Channel Spotlight: ConsoleHermits on building an audience, the editing process, and their top 5 games

spotlight-on-consolehermits

Welcome to Channel Spotlight, ThisWeekinLP’s in-depth look at small channels that deserve more love. This week I had the chance to chat with Jay and Maka of ConsoleHermits, and they told me all about their plans for new content, how they keep themselves organised, and their top tips for new channels.

TWiLP: Tell us a little bit about yourselves!

ConsoleHermits: We are the ‘Console Hermits’ Jason (Jay) Hamilton (28) and Martin (Maka) Jones (30). We are from Carlisle, Cumbria, in the north of England. We both have a great love of all things media, with gaming and anime being two of our biggest passions.

Jay loves photography and has a degree in Forensic science and is working towards becoming either a laboratory technician or a CSI. Maka is a qualified sound technician with years of experience in live music, both as a musician and behind a sound desk. We also love board and card games, good food and a lot of rum.

TWiLP: So what got you into making LPs and gaming content?

ConsoleHermits: We’ve always enjoyed gaming together and sharing gaming moments in general.  Being big time fans of many youtubers and vloggers we wanted to take the plunge and do something more with our passion. We originally came up with the idea to play games that were completely New To Us (which is the name of our show!)

We wanted to help people over the world re-live the frustration and wonder you get when playing something new, even if its decades old. Who hasn’t wished they could go back and do something they missed the first time? Especially if it was something you may not have had access to or could afford when you were a kid.  So we decided that we wanted to share our “joy” as we experience the games from our past for the first time. We wanted to bring some nostalgia or just a fresh take on an old game for the younger generation of gamers.

TWiLP: What are some of your favourite games to play, then?

ConsoleHermits Jay: I really love JRPGs, horror and a lot of the PS1 & 2 era games. If I had to pock a few, I’d go with the Shin Megami Tensei series, Resident Evil, Dark Souls, and Monster Hunter.

ConsoleHermits Maka: Off the top of my head, top 5 would be Final Fantasy 8, Shenmue on the Dreamcast, Sonic 2 for Sega Magadrive, Dark Souls, and Persona 4. Survival and building games are a love of mine. Really there’s too many to name for both us of though.

TWiLP: There’s two of you over at ConsoleHermits – how do you share the workload? Any difficulties there?

ConsoleHermits: Generally the work load is divided according to our strengths; Maka tends to take care of the audio because he’s a sound tech, so he does the editing and adjustments. He also does some photoshopping. I [Jay] am the resident video editor, and the workload can be a bit heavy on the video editing side. But we usually get around it by working on things in advance and trying to never leave anything to the last minute – I rarely made that mistake at university. We also keep a general structure and a minutes log. We’re always trying to make everything take less time!

TWiLP: So do you guys prefer making an LP series or doing a longer stream?

ConsoleHermits Jay: That’s a hard question to answer since we enjoy both. I think for me, LPs are more enjoyable because it gives us time to decide what works and what doesn’t during recording sessions. But we have new stuff coming that is definitely more my type of work.

ConsoleHermits Maka: I can’t really say I have a preference – I know it seems like a cop-out but they’re both fun. Making LP episodes and having a laugh with my best friend is fun, and I find talking to viewers during streams and just playing for entertainment is great too. Just as a side note, we always try to keep the LP experience as true as possible and make sure we record how many times we die when we’re making New To Us episodes.

TWiLP: You’ve been hinting at a new series for mid-February – are there any hints you can give the fans? Anything you want people to anticipate?

ConsoleHermits: There a few things we can give you there! We will be featuring a special episode at the end of each completed game, consisting of our thoughts and views. We will also be starting a competitive gameplay series called ‘Hermit X Hermit’. Also there’s a possible podcast about YouTube, editing, and gaming news in the works.

TWiLP: Since you uploaded the first episode of Batman for NES two months ago, have you guys learnt much about making gaming content?

ConsoleHermits: Has it been that long already? Wow, we have learned so much since the start. We’ve learnt how to make the audio as clean as possible, and we’ve really come a long way with the video editing since the start. It’s always good to record more than you need, and planning is key to reduce the tedious moments that happen during filming. It’s always good to record more than you need.

Overall, just getting the software and equipment to all work properly has been the biggest issue. Technology is rebellious and you just can’t account for it in the beginning. Plus, humans stupidity on our part.

TWiLP: Speaking of equipment – what do you use?

ConsoleHermits: When we’re recording New To Us, we use Open Broadcasting Software to capture the gameplay and audio, then we record our voiceover audio with Audacity and a microphone. Up until recently we used a Turtle Beach recon headset, but in the future we’ll be using a Blue Snowball microphone.

TWiLP: What’s the process for making the videos?

ConsoleHermits: Usually we sit and record four to five hours of gaming and audio at a time, and then we move onto editing. For the footage, I [Jay] use Adobe Master CS6, so Premier Pro and After Effects. For audio, Maka uses Audacity to clean the sound up and get rid of background noise or distortion. After that, we combine the video and the audio, and write down what goes and what stays, how many times we die, comments or any images or video clips we want to add.

 

After all of that, I sit and put in all the transitions, do the title and end cards, the death counter etc. Then finally we watch the episode together to see if it needs any changes and we just do that until we’re happy with it. Then we render, post it to YouTube, and make the thumbnail. Maka makes the thumbnails in GMP, which is a free program similar to Photoshop.

TWiLP: Thinking about the response to the channel, how have you found the experience of growing an audience and getting your stuff out there? Any particular difficulties?

ConsoleHermits: As with anything, these things take time to set up and get the ball rolling. Having 40 subscribers is a blessing and we’re over the moon, but initially getting set up on social media was difficult – especially with Twitter. Now that we’ve made some friends (which is important) like PixelJuice and PNG, things are moving a bit quicker. We really can’t thank people like them enough for being so supportive and friendly.

Basically, we just think this isn’t something you can do only on your own and expect your stuff to be a hit overnight because you have to build up content and followers. Also we’ve both grown and learnt together, so we recommend joining support groups on Twitter or Discord.

TWiLP: Anything you particularly want to say to new LP viewers or makers?

ConsoleHermits: We have some general advice for new channels-

1 – Test everything! Check it and then check it again, and then check it again for good luck. But always remember things can and will go wrong.

2 – Get decent audio equipment. Our first few Batman episodes didn’t have that and you can really tell looking back. Good microphones aren’t that expensive these days and are always a good investment

3 – DON’T take on too much work at once. If you’re unhappy it will show in your videos, and frustration and anger get in the way of progress. Take a break because you can always come back to it later.

4 – Enjoy what you do and have fun. FUN is what video gaming and YouTube is all about.

To our viewers, we really want to thank you all and we appreciate all of your support. With your help, we hope to continue to grow both as a channel and as creators so we can keep bringing you new content. 2017 is going to be a big year for us and we’re working on new shows, as well as more New To Us coming soon. Your feedback lets us know what we’re doing right or wrong and helps us with moving forward and making our stuff better.

Thanks again to Jay and Maka not only for taking the time to chat, but also for supporting ThisWeekinLP. Be sure to check them out on YouTube and Twitter, and leave them a comment. Happy gaming!

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