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How to add music to an Instagram post

How to add music to an Instagram post feature photo

While Instagram was originally created as a platform for sharing photos, it’s no longer a photo-centric platform. Instagram is charging headfirst into the video industry, opening new opportunities for video creators. As Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri has elaborated in the past, Instagram is no longer just a platform for photos. Its future is in video sharing, whether in the form of stories, posts or reels. There are lots of ways to optimize your videos on Instagram. One of those ways is to add music. Each Instagram post type has its own set of steps you have to follow to add music. Here’s what you need to know.

Adding music into Instagram stories

  1. In the Instagram app, tap the “Your Story” icon. This is located in the top left corner of the app.
  2. You’ll then be met with the option to either select a video clip from your camera roll or record a new video. You can select a video from your camera roll by hitting the “browse” icon. The icon is at the bottom of the screen to the left.
  3. Once you have either selected or recorded the clip ou want to use, Instagram will give you a few audio options. This is where you can add in music. To add music, tap the “media” icon. You’ll see a ‘Music’ icon. Select it.
  4. Instagram will recommend a few music tracks for you to add to your post. You can also search for tracks based on their name, genre or feeling. Once you found a track you would like to try out, click the play button to the right of the track’s title to preview the song.
  5. After selecting the track, Instagram will automatically adjust the track to fit the Story. You also have the ability to adjust the position of the track. You can tap a part of the track and shift the timeline bar to the part you want to include in the Story.
  6. When you’re happy, hit “done” and Instagram will upload the Story.

Adding music to Instagram reels

  1. When you’re ready to make an Instagram Reel, tap the “Your Story” icon.
  2. You can browse for a clip to upload and do a deeper search by tapping the “browse icon” or swiping up.
  3. You now will see the ‘music’ icon within the menu located at the top of your screen.
  4. After tapping the ‘music’ icon, you will see two audio sources. The first source is your video’s audio. The second source is where you will add the track. Tap the “Add music” icon on the second source.
  5. Instagram will pull up its library of music tracks you can add to your post. Look through the library and select the song you want to add to your Reel. You can preview the songs by pressing the play button next to the song.
  6. Now you can scroll through the song’s lyrics and edit the song to work with your reel.
  7. If the song isn’t working for you, you can hit the ‘delete’ button and look for a new song. After you’re happy with your song choice, hit ‘Done.”
  8. You can also adjust the levels your video’s original audio and the song you’ve added. Once you finish adjusting the levels, tap ‘Next.’
  9. Now you’re ready to share your reel.

Can you add your own music to Instagram stories and reels?

You may be wondering whether or not you can add your own music to your videos. Unfortunately, you can’t add music that isn’t already in the Instagram music library. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t include your own music in your posts. You can add your audio files using other audio software or apps. You just can’t add your own tracks using the Instagram app directly.

Be sure that you own the rights to the music you add to your videos if you’re going to go this route. Users have the right to use all the music featured in Instagram’s music library. However, if you use a song that isn’t part of Instagram’s music licensing library, you can run into some trouble.

Let your creativity flourish

Adding music to your posts can boost their overall quality. Some creators have even made a career for themselves based simply on their music choice for their posts. After all, a catchy song can help get people engaged with your content and help it spread to new eyes. So, if you want to add music to your Instagram post — whether that’s a story or reel — be sure to include music if it fits. With the right song choice, you’ll find your posts will get your followers engaged and give them a leg up in the algorithm’s recommendations.

Turn it up to Eleven: An interview with First To Eleven

First to Eleven feature image

We had the chance to talk with First to Eleven about how they approach making music, music videos and their creative process.

First to Eleven icon

First to Eleven
Subscribers: 1.26M
Uploads: 260
Video Views: 324,983,085
Channel Type: Music
USER CREATED: Dec 8th, 2015

Making the band

First to Eleven is a rock band based out of Erie, PA. The band consists of singer Audra Miller, guitarist Matt Yost, Ryan Krysiak on bass, and Sam Gilman playing drums. Formed in 2009, First to Eleven was founded by Ryan Krysiak, who at the time was teaching guitar lessons. Ryan recalls, “Matt was one of my first students. He had some friends that went to the same school and I was like, ‘Stop playing in your bedroom. Let’s put a band together.’ And so we started doing practices in my mom’s basement and then they played a show and the band kind of started from that point on.”

Even though you’re doing covers, you still get to do your own thing. And we do so many songs. You get to try new stuff all the time. And I think that’s probably the most fun. – Audra Miller

The band’s style was initially inspired by the indie music scene. Favorites included Juliana Theory, Say Anything, Saves the Day, New Found Glory, and even some mainstream influences like the Foo Fighters.

“We wanted to always be a rock band,” Ryan shares, “…[at the time] the kids were very young and not really into anything in particular. So I just started showing them some of my favorite bands at the time”.

Amplified audience

“Our first cover was Heathens, and it just blew up pretty immediately,” Matt recalls. “We were at like 10,000 subscribers by the first two covers that we’d done. And we were like, “Okay. You can actually grow an audience online.”

One of the biggest challenges artists face is finding an audience for their art. For musicians, it’s typically finding a venue to play in. “there’s definitely just (one) bar for playing local shows. You know what I mean? Cover band or original band.” Matt explains. 

Being from a relatively small town without a big music scene, First to Eleven sought to get their music out there in a way that wasn’t possible locally. They turned their sights to YouTube.

In the beginning, performing covers of popular songs was their way to promote their original songs. Matt details,  “[we thought].. ‘Let’s try this YouTube cover thing. Let’s see if we can reach anybody outside the town and see what we can do.’ They quickly realized that performing covers was a whole business within itself.

Since then the band’s focus has shifted from seeking opportunities to perform for an in-person audience to performing for their online audience. The band has grown its audience to over 1.5 million subscribers on YouTube with over 300 million views. They have also released 10 cover albums over their 5 years on YouTube.

Behind the music 

We take songs from a lot of genres, but then we make them all sound like us. – Ryan Krysiak

Creating consistent online content can be challenging for any creator. For musicians, it can be twice as difficult. However, First to Eleven has prided themselves on not missing a single release since they committed to releasing consistent covers. The band’s true secret ingredient has been the members’ diversity of skill sets. Sam shares, “We’re kind of open about it now that me, Matt, and Ryan will each take on (arranging) a song by ourselves. (Everyone) probably thinks that we sit around in a room and we all brainstorm together, but it’s actually a somewhat compartmentalized thing.” 

Because of their versatility, Matt, Ryan and Sam are able to record all the guitar, bass, drums and whatever else the cover calls for individually. “When we’re done with it, we just put it into Dropbox and we send it to Audra. And she will record it at home, put it back in Dropbox and we send it off to be mixed and mastered.” The music is mixed by their long-time collaborator Nick Scott. Matt adds, “Audra is just amazing at singing. We can all kind of act as each other’s (part) in the covers. She’s got to sing it, though, at the end of the day. I can’t be like, ‘Yeah, I’m just going to sound like Audra today.’ Yeah, no, I can’t do that.”

Matt admits this process is the key to posting so much. “People just see a band and they’re like, ‘How can they do four covers a month?’ It’s because we are doing them all simultaneously. So instead of a cover a week, we can do three a week and get super far ahead because we all work on it separately.”

I like how independent each of the covers are. We all have our responsibilities. And when I get a song, I can arrange it how I would want to. I like being able to change everything about it so there’s just little remnants of what it once was.” – Sam Gilman

Their unique approach not only allows them to produce more content, but it allows them to collaborate more efficiently. “It really cuts down on the miscommunication too,” Ryan shares. “ … if you have a vision for a song and you can’t communicate that vision to the drummer … it just makes it a lot better to be like, ‘This is how I want it to sound. This is entirely my vision for it.’ And it comes out the way that I want it to.”

Video process

Once their music is mixed, the band begins working on their music video. When first starting out, the band’s goal was to post one cover a month. Today they release two covers a week. 

In order to keep up with this schedule, First to Eleven has streamlined its recording process from years of experimentation. When they were first starting out, the band admits they didn’t know what they were doing. Matt recalls how “…Ryan just grabbed a camera from his wife and didn’t even know how to hold it properly. Once we realized we wanted to do it, okay, how are we going to get the basses all covered?” 

Over the years, Ryan doubled as a musician and camera operator. He studied what camera angles other people use and developed a process to get the most out of their music video shoots. “To streamline the process, (Ryan) was like, ‘What are the seven most important angles in any music video?’ And that’s just what we’ve lived by for the past five years,” Matt explains. This process has allowed the band to output a great volume of content over the years. In addition to improving lighting, and even working with a dedicated camera operator and editor.

