YouTubers are putting less effort into their videos and reducing the amount of equipment and production that surround them. That’s right, friends, the lo-fi revolution is here – and you know what? It is beautiful. A little while back I wrote that if YouTube doesn’t change soon, it will die. Among the variety of problems I identified for YouTubers at the moment is the increasing costs and difficulties that are associated with being a top YouTuber. However it now seems that a solution to that problem has appeared. I’ll tell you all about it right after this unrelated Joe Sugg GIF:
The Place We Had Reached
We have reached an interesting place in YouTube creation. YouTubers are entertainers and entertainers, by definition, are competitors – whether they intend to be or not. They are competitors because they are always competing for a finite resource – viewers’ time. The natural evolution of any competition dictates that in order to become more successful, you must make bigger and better videos. This is good at first, because it encourages innovation among creators which results in cooler and more creative videos, which is great for everyone, viewer and creator alike. Nice.
However, there comes a breaking point where videos become so big and so produced that it becomes almost impossible for newcomers to join the industry. This is the situation we are somewhat stuck in now. To be a successful vlogger requires so much equipment and software and time that YouTube now appears to have gained all the barriers to entry that originally set it apart from TV. In the old days it was ridiculously hard to make a TV Show but anyone could be successful on YouTube – now, now it takes real time and money to get big on YouTube – but these days may be overs.
Lo-Fi Is The New Way To Go
For example, when Beyonce dropped ‘Lemonade’ there was clearly tons of potential for fun video parodies. Typically these tend to be massive, green-screened productions with tons of music and extras, but for MeechOnMars it was just a quick and simple sketch – and he didn’t even post it on YouTube (at first anyway). Whereas a few years ago the race would have been to see who could get their parody video up on YouTube fastest, creators these days just make casual, fun videos and put them where they want.
This trend is hitting YouTube too. While creators like the ever-brilliant Nathan Zed still put a lot of work into the writing and editing of their videos, the concepts and settings have become very simple. This allows them greater creative flexibility and ultimately allows them to have more fun – which means the videos are in turn more fun for the audience.
At the other end of the spectrum are creators like Evan Breen who prioritise good writing and fun over everything. This sketch doesn’t have a good camera, camera man, more than one person playing the characters or even any attempt to make the characters look different – but it totally works! Because it’s just fun – and that’s what YouTube is aaaaall about my friend.
And of course, when it comes to Lo-Fi videos, how can we forget the most delightfully non-slick video series on YouTube: Dan And Phil Crafts. What a delightful mess:
We Can Also Thank Technology
It can’t be ignored that part of this simplicity revolution is also thanks to the leaps and bounds technology has taken in recent years. In 2005 video on the internet was considered cutting edge, in 2008 added the ability to upload HD videos – a feature most people couldn’t even take advantage of yet and now, in 2016, we can broadcast crystal clear video live using our damn phones at the drop of an official Ricky Dillon-branded snapback. Snapchat and similar apps now mean that we’re closer to our favourite creators than ever before – and it’s awesome. In fact, for a full list of YouTubers on snapchat, why not check out our list right here.
It’s A Golden Time!
It’s a great time to be a new creator, the barriers to entry that have been slowly built up through competition have now begun to tumble down as creators put fun and creativity above scale. Get out there and make something awesome!