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YouTube: An Insider's Guide to Climbing the Charts Paperback – Dec 1 2008

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 31 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Don't watch the media, be the media Feb. 20 2009
By Allen Stenger - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a thorough introduction to creating videos for YouTube, aimed at the absolute beginner. It is especially strong on explaining how to tell a story and on how to behave yourself as part of the YouTube community. The emphasis is on making art, not on making money.

It is not a techie book. There's a long chapter called "99-Cent Film School" that covers the mechanics of creating a video, but it's very basic and deals mostly with the selection of equipment, with some discussion of editing. The book is unusual in that it is not Macintosh-centric: the authors use Windows and claim there's no need to consider Macintosh because Windows is cheaper and has more software.

The authors summarize their position on p. 248 as "Don't watch the media, be the media." This is a good sound bite and gives the flavor of the book, although it is not really accurate since they encourage watching and commenting on the videos of other YouTubers. (Besides, if no one watched the media, would there be any media left?) The authors detest traditional media, especially television, and they detest much of the new media too. This doesn't have much impact on the book, except to cause occasional outbursts of gratuitous nastiness. For example, on p. 244 we read, "Social networking provides websites to people who shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a computer." Although there's some truth in this, it is unnecessary to state it here. The isolation from other media also gives the impression that YouTube is its own universe, with no connection to anything else.

The nastiness comes out in concentrated form in the Preface, which attempts to explain "Why You Should Buy This Book" by trashing the competition. Be sure to skip this section of the book! It's not representative of the rest and reading it will turn you off from an otherwise-good book.

There are a number of rough spots that could have been improved by better copy-editing. The book is somewhat rambling. Although it does explain all the YouTube and computer jargon, it may use a term many times before defining it. For example, the term "partner" is used throughout the book but is not explained until Chapter 11. The index is often no help; "partner" is not in the index as such (you have to look under YouTube Partners), and acronyms such as RSS and NLE are not indexed at all.

YouTube URLs are cryptic pseudo-random character strings, and a Very Good Feature of the book is that the authors have placed every URL as a hyperlink on one page on their web site, so you just have to click it. This is not quite as good as feature as it could be, because the cryptic URLs on that page are not annotated other than with a cross-reference number such as "URL 9.3"; if each had a short description or title the page would be easier to navigate and would also be great for browsing.
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Not what I was expecting. Nov. 22 2009
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am not an YouTube expert but I was expecting more about the "psychological secrets" of making and "distributing" a five star video.The book contains to much information that I could find in the HELP pages of You Tube or in different user manuals.For example ,there are 14 pages about the Vegas Movie Studio (editing software made by Sony) and a whole section (chapter 4) about how to register with YouTube. Also,there are to many details about hardware (cameras, microphones, props).

I have found some of the information I was looking for mostly in Chapter7(Building Your Audience),Chapter 8(The Community:Where Do You Fit In?),Chapter 12(Beyond the 'Tube) and Chapter 113 (Becoming a Success Story).

I think the book might be useful to an absolute beginner who do not have the time to sit in front of his computer and learn online how to start with YouTube.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Deals with the technical, artistic, and philisophical aspects of You Tube Jan. 10 2009
By calvinnme - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is the best of the You Tube books, in my opinion, and I am surprised by that fact. I was expecting a purely artistic viewpoint with no technical details and the authors actually start from the beginning, including a condensed You Tube history. They take you through the technical aspects of getting started on You Tube, and actually give you a ninety-nine cent film school chapter on how to shoot a video. Anybody can do it, but observe the You Tube videos with annoying/mismatched music, no music, or characters that drone on endlessly to no point. Here they show you how to avoid doing that. One of the authors has written a very good book that expands on how to shoot an interesting film, $30 Film School, Second Edition, one if its good points being that it doesn't even cost thirty dollars and it is accessible to people whose "day job" is not the art of filmmaking.

What makes this book really stand out is the authors' tips on "climbing the charts" with your quality videos. He talks about everything from tagging to communities on this issue. Finally, the author talks about "Them Tube", the mainstream media, and how it becomes more and more the antithesis of everything that You Tube is about and that makes it a success. With the onset of this latest recession perhaps depression, one thing you can be sure of is that "Them Tube" will become more and more homogenized - more reality TV, less quality films, fewer mainstream filmmakers and their financiers willing to take a chance. You Tube is the answer to that and this book shows you how you can be a part of it.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Great Basic Guide April 14 2010
By Only - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a good, solid, basic guide to youtube. Ignore the hype behind the book, and there is a lot of it. The book is a simple, great basic guide to youtube with a common sense approach to achieving a lively channel. It's not going to work a miracle for you. But nothing will.

In the end, and the book states this explicitly, you have to be likable, cool, and a great communicator to become popular on youtube. This book just gets you started on the right path.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
It'll get you going Jan. 24 2012
By Daniel P. McCarthy - Published on
Format: Paperback
O'Reilly was kind enough to send me this book quite some time ago, so it's about time I got a review posted for it.

Having a BA from Temple University's School of Communication & Theater, I have some experience with learning how to communicate via film & video. Ok, so most of my experience was 16mm film, but that's another story.

What I liked about this book was that it didn't start with any technology advice or how to shoot video. After a quick overview of YouTube it dives into storytelling. Storytelling is one of the most important tools you need to be aware of (and potentially master) to not only make great videos, but to thrive in our current economy. Don't skip that chapter.... Read it 3-4 times. It is the foundation of all that you will be doing going forward.

The rest of the book is solid information, guidance and/or advice on how to best utilize YouTube for your needs. The 99 cent film school chapter covers the technical aspects of filming. There's really not enough room to get all of the details you'll need to shoot high quality footage... Experience will teach you that (and right quick too). But at least in these days of digital recording you don't have to suffer the same loss as a flashed can of film, you just tape over the bad stuff with better stuff.

So pickup this title, get the basics going & start shooting.