On a typical video recording day, Audra shares that the band will, “…record two videos a day in the studio. And if we’re planning some big out-of-the-studio video, we’ll get that plan shot ahead of time and get it done and ready to go so that we have everything ready so far ahead that we can’t possibly mess something up.”

“We started with just a room in our old drummer and guitar player’s house. And then we got a studio and we started putting lights in the studio. We started putting more lights so that we can basically customize each video, but they’re all shot in the same place.” – Matt Yost

Growing the band

The newest addition to the band is Zach, the band’s cameraman. Elaborating on Zach,’s role, Matt shares that, “…he’s kind of helped elevate the technology side and getting me better at editing. Now that [Zach] shoots all the videos, Ryan can actually be in them (laughs). And he’s definitely better at the shooting than any of us because he understands it.”

Much like the band members, Zach also takes on multiple roles on the video side of the process. Ryan praises Zach, “He’s like a utility knife. He does the graphics, the motion graphics, he’s a cameraman, he edits. He also does some audio stuff for us. He’s very good at a lot of different things. So, we really lucked out not hiring 10 people because we found one: Zach.”

The editing process is now also streamlined because of the process they set up during shooting. Continuing, Matt shares, “We always have the same seven shots that we can rely on that we know are solid. We can just build off of it. So if it’s me or him editing the video, you can’t even really tell.”

Advice to creators

First to Eleven’s growth is no accident. Each band member speaks to what they believe contributed to their ongoing success.

Consistency

For Audra, consistency is a major key to the band’s success. She encourages creators saying, “ … you don’t have to be the best at anything, but you have to just keep going. And you can’t just be like, ‘Oh, I’m not going to do this because it’s hard.’ But if you just keep going and you keep trying to put out videos and record songs, whatever you’re doing, you just keep going and you’re consistently recording content, making videos, putting stuff out, you’re going to get better. I think that’s probably the most important thing we’ve learned for sure.” 

Objectivity

Additionally, Matt believes it’s important to have objectivity in your own work. He shares, “…it helps so much that we have each other to kind of fall back on because there are times where I kind of have a lame guitar part in a song, and Ryan’s like, ‘No, man, you can’t put that in. That’s not good enough.’ And it pushes me and I write a better one. On a major scale, making sure like, okay, is this good, or is this not good? Let me not try to just feel good about myself and say everything I’m making is great.” 

Take risks

Sam admits that early in arranging covers, he was worried about how they would be received. Recalling, Sam says, “I feel like that’s the scary part with putting out original music because it’s like, well, it’s a tough crowd, but if somebody already really likes the song that you’re covering, then you can just have fun with it.” This has given the band freedom to not only make the songs their own but to give them challenges that make the process interesting and fun for them. Sam elaborates, “[now] I’m at the point where my favorite part of my job is getting a song and feeling very limitless in what it can be, just completely changing it. Change key, change tempo, change everything about it pretty much so there is just a little bit of remnants of what it once was.”

Promotion

Many believe that putting your content online is the only step to get your work out there. Ryan speaks to the importance of strategically sharing your content. He tells us, “I think one thing that set us apart, too, is when we did that first cover, we didn’t necessarily just put it out there and hope people liked it. I originally did it because I wanted [the band] to get a bigger crowd at their Warped Tour performance.”

“You can’t just expect everyone to see your thing and love it and share it and stuff like that. You have to push it out into the world sometimes.” – Ryan Krysiak

Ryan took the time to research communities that would likely enjoy the band’s content the most. He shares how he posted the cover, “…on a bunch of Warped Tour fan pages and stuff on Facebook, and the Twenty One Pilots fan pages, the Suicide Squad fan pages. And I shared it on Cover Nation, which was … I don’t know how many they had. Probably a half a million subscriber channel. And it was like, I don’t know, 40 bucks or something like that to promote it on that channel. And I was like, you have to invest in yourself.”

Coming together

Being in a band, much like creating online videos, is all about collaboration, consistency and creativity. First To Eleven’s success comes from more than just playing music that people like. As a band they collaborate and utilize each other’s strengths to make the band stronger, which in turn makes their music and videos so appealing. Through years of consistency and experimentation, they have developed an audience that follows them for their spin on all genres of music. More importantly, they’ve developed several processes that allow each member to contribute something unique that make them better as a whole than they would be on their own.

The necessity of self-promotion online

In the 1989 classic film “Field of Dreams,” Kevin Costner’s character, Ray Kinsella, hears a disembodied voice whispering, “If you build it, he will come.” From this, Kinsella resolves to build a baseball diamond. The quote is occasionally co-opted in the business world: “If you build it, they will come.” The idea is that the mere existence of a thing is enough to attract a market for that thing. That idea is pure fantasy.

Overnight sensations and effortless successes do occasionally happen, just as flipping a coin occasionally results in the coin landing on its edge. Most successful creators, however, achieve their success as a result of hustling — not only hustling to make great content but to promote it and the creator’s brand as well.

If you consider the most well-known pillars of pop culture, it’s tempting to credit their success purely to creative genius. After all, Drake just has to click upload on a handful of streaming platforms to top the charts, right? Maybe JK Rowling just needs to send books to bookstores and they’ll start selling. Look closer and you’ll find media machines hustling to build awareness.

If those at the top of our cultural zeitgeist have to hustle for attention, it’s clear what that means for everyday creators. Success requires work outside of content creation. It requires social media campaigns and engaging the media. It requires collaborating with other creators and asking those with bigger audiences for help. Sometimes, it requires paid media campaigns.

I have been an outspoken advocate for defining success by means other than subscriber counts and ad dollars. For those who do, success may come easier. However, for anyone who uses view count to measure their channel’s success, creating content is likely only half the picture.

It’s true that for every person who sees a piece of content, there’s a small chance they’ll share it. But consider that only 1-2 percent of viewers will do that if asked to. That’s 2 out of every 100 viewers. How many new viewers will a video gain from two people sharing it once each? Now consider how many of the original 100 people will return for the next video. It’s possible that new viewers may not make up for the original viewers that fall off. Organic growth is slow and most creators need to supplement it some other way.

Search viewership and views from the recommendation engine help a lot. However, they need a group of initial viewers to seed data to the algorithms. This helps the algorithms know how to recommend the video. The number of seed viewers varies by video topic, but in most cases, it’s in the hundreds, if not thousands, of views. Creators starting with nothing need to get creative about how to get those views.

Growing an audience in the crowded space of online video rarely happens as a purely organic process. It requires the hard work of continual marketing, self-promotion and professional networking.

Creator Handbook’s 2021 holiday gift guide

With the wintery holiday season upon us, it’s time for Creator Handbook’s annual gift guide. We know that not everyone is an avid video creator, so buying gifts for those who are can be daunting. The video gear market is teeming with competitive brands. However, paying more doesn’t always equate to better quality products. If you’re not a video geek yourself, understanding what the video creators in your life will appreciate can be complicated, but we’re here to help.

What does your video creator do?

To give a great gift, you first have to know the recipient and what kind of gear they need. It’s not enough to know that they love making videos and sharing them online. Knowing a bit about the difference between vloggers, TikTokers, podcasters, gamers and channel creators is a great place to start. Some are content creators for platforms like YouTube, TikTok and Facebook. Their videos are often tutorials, life-hacks, listicles or lifestyle blogging videos.

Musicians, podcasters and gamers create videos online, too. Online gamers have dedicated video streaming platforms to monetize and fanbases to entertain. On the other hand, podcasts are essentially the modern equivalent of old-timey radio shows. Typically, podcasters discuss current events, history, biographies, fiction, politics, lifestyle or educational content. While most podcasters uploaded their episodes to audio-only music platforms, many record video podcasts as well.

Similarly, musicians can expand their audience quickly by recording videos with their music. A well-produced video of the artist recording their music definitely helps them connect with their fans. Also, the format makes their content sharable on social media.

At every stage, from beginner to professional, all creators need gear to keep their passion growing. We’ve got you covered with affordable gift ideas for video creators on your list this year. Simply click through to find the items listed. From there, you can find similar options or add suggested items to compliment your selections. The prices listed here are, of course, subject to change at the discretion of the seller. Be sure to read through the user reviews and get a gift receipt whenever possible.

Shooting

Canon EOS C70 Cinema Camera

If you’re looking to gift exceptional image quality and professional video features, look no further than the Canon EOS C70 Cinema Camera. Perfect for professional documentarians, newsgatherers and those shooting corporate videos, the Canon EOS C70 can shoot up to 4K 120p video with Dual Pixel Autofocus and 16 stops of dynamic range. That’s all thanks to its Super 35mm Dual Gain Output (DGO) sensor.

