their journey as well, that’s an awesome side benefit!
NSX-T content focus
I believe it’s important early on when creating a new YouTube channel is to focus on certain content. This way, people know what type of content they can expect on my channel. So instead of creating videos on a range of topics, I decided to focus on NSX-T related content for now. Hopefully, I can slowly grow my audience and expand but to be honest, I don’t really care if I have 150 or 1.000 subscribers because I like doing it. I’m having a great time recording these videos, tinkering around in my homelab with VMware technology. I also like fiddling around with the videos themselves in terms of basic video editing and color grading. I see it as a nice lockdown hobby I picked up.
The improvement “pitfall”
Of course, I’m doing a bit of research to find out how I can improve the quality of my videos and my reach. I think it’s always good to find areas of improvement but there definitely is a ‘down the rabbit hole’ pitfall here. There are some really great content creators and streamers on YouTube and their videos often appear on the top of my searches. They set a really high bar in terms of their camera setup, studio equipment, lighting, editing, and so on. Things can get out of hand and become very expensive fast. It’s also fun to play around in DaVinci Resolve but next thing you know, you’re knee-deep in color grading, fusion, masking, FX, etc. etc. This is fun but time-consuming stuff. It’s great to learn a bit of video editing along the way but that was not why I started my channel.
Gear I use for my YouTube channel
Without overdoing it, I did want to ‘up my game’ a bit and improve my overall audio and video quality. Instead of forking out hundreds or even thousands of Euros on a DSLR or other fancy camera setup, I decided to try my 10+ year old Canon Legria HF200 camcorder. It’s a 1080p camcorder with a clean HDMI output. The quality improvement is mind-blowing! You can pick up a used camera like this for under € 100. The image quality is soooo much better compared to the Logitech C920 webcam I used before. I also got a Rode NT USB Mini microphone. I know all the cool kids are getting a Blue Yeti X mic, but this Rode NT USB Mini is small, relatively cheap and has a pop filter already built in. The audio improvement is insane compared to using my Apple AirPods!
The final bit of gear I added to my setup is an Elgato Ring Light. Lesson #1 in improving video quality is lighting. You can buy the fanciest, expensive camera but if your lighting sucks, your video quality will suck. The Elgato RingLight is a great piece of kit and this single ring light delivers all the lighting I need both during daytime and evenings. It’s Wi-Fi connected, supports 2500K to 7000K and delivers a whopping 2500 lumens. It’s a bit more expensive compared to some of the cheaper lights available on Amazon, but for me it’s definitely worth it.
My setup is also great for dealing with my daily video calls. It’s so comfortable I don’t have to wear headphones for hours on end on some days. My employer ITQ is awesome because they provided everyone at ITQ with a very generous WFH budget to spend on improving their home office setup. I gratefully used this budget primarily on my audio, video and lighting setup (+ an awesome ultra-wide curved display). Thanks ITQ!
Future upgrades & improvements
My colleague Johan was kind enough to lend me his Elgato Camlink so I can hook up the camcorder to my MacBook. Thanks! I have to admit, every time he seamlessly switches inputs on his Atem Mini Pro and starts whiteboarding on his iPad I get a bit jealous. The Atem Mini Pro is definitely high on my wish list. I also want to add a bit of color to my video lighting. I’m not going for a screaming Twitch gamer setup but adding a bit of subtle color to my lighting will make my video a bit more dynamic, I think.
On a personal note, I really need to work on my “uhms”. I’m kind of beyond that point of feeling physical pain every time I see myself on video but “uhm-ing” every 10 seconds is really bothering me. That’s an area I want to improve in for sure.
If you have some honest and constructive feedback for me, please don’t hesitate to reach out and let me know! I’m Dutch, so I can handle direct feedback ;-). I sometimes feel like I’m still a complete noob in this area so any advice is more than welcome.
If you haven’t checked out my YouTube channel, please hop over to YouTube and take a look. Thanks!