theraceforthecafe.com                             .

a journal - cycling, sociology, social media

Sunday, 11 April 2021

From sheets of MDF and rolls of wallpaper to a YouTube Channel in 3 months.

 


In January on a bit of a whim I decided that a good lockdown project would be to start a YouTube channel, theraceforthecafe cycling so I ordered five sheets of MDF a few rolls of wallpaper and I got to work. I have always enjoyed the luxury of having a double garage for my bikes and stuff but any decent YouTube channel has a studio so some changes had to be made. 
 I had convinced myself that sacrificing half of my bike storage space to build a YouTube studio was a good idea and that it would be worth it in the long run ... hopefully.
Video is definitely the future and although you could reasonably argue that there are already too many cycling YouTuber's around it's also true that YouTube viewing has grown hugely during the last year and that the viewing habits of millions if not billions of people around the world have probably changed for ever. So the audience is definitely there, the challenge of course is producing the content that they actually want to watch, while at the same time building an audience from scratch.
This has definitely been a project that has evolved significantly since I had the original idea which is another way of saying that I have been making it up as I've gone along. Sometimes it's best just to crack on and see what happens which is what I've done, but I did do quiet a bit of research before I started (watching YouTube videos) so I managed to convince myself that I had a handle on what would work and what I needed to do to create it.
I have never been a big YouTube viewer and I have deliberately not spent any time watching other  YouTube cycling channels because I wanted to try to do something original. The videos that I have watched during my 'research' have all been instructional videos on setting up a channel, and on video making and editing. If you think of YouTube as a huge search engine you really can find out how to do almost anything on there.
It has been a really steep learning curve and I have learned a ton of stuff but I will be the first to admit that there is still a huge amount that I am bluffing my way through. Although I have spent some money on building the studio I decided not to throw too much cash at the project by investing in a lot of new equipment. A good quality video camera is something that I will need in the future but to start with I decided to do everything with my phone. I use the Iphone 11 Pro Max so the camera quality is really good, add a tripod, an external microphone and ring light from Fovitec and a cheap soft box studio light and that's basically all the equipment I have. To edit the videos and add any text or music I have just used a free app on my phone called inshot which is excellent and can do everything that I need for the moment, although I have needed a bit of practice. 
The plan was to launch the theraceforthecafe YouTube channel with eight videos to give viewers a range of topics so that hopefully they would find something that interested them, I decided to start with videos that are all around the five minute mark in duration just as a way of encouraging people to watch them all the way through. 

I wanted the channel to look the part from the start so I got a channel banner and some graphics made on the website fiverr. I've never used Fiverr before but what an excellent site it is, just like Ebay but for creative projects, all turned around in just 24 hours - brilliant. 

What's the channel going to be about ?... cycling obviously, the content will be really varied so hopefully there will be something for everyone. Try to imagine the YouTube channel as a combination of this blog and my theraceforthecafe Instagram content, combined in video form and you are on the right track.

I soon realised that making eight videos (even five minute ones) in the time that I had available was going to be too much work so the plan evolved again. I reached out to some of my Instagram friends for help and sure enough they stepped up and the Cafe Collective was born.

The new launch plan became five videos from me and one each from my three Instagram friends. Who are Julian a photography expert and mental health advocate from over in Berlin on Instagram   pedallingthroughlife  Gus a charismatic 'California Boy' Instagram gusgoescycling who does his riding in London and Rahul from Newcastle Instagram projectsunrisecycling who is a super keen cyclist and bike builder, if you hit the links to their IG accounts you will see the sort of stuff that they do. All three guys came up with their own ideas and although they have a mix of relevant experience from their day jobs we were all learning together and each of them brought something different to the party. Also coming up on the channel are some mountain bike/off-road videos from someone else I know from Instagram calvin.berger from North Carolina who is only fourteen but a cycling star in the making ... I'm certain of it.

The priority at the start has been content over production quality and we have been learning by doing which was another reason to start with short videos, as our skills improve we plan to move on to longer more challenging projects and we have loads of ideas.  

Once I had the new logo and branding it made sense to organise some raceforthecafe merchandise, caps hoodies and tee shirts for when the channel really takes off, he said optimistically. I have a few of  of these items left so if you are interested just drop me an E mail or a direct message on Instagram. It's been a bit of a whirlwind few months but I have thoroughly enjoyed it so far. 

Thanks for reading and it would be great if you would check it out, it will get better ... I promise !

  theraceforthecafe cycling - YouTube Channel


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