Plus, the Canon EOS C70 supports both Canon Log 2 and Canon Log 3 Gamma, gifting a lot of flexibility in post-production. Additionally, the camera works with RF lenses and is compatible with the Mount Adapter EF-EOS R 0.71x. If top-of-the-line quality’s what you’re searching for, the Canon EOS C70 Cinema Camera is your camera.

Learn more.


Get a microphone in their hand

Rode VideoMicro Ultracompact Camera-Mount Shotgun Microphone – Rode has long been a staple brand in the audio and video industry. They make a wide range of mics and related gear to help creators capture great sound. The Rode VideoMicro Ultracompact Camera-Mount Shotgun Microphone can easily attach to the top of most camcorders or cameras. If the creator in your life is a vlogger, content creator or broadcaster, they likely use shotgun mics often. $59

Polsen Omnidirectional Lavalier Mic for DSLR Cameras and Smartphones – Lavalier microphones are tiny clip-on mics that you can attach directly to a speaker’s shirt or tie. These are perfect gifts for creators who will have co-hosts or guests they interview on camera. They van run on battery power (included) or plug directly into a phone. $34


AKG Ara

The AKG Ara is a pro-grade dual-mode USB microphone made for podcasters, bloggers, gamers and musicians looking to capture high-quality, high-resolution audio from their desks. This professional mic captures up to 24-bit, 96kHz resolution, delivering clear, concise audio. Since the AKG Ara uses dual pickup patterns, you can choose to record either one person’s voice or an entire group of voices. Plus, the AKG Ara works in a variety of setups. With its integrated base stand, the AKG Ara sits great on desks. At the same time, you can use it on a desktop boom arm as well. Additionally, the mic’s USB connectivity supports on the go, plug-and-play use.

Learn more.


Illumination

Rode PodMic Dynamic Podcasting Microphone – Another great gift idea from Rode, Rode explicitly designed the Rode PodMic Dynamic Podcasting Microphone for podcasters. It offers broadcast-quality audio capture and has built-in filters to help eliminate background sounds. Its sleek, classy look will elevate your favorite podcaster’s video. They will look and feel like a pro. $99


Turn it up a notch

Audio-Technica Cardioid Condenser USB Microphone Recording Setup Kit – Audio-Technica has put together a lot of great all-included kits at various price points. We recommend this one — particularly for anyone on your list who records music or voice-overs. It comes with a great mic, headphones, mic stands and filters. Plus, it’s compatible with multiple computer operating systems. $229


TASCAM Portacapture X8

TASCAM’s Portacapture X8 rings in a new generation of high-res, multi-track handheld recorders. Not only is it super user-friendly — thanks to its app-like operation — but it also uses cutting-edge functionality for creating quality content. With the new Launcher system and its 3.5-inch color touch panel, you can enjoy smooth navigation when adjusting the audio settings. You can also save time with the system’s preset settings.

The TASCAM Portacapture X8 features two 14.6mm condenser microphones. These microphones support 32-bit float point recording. You can detach the microphones and either set them up in an A/B or X/Y orientation. Additionally, you can record up to eight tracks at the same time. There’s even a headphone jack, in and line-out connections and a built-in USB-C port. Capturing high-quality audio has never been this easy.

Learn more.


PreSonus AudioBox 96 USB 2.0 Recording System w/ Accessory Bundle – The PreSonus AudioBox 96 USB 2.0 Recording System w/ Accessory Bundle recording bundle from PreSonus compliments musicians. Whether recording in a studio or on the go, it’s ready. The bundle can withstand heavy use and travel without compromising quality results. Whether they create music videos or host a podcast on-location, this will help them mix great sounds. In addition to the mixer, they’ll get a great mic, shock mount, table stand, headphones and all the necessary components. Plus, it comes with a license for the Studio One Artist software to help transform music into magic. $149 


Sennheiser HD 25 Headphones

Sennheiser’s HD 25 are the perfect headphones for professional mobile monitoring. Thanks to their low weight and optional one-ear listening, they’re comfortable to wear however you like. They also feature a closed-back design, delivering high attenuation of background noise. The Sennheiser HD 25 can handle very high sound pressure levels and can perform well in loud environments.

The Sennheiser HD 25 is perfect for camera operators and DJs needing monitoring headphones. Professionals worldwide use the Sennheiser HD 25 because they perform exceptionally well in loud environments. So, if you need affordable, professional-level headphones, the Sennheiser HD 25 is a solid choice.

Learn more.


Sennheiser XSW-D Portable Lav Mobile Kit

Sennheiser’s XSW-D Portable Lav Mobile Kit has what vloggers and content creators need to make a quality video away from home. This kit includes Sennheiser’s XSW-D Portable Lavalier Set, Smartphone Clamp and a Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod. The XSW-D Portable Lavalier Set is a complete 2.4 GHz wireless lavalier system that utilizes a digital transmission to link audio sources. With this system, you can capture audio reliably. Additionally, the Sennheiser Smartphone Clamp features a 180-degree locking dial and grips nearly all smartphones. If you need a great mobile kit for shooting video, the XSW-D Portable Lav Mobile Kit is a great option.

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Sennheiser MKE 400 Mobile Kit

Vloggers and content creators who are constantly on the move need video gear that can keep up with their workflows. The MKE 400 Mobile Kit includes Sennheiser’s compact MKE 400 compact shotgun microphone, Smartphone Clamp and the Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod. The MKE 400 comes with a built-in windscreen and shock mount — reducing the handling noise. Additionally, the kit’s Smartphone Clamp allows you to shoot with portrait and landscape orientations. The Manfrotto PIXI’s locking ball head also allows you to adjust it with just a push of a button. This kit has everything needed to keep up with even the most fast-paced workflows.

Learn more.


VST AU Plugin Playbeat – The Creative Groove Randomizer – A copyright infringement claim can be a major problem for creators, regardless the platform they post to. Help them avoid the pitfalls by gifting them VST AU Plugin Playbeat – The Creative Groove Randomizer. With it, they can create their own beats and tunes for their intros, outros and segues. $49


Saramonic Vmic5 Pro

Saramonic’s Vmic5 Pro is an advanced supercardioid on-camera condenser shotgun microphone for broadcast-level sound quality. From content creators to vloggers to journalists, the Saramonic Vmic5 Pro aids every type of video creator. It features a 3-stage gain control with a +20dB boost option for clean gain on cameras with noisy preamps. Additionally, the mic offers 0dB and -10dB level settings and a +5db high-frequency boost options for quality audio capture.

The Saramonic Vmic5 Pro comes with a foam windscreen, a furry windshield, an automatic power on/off function, a side-mounted 3.5mm microphone output and a 3.5mm headphone output. Its integrated shock mount isolates the mic from vibration noise when in motion as well. Also, the microphone’s internal 2000mAh lithium-ion battery keeps it running for up to 120 hours. So no matter where you are, the Vmic5 Pro is ready to capture the best possible sound.

Learn more about the Vmic5 Pro’s features and specs and its lifestyle heavy, commercial style.

VidPro RL-18 LED 18″ Ring Light Kit – It’s been said that one of the reasons celebrities are so beautiful is because they have such great lighting. There’s truth to it, though. The right lighting in film or stage makes a huge difference. It’s true for video, too. Even casual creators should be aware of the basics of good lighting. VidPro’s ring light holds a small camera or phone in the middle. Your video star will be perfectly illuminated wherever they go. $79

Genaray 2 x SL-57 Soft LED Lights & 2 x MicroPod Tabletop Tripods Kit  – Genaray offers a great set of two LED light panels to give your favorite podcaster or streamer the best glow. Attach to tabletop-sized tripods or use them as handheld lights. The soft light output is completely dimmable to create just the right look. $84

OrangeMonkie Halo-Bar Attachable Lighting Bar, 2 Pack and OrangeMonkie Foldio Mini Studio Shooting Tent – Admittedly, this is a niche gift. While the main intention is for photography, the OrangeMonkie Foldio is perfect for some content creators, too — particularly those who need to show details without distractions. Think artists, crafters and DIY tutorial channels. Then, the light bars attach to the inside of the shooting tent magnetically. OrangeMonkie didn’t design the lights to work without the tent, so go big and get it all. Tent, $139 Lights, $32

Nanlite Mira Flex Arm Beauty Light (2) USB Power Passthrough & Light Stand – Ensure your creator always looks their best no matter what kind of content they create. These beauty lights from Nanlite come mounted onto incredibly flexible arms, adjustable to illuminate from any angle. The length of the light bars helps to eliminate shadows. Lighting brightness and flex arms are independently adjustable. Also, it includes a smartphone bracket. $119

