Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Sep 06 2023

Dusting off the ol’ YouTube page

So I’ve been going through my YouTube channel and adding better thumbnail/title images to help with legibility. Before now I just let the app choose them, resulting in random images with no information, but I figured some housekeeping was in order, so I’ve been selecting appropriate photos I took during whatever trip it was, or barring that, appropriate stills from the actual footage of the videos, and adding big, bright text with the video title to them.

I started using YouTube in 2006, not long after it started up the year before. I’d only started my blog five years prior. Back then the resolution was awful, and videos were limited to just a few minutes until I managed to convince them to let me upload longer ones – everyone was amazed when I started uploading nearly hour-long videos, before just anyone could do it. The resolution was still crap though.

Back in those days I could slap whatever music I liked onto the videos; this was long before the idea of “copyright strikes” became a thing and we were all forced to start using “free” music, i.e. music someone worked hard on and got virtually nothing for (this does not necessarily strike me as much of an improvement). As a result, many of my earlier videos are now inaccessible, and others only partially accessible. Sometimes YouTube would straight out strip all the sound from my videos, because some CEO in a corner office somewhere was worried he might not be able to swing a third yacht or whatever when someone heard a snippet of a song on my video and didn’t pay to listen to it. Being a musician myself (though I don’t rely on it exclusively to subsist), I do know that most artists who sell through producers see very little of the actual money their work makes.

As the years passed I went through a series of pocketable cameras with ever-larger and more capable sensors, and the quality of my videos gradually improved. One-inch sensors with image stabilization seem to be the sweet spot these days for portability and image quality, and I need to have a device that is pocketable if I’m going to use it on trips abroad. I am much more hesitant to add music now, for obvious reasons, and as screens get larger I also need to work on keeping the camera steady so people don’t get seasick.

It’s been ages since I went anywhere, however, whereas in pre-Covidian times I would generally take a couple trips abroad each year, sometimes more (I think my record is four videos in 2018). Eventually I will travel again, I suppose, and start making more of these things. Post-covidian Poagao is likely a bit slower (and greyer) than antecovidian Poagao (then again you can expect roughly twice the cynicism). I don’t have any particular travel plans just yet; Chenbl has been extremely busy this year with work, but you never know what might pop up; just the other day I was taking advantage of trains between Keelung and Taoyuan being covered by the monthly T-pass, and I felt that old travel itch when I spotted the new Matsu ferry docked at Keelung port, right where Prince Roy and I embarked on the rickety old one back in 2008.

As to the future of YouTube, I can see some kind of AI-driven uprezzing/stabilization/content-fill bot feature for older videos being implemented at some point (for a fee, of course), and indeed most if not all new videos being created by AI in the future (including product placement, of course). Just input a few keywords and your likeness and BOOM: instant vacation video of you being all adventurous and world-travelling and stuff. Sure, at first it will look weird and cringe, but soon enough the algorithm will fine-tune itself so that nobody will be able to tear themselves away from watching themselves doing things they never imagined doing, or even did, all to a generic “free” soundtrack that we’ve heard a million times. It might even be better for the environment if nobody actually flies anywhere, but that might be over-extrapolating the situation.

Til then, anyway, I plan on continuing to record actual things that I actually do, and I hope y’all keep watching (but it’s ok if you don’t).

posted by Poagao at 12:07 pm