In this installment of behind the scenes of members of the Xbox Ambassadors Program, we talk with Mister EDG3 – the Video on Demand Community Lead – about his work with the YouTube content and Video Gallery for the program. Check out our sweet action shots of Mister EDG3 setting up for a shoot, and his Q&A below.
Q: What has been your favorite video project that you’ve made for the team so far?
Answer: Oh! Without a doubt, the [“Thank You. #15YearsofXbox”] video that we did. That was a video idea that kinda came about in a meeting that was unrelated. And I still remembered the 15th anniversary [was coming up] because I personally […] I remember in 2001 when I was begging my dad to get an Xbox [console]. But I didn’t really know that we could do anything [for the anniversary] because I just got the job about two weeks before that.
[W]e worked with the marketing team, and we got a lot of people from our building [on Team Xbox] to give their thanks to the community. […] It came out amazing, and it was one of the proudest projects that I’ve ever worked on.
It was something that was used on the 15 Year Anniversary stream, and a lot of people saw it. And we were able to get a cast from even more regions than our normal videos are – we were able to use Microsoft’s diversity and get people who speak different languages, and it really had a value for all Xbox fans, not just the US.
Q: When it comes to a project that’s non-support, or isn’t packaged with a tutorial, what does the pre-production, filming and editing process look like?
A: Both support and non-support videos have very similar lead ups to actually shooting. So, essentially what we do – in both instances – is we’ll get asks from another team, like the support team or marketing team. For both of those, we’ll have to get together a creative brief. […] “What’s the video title?” “What do we want to accomplish?” And that’s basically to entertain, educate and inform. And from there, we work with whatever the team is asking us to do with the video. Then we create a script, and we take it to a bunch of teams and [show them how the video will look and our point].
[The difference with] non-support videos is the creative vision behind them. The 15 Year Anniversary video is a very simple idea, but it’s one that’s kinda hard to pull off. […] In that video, I was so strapped for time, the trick was to shoot it and go through the entire process of getting the approvals, and getting a cut of the video and getting that [cut] approved. The video, to edit, took… Oof! Over the course of 5 days, it took like 20 hours to edit and then re-edit. Getting it down to a right [time].
[The other teams] actually only wanted the video to be about 30 seconds long, so we had to fight for the time. […] [We knew] this is a video that a lot of people are going to look back, remembering Xbox, and reflect on.
Q: Do all of your videos have a specific time-length, or does it vary by subject and request?
A: That’s a great question. I would say that, generally speaking for YouTube videos, the shorter the better. Attention spans… I can barely sit through a two-hour movie. […] So for YouTube videos, you kinda want to keep it under 3 minutes. If it’s a support video where – again – you know exactly [the points] you have to hit, you kinda figure out ways to get it under that time.
But for videos, like, where I interviewed Matt Salsamendi, the founder of Beam, […] the tactic was to get questions from the community and have him answer them. So, you have to read the questions and then he has to give his answers – just things that make it naturally longer. […] You don’t want to parse their message up too much, so you’ll leave in the full answers. […] That turned out to be about 7 minutes long.
Q: For anyone who is submitting support videos, what do you think the best editing and filming techniques are to get something that is easily digestible for the rest of the community?
A: A lot of the time, we reference the titles of the [Support.Xbox.com] articles that are already there. So, if someone is searching for a title specifically [or keywords], it links the video with the title of the article [making it easier to find]. […] So if I’m searching for “how to find my email address,” there’s a higher chance that we’ll get hits on the video [and the article in the same search]. And that’s the most important thing.
You also want to make sure the audio is good and the video is good. You don’t have to be filming on a 4k camera or something like that, but we definitely want to make sure that it’s quality and enjoyable for the [viewer]. Obviously not everyone has the greatest tech, but just making sure that it’s an enjoyable experience [and it’s as short as possible…]
Q: Leading into the Video Gallery, that recently launched, you’ve been helping with the quality assurance of that. So what does that process look like for you?
A: Yeah, it’s been an overwhelming – in a good way – response from the community. Over 1,500 videos were submitted, which is a lot more… We had expectations for this, and I’d say the expectations were exceeded. The quality assurance part, that’s definitely one of the things that we want to make sure is kept up. We want to make sure that there is always quality stuff up there, quality stuff being suggested and nominated.
For me […] every day I go in, and have a list of all of the videos that are still active on the Video Gallery, and I’ll check out the ones that were down-voted and then see why they were down-voted. So I go in and watch all of those videos for a full review. And we’ll tell people that just because a video was down-voted, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to get removed – I go in, and I manually review each and every one of them. And so, that helps with quality. […]
While I think there is value in videos from IGNs or GameSpots, or other publications that create awesome videos, we really want – for us, when we’re promoting the video – to say that it came from the community. We want to say, “Hey, this is an Xbox gamer who loves Xbox enough to create a video.” […]
Q: Is there any process or coaching that happens for gamers who receive a video removal or down-votes on their content?
A: Yeah, right now, if a video is removed, the [Ambassador] receives a notification on the site that it was removed with a link to the FAQ, to basically say, “Your video was removed, and this is probably why.” […]
Q: Do you have any tips or advice to give to community members who might be feeling discouraged or like they’re not good enough to submit to the Video Gallery?
A: Y’know, I’m, generally speaking, a self-deprecating person, so I 100% understand that feeling. But I’d say just go for it – there’s really no harm, I think. […] Whenever you’re thinking about submitting a video, think about, “Will this video help me? Can I get something out of this video if I wasn’t sure about this [support] process?” […]
The Video Gallery was made from the idea that videos are an amazing tool for getting a message across, whether that be showing gameplay or [helping a gamer].
Inclusion is our game. Don’t be discouraged, do what you can, and submit your videos! You get XP for it. And remember that even if it gets removed, that you can learn from it, and we have a cool FAQ that talks about what we’re looking for.