Home studio gear and accessories

Raya Portable Studio Kit  – If your creator is starting to build their home studio, they will love this gift. Raya’s Portable Studio Kit has a sturdy frame that holds a background fabric in place nicely. It also comes with two adjustable light stands with professional lighting umbrellas to help cast great lighting every time. $99


Irix Cine family

The holiday season is all about family. Winner of the Videomaker Editor’s Choice Award for best The holiday season is all about family. Winner of the Videomaker Editor’s Choice Award for best budget cine lenses, the Irix Cine family brings joy to all. The line features five professional cine lenses — the Cine 150mm T3.0 1:1 Macro, 11mm T4.3, 45mm T1.5, 30mm T1.5 and 15mm T2.6. Irix’s Cine family supports many mount types, including Canon EF, Arri PL, MFT, Sony E, L, Z and Canon RF mount. The entire Cine line—winner of the 2020 Red Dot Award for best design—has something to offer every pro videographer and photographer. The Cine 150mm T3.0 1:1 Macro is the first-ever Irix Cine lens and is perfect for extreme up-close macro shots. The Cine 11mm T4.3 is rectilinear and ready when you need to shoot wide. The 30mm T1.5 is excellent for interviews and medium wide shots. The 45mm T1.5 shoots smooth bokeh and the 15mm T2.6 fits right into any filmmaker’s gear tool kit. All five lenses are weatherproof and ready to shoot 8K UHD video. The Irix Cine family is here for the holiday season, ready to bring joy to filmmakers and photographers.

Learn more.


Kingston Workflowstation Doc

Capture. Connect. Create. Kingston’s Workflowstation and Readers expedite post-production by offering a flexible system to transfer video, photos and audio from up to eight sources.

The Kingston Workflowstation Dock is customizable. So you can use its included USB miniHub or grab some SD and microSD readers to suit your needs.

No matter if you’re working on a 4K/8K multi-cam shoot with multiple audio recorders or using a drone/GoPro combo for B-roll, you can connect up to four readers to the dock and simultaneously transfer files with USB 3.2 speeds. On the go? You can simply drop the hub or readers needed into your bag and connect using the included USB-C cable.

Learn more.


Glow Muslin Background – 10 x 10 ‘ (White)  – Video creators need background fabrics. Gamers, for example, are usually in their own home. So having these professional fabrics can help them create a little privacy from their fans and stay focused on their game. The one we’ve linked to is white, but you’ll find them in many colors and some prints, too. $18


Kingston’s XS2000 Portable SSD

Utilizing USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 speeds, Kingston’s XS2000 Portable SSD delivers next-gen performance in a compact, external drive. Type-C host devices with USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 support achieve lightning-fast transfer speeds up to 2,000MB/s for enhanced productivity with little interruption.

With storage options up to 2 TB, you can offload and edit high-res images, 8K videos and large documents in a flash. Whether you’re creating for work or play, Kingston’s XS2000 Portable SS includes a removable ruggedized sleeve and IP55-rating to withstand water and dust. It’s the perfect companion for the office or out on-location.

Learn more.


Glide Gear Multi-Mount Home Studio Desktop Video Stand Holder Rig – One of the trickiest angles to shoot video from is from a top-down view. This is especially important for creators who are creating DIY tutorials or other detailed handiwork. The viewer will benefit from seeing exactly what the host is doing on a table. It’s also an interesting way to add variety to the shots to keep their audience engaged. Give this camera accessory to your favorite YouTuber or TikToker. $80


Skydio 2

Skydio 2 is the drone that will get you into drones. This drone delivers advanced flight autonomy based on deep learning algorithms that constantly detect and avoid obstacles, allowing you to perform flight maneuvers that not even expert pilots would dare on any other drone. You focus on what you’re doing – riding a mountain bike, shredding snow, or lining up the perfect sunset shot – while your drone does the flying. It’s the perfect first drone, and the last one you will ever want to fly. The intelligent drone to help you discover new and exciting ways to fly.

Starting at $949, order yours today at skydio.com.


Padcaster Parrot Teleprompter Kit

Always be ready for your close-up! The Padcaster Parrot Teleprompter Kit is the most affordable and portable teleprompter on the market – no more memorizing lines or looking down at your script.  Set up takes less than a minute – just attach the teleprompter to your camera and insert your smartphone while it runs Padcaster’s free Parrot app. Almost instantly, you’re delivering your script while looking directly into your camera’s lens.

The Parrot Teleprompter uses a 30R/70T beam splitter glass — the same found in high-end teleprompters. Additionally, the kit comes with thirteen mounting rings, a Bluetooth remote and a glass cleaning kit. Currently on sale for just $79 (20% off the standard sticker price), there’s no better time to get the Padcaster Parrot Teleprompter Kit than now.

Learn more.


JOBY GorillaPod 3K PRO Camera Audio Kit

This award-winning camera audio kit is perfect for all serious mirrorless/CSC vloggers. It comes with JOBY’s best-in-class, futureproof JOBY Wavo microphone — a professional vlogger’s dream audio recording partner. The JOBY Wavo microphone comes built with a Super-Cardioid polar pattern, allowing it to focus on the vlogger’s voice and isolate it from noisy backgrounds. Plus, its ¼-inch-20 locking cold shoe mount adds extra security and peace of mind.


However, the GorillaPod 3K PRO Camera Audio Kit’s Wavo microphone doesn’t come alone. The kit also includes the GorillaPod 3K PRO. The GorillaPod 3K PRO features a sleek aluminum design and comes with CNC machined sockets and an Arca-Swiss-compatible ballhead. With this kit, content creators have access to a new standard in camera stabilization.

Learn more.


Editing

ThunderBay Flex 8

ThunderBay Flex 8 offers eight drive bays that support a mix of SATA/SAS and U.2/M.2 NVMe drives for up to 144 TB of storage capacity. Next, there are a plethora of ports, including two Thunderbolt 3, one USB-C, and two USB-A for device docking and charging.

See your work in greater detail by adding up to an 8K display via a built-in DisplayPort 1.4 connection. Ingest hi-res images and video via front-side SD 4.0 and CFexpress card readers. And when you want to expand your desktop capabilities, there’s a PCIe slot waiting for your specific project needs. ThunderBay Flex 8 is the one Thunderbolt 3 desktop device that rules them all. With an irresistible economy of scale, this consolidated solution is ideal for anyone waiting for the right moment to invest in Thunderbolt technology.

Learn more.


BenQ SW271C 27” 4K color accurate IPS monitor

BenQ’s SW271C 27-inch 4K color-accurate IPS monitor for video and photo editing adds confidence to your creative process. This hardware and software-calibrated display boast Delta E ≤ 2 color accuracy. Whether designing web content in sRGB, editing 4K video in DCI-P3/Rec. 709 or retouching photos in Adobe RGB, the BenQ SW271C’s AQCOLOR technology showcases content at its best.

The BenQ’s SW271C 27-inch 4K monitor features HDR10/HLG video support, USB-C connectivity, select SDI to HDMI device compatibility for video and a shading hood. BenQ’s proprietary Paper Color Sync also enables an accurate print preview. Additionally, the monitor’s Uniformity Tech ensures screen-wide consistency and its Hotkey Puck G2 facilitates quick adjustments.

Learn more.


AMD Radeon PRO W6800

Discover your software’s full potential. The AMD Radeon PRO W6800 Professional Graphics delivers the ultimate software experience, with up to a gigantic 32 GB of fast frame buffer. Plus, it provides high-performing hardware raytracing, optimizations for up to 6 ultra-high res HDR displays and exceptional multitasking capabilities.

The AMD Radeon PRO W6800 Professional Graphics comes wrapped around an award-winning graphics architecture called AMD RDNA 2. This architecture is an industry-leading graphics foundation for visually rich gaming consoles.

Learn more.


SanDisk Professional

The G-DRIVE from SanDisk Professional is an enterprise-class hard drive that delivers reliable and high-capacity storage in a stylish all-aluminum design. Built with a 7200RPM Ultrastar hard drive that provides up to 260MB/s read and 260MB/s write speeds, and available in up to 18TB capacity, it’s a great option for those who need to back up or access their videos fast.

The G-DRIVE from SanDisk Professional works great with Macs as well. It supports up to 45 watts of USB Power Delivery through the USB-C port. This means you can charge any compatible MacBook or MacBook Pro without a separate charger. With the G-DRIVE from SanDisk Professional, you get a reliable, powerful and stylish data storage companion for all your demanding workloads and mission-critical content.

Pricing: $184.99 – $549.99 (4TB, 6TB, 12TB, 18TB)

Learn more.


Wrap it up with a few extras

Kupo Apple Box Set (4) – Apple boxes are a simple and obvious tool in the industry, but newbies often overlook them. A good set of apple boxes belongs in every creator’s studio and those who shoot on the go, like vloggers, will find dozens of reasons to drag their boxes along. $137

Transcend 256GB 800x CompactFlash Memory Card UDMA – There are so many brands of memory cards on the market. The fact remains, your creator can never have too many. Transcend’s 256GB 800x CompactFlash Memory Card UDMA has a large capacity and fast speeds for transferring the data to their computer, so they’ll never miss a moment. $135

LensCoat CF6 Memory Card Wallet, Navy – It may seem like a novelty, but this is a truly useful gift. Whatever they are creating with video, losing track of a memory card can be frustrating and dealing with cards out of order isn’t much better. You can help them stay organized with a LensCoat memory card wallet. Maybe it will inspire their New Year’s resolution. $16

As you can see, buying holiday gifts for video creators in your life doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Once you understand what kind of videos they create, you’ll have a better idea of which gifts will fit their needs. Give gifts that help them reach their goals (and look good doing it!). Hopefully, they will appreciate it for years to come.

How Sweet Anita takes charge of the narrative to connect with her audience

Sweet Anita
Image courtesy: Sweet Anita

Sweet Anita has Tourette syndrome. She’ll let you know that right away. Indeed, it’s this fact about her that draws many people into her stream on Twitch — at least initially. A clip of Anita’s tics will show up on Instagram or TikTok, prompting a new viewer to tune in live. They arrive hoping to see more Tourette-fueled absurdity. Instead, they are treated to thoughtful conversations, lots of laughs and a truly supportive community.

Recently, we had the pleasure of chatting with Sweet Anita about her experience and success as a streamer. Throughout our conversation, she unpacked her thoughtful approach to streaming and making a living on Twitch. Here’s what we learned.

Sweet Anita icon

Sweet Anita
Subscribers: 1.44M
Uploads: 421
Video Views: 80,360,814
Channel Type: People
USER CREATED: Oct 21, 2018

How Sweet Anita arrived on Twitch

Before starting her career as a streamer in 2018, Sweet Anita supported herself. She ran a small business collecting and selling sea glass and helped run several animal rescues. At the same time, she maintained a productive garden while also caring full time for her mother. In her limited free time, Anita turned to online gaming as a way to connect with others.

“Twitch sort of just sucked me in,” Anita says, recalling the early days of her stream. She explains that she never intended to turn Twitch into her job. She only started using the platform so that she could play games and interact with more people. Even before streaming, her chattiness and sense of humor were beginning to attract a following. Veteran streamers took note of Anita’s engaging personality and encouraged her to give streaming a shot. In the end, however, Anita’s mainly used Twitch to game with groups larger than her limited six-player Overwatch team.

Now, with around 1.8 million followers on Twitch, Anita sees this casual beginning as a major factor in her long-term success as a Twitch streamer. “Things go much better on a live platform if you don’t take it too seriously,” Anita explains. According to her, your focus during a stream should be on enjoying yourself and connecting with people. As Anita observes, “When you become distracted by other goals and stats, your audience picks up on that.”

How to bring value to your audience

Rather than invent a scheme to boost views or attract more followers, Anita chooses to focus on providing value to her viewers. She believes this is the key to building a sustainable career as a streamer. “People aren’t looking to be your follower,” Anita observes. “People aren’t looking to boost your stats. They’re looking to connect with you.” She goes on to point out the unfortunate irony for those who stream solely for money or fame: “People who want to become big are infatuated with the stats, and that’s what’s going to stop them from ever growing.”

Because she doesn’t allow herself to fixate on stats, Anita can focus on connecting with fans on a human level. “I try to get people thinking in ways that will improve their life,” says Anita, “not in a preachy way. I just hang out and talk about my day, and I don’t have to sweat it too much.” She emphasizes the off-the-cuff nature of her streams as their main appeal. “If it’s too constructed,” she says, “it puts a barrier between you and your viewer.”

What does Sweet Anita talk about?

Sweet Anita
Sweet Anita keeps her streams off-the-cuff to connect with her audience. Image courtesy: Sweet Anita

While initially focused on gaming, Anita has allowed her stream to evolve naturally over the years. She integrates gaming with workout routines, challenges and simply chatting with her viewers. She often allows the viewers in chat to influence the direction and content of the stream. “I don’t want people to just come and watch me,” she tells us, “I want people to come and connect.”

For Anita, this ability to chat directly with her audience is what gives livestreaming its unique appeal. “What makes a stream a good stream is when people feel involved,” she says. “You could work on a potato camera and still be very successful.” Indeed, Anita’s setup has come together piecemeal. That’s in no small part thanks to her fans and fellow streamers. Some have generously donated both time and gear to bring Anita’s steam up to the quality we see today. However, since Anita’s goal is to engage with her audience, it really doesn’t matter what gear she uses to produce her streams. Her success as a streamer came prior to any camera upgrade.

Streaming with Tourette syndrome

Sweet Anita doesn’t try to hide the fact that she has Tourette syndrome. In Anita’s case, this neurological disorder causes her to blurt out surprising and often inappropriate phrases. By definition, these outbursts, which can also include offensive gestures, are outside of Anita’s control. Personified as “Terrence,” Anita’s condition is an unavoidable part of her life, so of course, it shows up in her streams as well. It’s caused her some controversy over the years, but in the end, Twitch recognizes Tourette syndrome as a disability and doesn’t take issue with Sweet Anita’s involuntarily vulgar language. In any case, this is why her stream is explicitly stated to be for mature audiences only.

At the same time, Anita is careful not to let Terrence steal her spotlight. This can be an uphill battle. “When people start to notice you, no matter what content you bring to the table, people are going to remember you for your condition,” Anita explains. No matter what she does, Anita knows that some people will try to reduce her achievements to “Tourette’s girl did thing.”

“I can’t fix society,” she acknowledges, “I can’t change the fact that they’re gonna really notice my condition. So I sit there and think, ‘How could I benefit from this?’ And the way that I have decided to benefit from it is to trick people.” In other words, Anita has found a way to transform this obstacle into an opportunity.

Making clips work for her

Because of her condition, it’s common for people to clip Sweet Anita’s Twitch streams, fixating specifically on her most outrageous tics. Anita has seen many of these sensationalized video clips go viral across the internet, bringing a lot of new eyes to her streams on Twitch. Rather than try to stop these clips from surfacing, Anita has decided to take charge of the situation and release clips of her own:

“If I’m the one releasing it, I’m the one who benefits. If other people are releasing those clips, then they’re capitalizing off my condition, and that feels weird.”

By releasing her own clips, Anita gets to take charge of her narrative and the way her tics are presented to unfamiliar viewers. Her strategy is simple: turn people’s natural curiosity about Tourette syndrome to her advantage. Anita explains it this way: “If people laugh at one of my tics, they come and check out my channel. And they’ve been duped into thinking that they’re going to come have a laugh at a girl who says lots of inappropriate words. And what they actually get is a Ted Talk on, you know, animal biology, or human psychology or how to cope with certain mental conditions and things like this.”

It’s clear Anita finds this aspect of her career as a Twitch streamer especially rewarding. “I get to dazzle people with a deep conversation they weren’t expecting,” she says. “And it’s really working for me because now I have a massive community of people who’ve taken on new ideas, connected with each other, thrived, gotten through some things, and that’s what I’ve wanted to do with my content all along.”

Sweet Anita meets people where they are

Making and sharing funny clips of herself has become a cornerstone of Sweet Anita’s streaming strategy. Shorter, high-impact clips might end up on her Instagram or TikTok feeds. Longer clips work best on YouTube. “I decide based on the attention span of the platform,” Anita explains.

For instance, Anita’s YouTube channel is like a distilled version of her stream. The intent is primarily to entertain. Uploads include lighthearted content, like Anita taking driving lessons or attempting viral challenges. However, she’ll still sneak a message in for those who want to hear it. She says, of the clips that make it to YouTube, “Sometimes it’s to indulge people’s curiosity about my condition and other times it’s to nudge them in the right direction.”

Like her Twitch stream, Anita’s clips and videos on YouTube address all sorts of topics, from gaming to mental health to relationships. And she doesn’t shy away from controversy if what she has to say is something people need to hear. For instance, she doles out dating advice in her video “I Dated a Simp.” The message of the video comes down to the very reasonable “you can’t negotiate affection,” but it still earned Anita a wave of hate.

Anita also uses her YouTube channel specifically to address the most common questions posed in chat. “The YouTube channel helps me save my breath,” Anita reflects. Having a Q&A playlist ready to go when these questions come up means Anita can continue to evolve her content without having to repeat herself or focus exclusively on her condition. This approach helps her keep both her viewers and herself engaged and interested in her stream.

Behind the scenes: the Sweet Anita team

Anita doesn’t attempt to take on all of this on her own. With a half dozen different platforms to maintain, she relies on a team of editors and social media managers to keep up with her posting schedule. Anita provides her team with a direction and they execute her vision. And of course, she still has final approval over any content going out. Handing off some of these responsibilities allows Anita to live a life outside of Twitch and social media.

“I don’t do the editing myself,” she tells us, “I don’t think there’d be enough time in the world for that.” On top of hosting her streams and keeping up with her fans, Anita is still a full-time caregiver for her mom. That’s not to mention the menagerie of rescue animals Anita continues to look after, as well.

She does have some advice for creators looking to expand their production team. “Don’t hire friends,” Anita insists. “Get people involved who have experience and understand what to do.” She says an experienced team of professionals is vital for getting things done efficiently and avoiding resentment.

It’s all about connection

Sweet Anita values the connections she has cultivated within her community, but at the same time, she recognizes the limits of that kind of intimacy. As much as she enjoys spotting a familiar name in the comments or sharing an inside joke, Anita understands, “It can’t be like that for thousands of people.” However, she has found other ways to connect with and give back to her community. “What can happen is you start to build a close-knit community of people who feel connected to something.”

For Anita, that community congregates on Discord. Even with tens of thousands of members, Anita calls the Sweet Anita Discord server a haven. It’s a place where her viewers can make friends and support each other. “They really love each other there and look after each other,” Anita tells us, “and it wouldn’t be that if I were just ignoring chat.”

At the same time, Anita cautions her fans about becoming too attached to her. “I don’t really want to be an inspiration if I’m honest with you,” Anita says. She even gives talks on her streams about recognizing parasocial relationships and healthier ways to combat loneliness. Above all, Anita wants to avoid exploiting her audience and their attention. She feels it would be unfair to simply take from them without providing something in return.

“A bad streamer will try to get something out of their audience,” she says, “and good streamers will try to figure out every day what they can give to their audience.” That’s another reason Discord has become such a fixture in Anita’s life: “It’s genuinely a huge opportunity to give back to the most dedicated people in your community.”

How Sweet Anita makes a living

Sweet Anita keeps it simple when it comes to earning a living on Twitch. Rather than rush to sign up for every new revenue source, Anita focuses on providing value to her audience. Her main income sources include ad revenue and stream donations. “I try to focus on making that worthwhile,” Anita explains, “If I start a Patreon, and I had nothing to offer people who signed up for my Patreon, it would just look like I was just grabbing for money and begging, rather than actually providing anything.”

This emphasis on quality is integral to Anita’s overall business strategy, and she encourages aspiring streamers and videos creators to take note. “It’s not about how many different revenue streams. It’s about the quality you provide,” Anita reminds us.

Sweet Anita’s advice for creators

As we concluded our conversation, Anita had some final advice for fellow creators. “A really good idea, if you’re going to become a content creator, is to not look to other people for inspiration,” Anita says, reflecting again her desire to avoid becoming a role model. She reminds new streamers to focus instead on what they personally can offer potential viewers.

“It’s not about how well you can play the game. It’s not about how expensive your camera is. It’s literally what uniquely do you have to offer people,” she concludes. “I think that’s the most important question you got to ask yourself as a content creator. And it’s the one that will take you the furthest.”

How Ridiculous uses determination to set world records and succeed on YouTube

How Ridiculous
Image courtesy: How Ridiculous

How Ridiculous uploaded their first video in 2009. Back then, Brett Stanford, Scott Gaunson and Derek Herron just wanted to have fun attempting backyard trick shots on camera. However, since their early videos went viral, How Ridiculous has evolved into much more than a trick shot video channel. Their impressive feats, endearing friendship and unwavering perseverance now inspire people around the world.

We had the chance to chat with co-creator Brett Stanford about How Ridiculous, how they got started and what it takes to keep the channel going.

How Ridiculous icon

How Ridiculous
Subscribers: 6.62M
Uploads: 336
Video Views: 1,167,077,584
Channel Type: Entertainment
USER CREATED: Sep 9th, 2009

The early days

Brett, Scott and Derek met at church and often hung out together shooting basketball in their free time. It was a natural progression to trick shots and posting videos online. In the beginning, production was simple. “We basically got a digital camera and started throwing basketballs around,” says Brett. Soon though, the guys became enamored with the challenges they were capturing on video. Brett continues, “We realized with enough attempts and perseverance, we could do some pretty cool stuff.”

From 2009 to 2015, How Ridiculous was a hobby. “We were all working and studying during that,” Brett recalls. Brett was working as a physical therapist as well as a youth pastor. It took some time before the team realized YouTube could provide a full-time salary. “There weren’t really many examples to follow of people who were doing it as their career,” Brett says about online content creation at the time.

Getting How Ridiculous off the ground

Even in those early days, the guys made efforts to get more people watching their stunts. Instead of relying on YouTube recommendations, How Ridiculous aimed to get their content embedded on news sites like ESPN and Yahoo to attract more views. As Brett tells us, “The actual idea of getting organic traffic from YouTube’s home feed was non-existent.”

In 2010, How Ridiculous did a video story with a local news crew. This video ended up getting picked up on traditional media around the world. Instead of getting views in the thousands, How Ridiculous was suddenly getting views in the hundreds of thousands. Brett cites this as one of the few key moments that spurred the crew on, encouraging them to continue with the channel. He tells us, “I supposed there was no one exact moment where we thought ‘Now we can make a career out of it.’ We just had to keep going.”

Going pro

Throughout the first six years, the guys at How Ridiculous continued to up the ante. They pursued world record trick shots and frequently saw their videos go viral, like their collaboration with Brodie Smith on an epic frisbee catch. By 2015, things were going great for the channel, but the guys were also busy — being married, working full-time and with little time to spare for this particular hobby. “We had to decide,” Brett recalls, “We either have to probably give it up, or we have to give it more time by making it our job.”

The guys decided to give it a year and see where that got them. In that year, How Ridiculous earned particular notoriety for their world record shot of a dam in Tasmania as well as their Magnus effect experiment. Fortunately, that year of dedication was enough to start earning all three of them a full-time salary. Now, Brett tells us, “It’s grown into far more than we’ve ever dreamed, but we work super hard and try to make the best content we can that stands out.”

Working toward a common goal

As rewarding as it is, it can be tough to constantly keep the content fresh. “We find that it’s the most draining part of our job, coming up with ideas, the creative component,” Brett tells us, “because it’s not like it’s something that you can just make happen.” Brett says it can be frustrating sometimes, but overall, the process of coming up with ideas as a group is absolutely necessary. “Our ideas are our currency, really,” he says. “If you can’t come up with good ideas, you don’t have anything at all.”

Fortunately, the three friends have hit on a healthy creative dynamic. “We all had, I guess, the strength of character — and the humility, I suppose — to feel like,” Brett pauses, “it’s not all about me.” He concludes, “If you can get a team that’s full of humility, it’ll go a long way towards being a healthy team.”

According to Brett, you probably couldn’t find a word that describes the team less than “ego.” Brett attributes this partially to the team’s mutual foundation in church. Brett explains, “In the Christian faith, y’know, there’s no room for ego. It’s not about you. I think that’s why in the early days we didn’t show any personality.”

Revealing the team behind How Ridiculous

How Ridiculous
Brett, Scott and Derek’s dynamic as a trio helped them grow their channel to what it is today. Image courtesy: How Ridiculous

On that front, this ingrained humility actually held the guys back from connecting with their fans. They had to find balance: “In reality, we learned over time that you can still remain humble but include people on the journey of what it takes to do our videos.”

As their stunts expanded in scope, the trio included more of their banter in their videos. This helped their audience get excited along with them, in turn growing their audience. As more people subscribed to their channel, the team brought in more members to help with the larger productions. Currently, the How Ridiculous channel supports six full-time employees, including the three main guys.

Brett explains, “As you grow, you’ve only so much time in the week and you need to try and find some people who can do some jobs better than you can, so you can do the things that only you can do.”

Giving back

Beyond just making an income for the production team, How Ridiculous uses their reach to support several charitable causes, including the recently trending #TeamSeas. There’s one organization in particular that Brett highlighted: “We’re really passionate about an organization called Compassion, who aim to release children from poverty. We’ve been doing a lot of advocating for them, and that was part of our passion for doing videos as well.”

How Ridiculous adapts to change

Over time, the guys have shifted from strictly trick shots to a more vlog-like approach to allow fans to enjoy more of their personality. By 2016, the guys were branching out and doing different kinds of content. Not only were they choosing to include more of themselves in their videos, but the scale of the stunts also increased massively. “Instead of bowling balls, we’ve dropped a plane. We’ve done all sorts of really absurd things that people have never seen before,” Brett says.

“As time goes on, we’re trying to be more and more creative, Brett continues. “We’re trying to invest more in our videos to do, not always bigger things, but things that are maybe more effort or have a greater production quality.” Brett gives their recently acquired Phantom high-speed camera as an example: “For us, we really saw it as an important part of taking of videos to the next level.”

Preparing for the future

“People don’t really know what it means to become a YouTube creator or a social media creator for 20 years, 30 years, 40 years,” Brett reminds us. “Continuing to adapt is so important. You’ve gotta continue to innovate.” How Ridiculous looks for data where ever it’s available, from YouTube Analytics to polls on Instagram. They’ve recently put in specific effort toward increasing watch time. “Not trying to add filler content,” Brett assures us, “but just trying to make them better for longer.”

“Ultimately,” Brett says, “you’ve got to keep being excited about what you do, and if not, you’ve got to find some content ideas that you are excited about.” He concludes, “Do it in a way that you love it and you’d do it even if you weren’t making money.”

How Ridiculous summed up in one video

As our conversation comes to an end, Brett reflects on his favorite How Ridiculous video: “We Spent 6 Days Attempting a 200m Basketball Shot in Lesotho, Africa.” For him, it’s a prime example of the team’s core values, both on the channel and in life: determination, dreaming big and being willing to do whatever it takes to pull off something.

“No matter what you’re doing, you gotta push yourself,” Brett says. “You’ve gotta set goals that are maybe bigger than you ever dreamed possible and work your way to it.” Brett concludes, “Hopefully, it inspires [viewers] to have a crack at something that’s really epic and go for it.” If there’s one thing we can take from watching a How Ridiculous video, it’s that ‘epic’ is a goal worth going after.

The steps you need to take to save streams on Twitch

How to save streams on Twitch

Today, there are various ways for you to share your content with a mass audience. For instance, there are many popular video-sharing platforms you can share videos on, like YouTube. If your videos become popular enough, you can even make a living creating and sharing videos. While there are many ways and places to share your videos, one of the most popular ways to live stream your content. Twitch is the most popular livestreaming platform on the internet, with over 140 million monthly active users. Though most people use Twitch to watch content live, Twitch does allow you to save streams as VODs (Videos on Demand). VODs can help you boost your viewership on Twitch and even on other video-sharing platforms. However, Twitch doesn’t automatically save your streams as VODs. You have to turn it on inside of your Twitch account settings manually. So, how do you save streams on Twitch?

This article will discuss the benefits of saving your Twitch streams and walk you through the steps you need to take to make sure Twitch saves your streams.

Why save your Twitch streams?

There are various reasons why you would want to save their streams as a streamer. The first reason is it creates a great backlog of content for people to check out while you’re offline.

Saving your streams also give your current viewers a chance to catch up on streams they might have missed. Twitch is different than YouTube. Most videos on YouTube range between 10 to 20 minutes. Twitch streams can go on for hours. Even your most dedicated viewers are bound to miss a few streams. VODs make your content more accessible to people who might have otherwise not been able to watch your stream if it wasn’t recorded. You can even upload your Twitch VODs to other platforms like YouTube, expanding your content’s accessibility.

Saving a stream before it happens

To start saving your streams as VODs, you will need to follow a few steps to enable it. Here are the steps you need to take:

  1. Go to Twitch.tv and log into your account.
  2. Select your profile icon on the right. This will open a drop-down menu.
  3. Click ‘Creator Dashboard’ in the drop-down menu.
  4. Once you’re inside the Creator Dashboard, select the ‘Streaming’ tab on the left side of the screen.
  5. Scroll down to VOD settings.
  6. Switch the ‘Store past broadcasts’ toggle on. Your VODs will automatically be publicly published. If you want to keep the private, switch the toggle underneath the ‘Store past broadcasts’ to off.
Twitch VOD settings

Now Twitch will save your streams as VODs! However, unlike YouTube, Twitch streams are only accessible for a limited time. For standard users, Twitch keeps their streams up for 14 days. Partner streamers get a little more time; their streams last for 60 days.

How to permanently save your Twitch stream

It is possible to save your streams on Twitch permanently. However, you have to turn a portion of your stream or the entire stream into a Highlight to do so. Here are the steps:

  1. In the Creator Dashboard, select the ‘Content’ tab.
  2. Click ‘Video Producer.’
  3. Select the video you want to turn into a Highlight. You can either select a portion of it or select the entire stream.
  4. Once you’ve selected the portion you want to turn into a Highlight, select ‘Publish Highlights.’
  5. Add a title, thumbnail and tags to your Highlight and hit ‘Save Changes.’

Your viewers can then access your Highlights on your Twitch channel. To access them, go to the ‘Videos’ tab on your channel. Then, click the ‘Filter by’ menu and select ‘Highlights.’

How to stop saving your streams?

If you decide you no longer want to save your streams on Twitch, it’s pretty simple to turn off automatic VOD recordings. Essentially, you do the same steps you did to turn on VOD recording. The only difference is you switch the toggle ‘Store past broadcasts’ off instead of on.

Keep your streams accessible for all

Twitch is a considerably popular livestreaming platform. There are millions of people who watch content on the platform every day. While most of them are there to watch their favorite creators live, there’s a sizable amount who watch VODs. To build up your library of content and keep your viewers engaged even when you’re offline, save your livestreams. It’s quick to do and can help you grow your Twitch channel.

A guide to getting verified on Snapchat

How to get verified on Snapchat
Image courtesy: Snapchat

Obtaining verification on Snapchat is no easy task. You must reach a level of notoriety that not many can achieve. That comes with having many followers and very engaging posts. So, how do you get verified on Snapchat?

While it’s a long road to earn notoriety on Snapchat, it’s still possible. In this article, we will discuss the steps you have to take to get verified on Snapchat. We will also provide you with a guide when you eventually apply for verification.

The perks of being verified on Snapchat

As you might already expect, being verified on Snapchat comes with a few perks. Most of the people verified on Snapchat are celebrities and high-profile influencers. Essentially, verification is a way for Snapchat, and other online platforms, to establish certain accounts as authentic. This allows users to distinguish between fake accounts and ones owned by the actual high-profile person. Once a person verifies their account, no one else can claim their account name either.

Another perk of owning a verified account is exposure. Posts from verified accounts usually get featured on Snapchat’s official stories page, earning them even more exposure.

Additionally, verified accounts allow you to access them on multiple devices simultaneously. Standard accounts will automatically log you off from one device if you sign into another. DJ Khalid, who was awarded the Snapchatter of the Year award in 2016 at the Shorty Awards, has used his account on multiple devices before. On numerous occasions, he’s uploaded images to Snapchat while walking on a red carpet while his promotional crew also posted shots of him.

DJ Khaled's Snapchat

Tips to help you get verified on Snapchat

While you may not have the same notoriety as DJ Khalid, you still can build your following up enough to earn Snapchat’s coveted verified gold star.

According to Snapchat, you need to have at least 50,000 views on your stories to get verified. This no easy feat, but we know you can do it with the right approach. Here are a few steps you need to take to grow your following on Snapchat and work your way to verification.

Regularly post engaging content

To receive verification on Snapchat, you need to grow your follower count and engagement. The best way to do this is to regularly create and post quality, appealing content. Over time, you will get more and more eyeballs on your content. Eventually, it might catch Snapchat’s attention and increase your chances of getting verified when you apply.

Share your content

To grow your following even more, share your content in places where people interested in your type of content will see it. This includes sharing to all your social media accounts and related Reddit communities.

Collaborate

Collaborating with other Snapchatters with bigger communities is a great way to grow your audience. If you have a few people in mind, reach out and ask if they are up to collaborating with you. While you promote them to your audience, they will promote you to theirs.

How to apply for verification on Snapchat

Typically, Snapchat will give verification to high-profile people when they sign up. However, there is a way for you to request Snapchat for verification. Here’s are the steps you need to take.

  1. Launch the Snapchat app and log in with the account you want to verify.
  2. Tap on your Bitmoji avatar in the top left corner of the app. Snapchat will bring you to your profile.
  3. Go to ‘Settings’ by tapping the gear icon in the top right corner of your profile.
  4. Scroll down to ‘I Need Help’ under ‘Support’ and go to ‘Contact Us.’ From the list of issues, select ‘My Snapchat isn’t working.
  5. Scroll down to the last option and tap ‘Other.’ Scroll down to the bottom of the page. Snapchat will ask if you need help with something else.
  6. Tap ‘Yes’ and then select “My issue is not listed.’ This will bring up a form to fill out. Fill in your username and other information on the form. In the last box, Snapchat will ask you to describe your problem. It would be best to convince Snapchat that fake accounts are popping up with your name and your followers are finding it challenging to recognize which one is yours.
  7. The form also has an option to upload an attachment. Use this option to upload some form of identification yourself. This helps Snapchat know it’s dealing with the right person and not an impostor.
  8. Now go ahead and send the form out. It takes about 4 to 5 days for Snapchat to get back to you. You will receive an email from Snapchat letting you know if your account will be verified or not.

What if you get denied?

If Snapchat denies you, you can re-apply down the line. Make sure to spend some time working and improving your content and regularity of posts.

You can do it!

Getting verified on Snapchat can be a challenge. It takes a large following and constant engagement. However, if you make content that excites and is accessible to your target audience, you will grow your following. Eventually, Snapchat may notice and grant your account with its own golden star.

Image courtesy: Snapchat

Here’s how to mod someone on Twitch

How to mod someone on Twitch
Image courtesy: jalbp via Reddit

Twitch is an extremely popular online platform that allows its users to stream live broadcasts. Until recently, it catered almost exclusively to video game streamers. Today, it has a broader audience. Twitch us now home to many different livestream categories — including Music, Art and Just Chatting. Twitch has had a hand in making livestreaming mainstream and has helped creators monetize their livestreams. Part of what attracts viewers to livestreams is that they can watch and influence streamers’ reactions in real time. While this may be one of the best aspects of doing content live, it also has its fair share of challenges.

It can be difficult for a streamer to simultaneously concentrate on their stream and monitor what’s said in chat. Without moderation, hurtful, or even dangerous, comments can disrupt the flow of chat. This can hurt channel engagement and growth. Here’s where Twitch moderators can help.

The Twitch moderator

A Twitch moderator is a representative of the channel they’re moderating and helps monitor the chat. However, that’s not all they do. They also help whenever a streamer wants to run a poll, start a prediction or needs reminding to announce upcoming streams on social media. Ultimately, moderators have two jobs. They interact and moderate the channel’s viewers and they also are an advocate for the streamer.

Their job requires them to have a good relationship with the streamer and have a strong understanding of the channel’s branding and voice. Moderators essentially serve as behind-the-scenes assistants to streamers. They ensure the brand keeps a positive and healthy presence on social media. They also make sure all members of the community are following the channel’s rules. It’s their job to uphold and enforce the channel’s rules and ban anyone who breaks them.

Choosing a moderator

When choosing a moderator, it is helpful if the person has a large presence in the channel’s community. It’s also good if they are regularly active on social media as well. They will be interacting with your community on various platforms, so you have to be sure they’re up for the task.

It’s also important to consider the size of your channel and how active your chat is. Depending on the size, you may need just one moderator or a couple. If you have a large, active community, having additional moderators is helpful.

Think of their conduct

Moderators always need to be respectful to their community — even if it goes against their personal beliefs. As long as a viewer’s commentary doesn’t go against the channel’s rules or Twitch’s rules, the moderator needs to respect the person and their opinion.

Additionally, moderators always need to stay positive and act professional, regardless of what is said. They need to have thick skin because they’re the buffer between the streamer and their viewers. It’s up to them to ensure the stream isn’t interrupted by a few bad actors. Pick moderators who can avoid confrontations. There will always be people coming into your stream to cause trouble. This can either be self-promoters, fake accounts or viewers with bad intentions. So, you need to pick moderators who can navigate through the good and bad actors with a steady hand and a clear head.

How to mod someone

Once you have a handful of people you can trust with your stream, it’s time to mod them. Modding someone on Twitch is quite simple; it doesn’t take many steps.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Go to your channel and then select “Chat”
  2. Enter the command “/mod” and the username of the person you want to mod in curly brackets. So, you would enter the command: “/mod [username]”
  3. The user is now a moderator on the stream

There is another method for adding a moderator on Twitch. This method involves using the Dashboard on the Control Panel. Here’s how to do it:

  1. From the Dashboard, go to “Community”
  2. Go to “Moderation”
  3. Click “Add New”
  4. Enter the username of the person you want to mod
  5. Click on “Moderator”, then click “Save”

On this screen, you will be able to see who is moderating your channel. If you don’t have a moderator yet, you will see the default Twitch bot.

How to unmod someone

There may be times when you need to unmod someone. The person may no longer want the job or you find they’re no longer serving the purpose of your channel. Regardless of the reason, you can unmod a moderator quite quickly. Here are the steps:

In chat, type “unmod” with the username of the person you want to unmod. So, you would enter: “unmod/ [username]”.

You can also unmod someone in your Twitch dashboard:

  1. From the Dashboard, go to “Community”
  2. Go to “Roles Manager”
  3. Click the “x” next to the moderator role of the person you want to unmod

Find the right moderators for the job

Running a stream by yourself is hard enough. Having moderators can make your job as a streamer much easier. Take some time and find the right people for the role. Once you do, follow the steps above to get them started.

How to get verified on YouTube

How to get verified on YouTube
Image courtesy: YouTube

Verified has become a coveted status in the social media sphere — but does being verified actually matter? In this article, we’ll discuss what it means to verify your YouTube account. We’ll also look at the YouTube verification badge and how to get that sought-after checkmark next to your channel name.

What does it mean to be verified on YouTube?

Getting verified on YouTube can have two possible interpretations. The first version of getting verified is easy and open to anyone. All you have to do is provide YouTube with a phone number. The platform will then send you a code, which you’ll enter a code to prove that you are a real creator — not a robot.

The second form of being verified is the verification badge. This is the little checkmark you see next to some channel names. A bit more exclusive, the verification badge is only available to channels with at least 100,000 subscribers. Usually, creators must apply to receive this designation.

Notably, the verification badge does not award any additional features or benefits. It simply exists to identify channels as official and authentic. The goal is to prevent impersonation and viewer confusion. As YouTube states on their support page, “Verified channels don’t get extra features on YouTube. They also don’t represent awards, milestones, or endorsement from YouTube.”

How to verify your account

To verify your YouTube channel, head to youtube.com/verify. There, you’ll be asked to select your country and choose to receive your code via either a text or voice call.

YouTube will prompt you to have your phone ready. Once your phone is handy, hit ‘Confirm.’ Then enter a phone number and click ‘Submit.’

Once you have submitted your phone number, YouTube will send you your 6-digit verification code. Enter this code on the next page in step two of the account verification process.

What are the benefits?

Once your YouTube channel is verified, you’ll have several new features available. For one, you’ll be able to upload videos longer than 15 minutes. You’ll also be able to customize your thumbnails and conduct livestreams. Finally, and perhaps more important from a legal standpoint, you’ll be able to appeal any unjust Content ID claims against your channel.

How to get a verification badge

Different from simple account verification is the channel verification badge. This designation is available to channels with more than 100,000 subscribers that meet certain authentication requirements. YouTube won’t verify channels trying to impersonate another creator or brand.

To receive the badge, channels must be deemed authentic — representing a real creator, brand or entity — and complete. That means your channel needs a banner, description and profile picture. Sometimes, YouTube will verify a channel below the 100,000 sub threshold if the creator is well-known outside the platform. Likewise, YouTube may revoke verification if your channel violates its Community Guidelines.

Also note that if you change your channel name after you have been verified, that verification status goes away. To get the checkmark back after a name change, you’ll need to reapply.

Applying for the YouTube checkmark

Eligible creators need to apply to get the YouTube verified badge. To get started, head to YouTube’s Channel Verification Application.

On the application, you’ll just need to input your channel name and your channel ID. YouTube provides a link to help you find your channel ID if you’re unsure how to get to it.

Before you hit submit, take a moment to read about the review process. In this section, YouTube reminds applicants that channels must be authentic and complete to be approved. They also say that the review process may take several weeks.

After you click ‘Submit’ at the bottom of the page, the YouTube team will review your application and determine whether or not your channel qualifies for the verified status. YouTube will reply with their decision. If your channel is approved, a checkmark will appear next to your channel name.

What if you get denied?

There are ways that you can distinguish your channel, even without the verification badge. If you get denied or if you have yet to reach the 100,000 sub milestone, you can still make your channel stand out with a unique channel name. Also, try to use high-quality profile and banner images that accurately represent your content. Finally, you can customize your channel layout and branding to make it easier for viewers to find content that interests them.

The bottom line

While the verification badge requires a minimum subscriber count, verifying your account with a phone number is easy and accessible. Luckily, the verification badge isn’t needed to unlock important features and customization options. Remember, the checkmark is only there to prevent confusion and impersonation. Don’t worry if you aren’t eligible for a verification badge yet. You can still make your channel stand out with thoughtful branding and engaging content. Eventually, that coveted checkmark will be yours.

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