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This is a great day for YouTubers, and a long time coming, at that. YouTube has finally unlocked the 15 minute video cap… with a catch. As long as your YouTube channel has NO strikes against it, meaning you haven’t been caught uploading any copyrighted material, you’re free to upload videos at any length with file sizes of up to 20GB! Previously, this feature was only available to members of the YouTube partner program, which allows select few users to display ads and monetize off their video views. If you haven’t gotten the message yet, give it time. YouTube is slowly rolling out this new feature, and hasn’t really officially announced it yet.

I noticed this message on the upload page of both my short film and daily vlog accounts today, and I’m ecstatic! A big problem with many of my vlogs is that I had to struggle to keep them under 15 minutes, without cutting out anything important and fun. Now, if my video is longer, even by just a few seconds, I have no need to worry!

I recently came across a video of a CNN news broadcast in which they talk about how you can use YouTube to make a living. The title of this video is “Quit your day job and make a living off YouTube.”. They interviewed a couple successful youtubers, including the amazing Joe Penna (aka MysteryGuitarMan) and asked them to tell their secrets to success, and let me tell you something: It’s still a secret. If it wasn’t, everybody would be doing it.

The CNN report misses the whole point of YouTube. The CNN seems to think that YouTube is some get rich quick scheme, and that making a living off YouTube ad revenue is easy, fast and anyone with a bit of talent and a video camera can simply upload a few videos and make enough money to sustain themselves. None of this is true.

Of the millions of YouTube users out there, a tiny fraction of them are able to make any money off their videos. Of that small group, a microscopic number of them are able to make enough money to “quit their day job”. Off the top of my head, I can only name Philip DeFranco, Toby Turner, Joe Penna, and Cory Williams. The list isn’t very long.

The second false promise of CNN is that making yourself a YouTube money-making sensation is easy. Wrong. For example, Joe Penna says he works an 80 HOUR WORK WEEK to produce 2 videos. He’ll spend 12 hours a day or more just on EDITING. If you follow him on Twitter, you’ll certainly know the pain, stress and lost hours of sleep he has to go through to bring his next video creation to the world. This certainly does not sound like a piece of cake to me.

One thing this reporter mentioned is the idea of YouTube being “only in America”. Only in America? YouTube is a worldwide community. There are users from every country under the sun uploading great videos to the site. Also, as far as I know, the Adsense and partner programs are not limited to Americans.

Mainstream media treats YouTube like it’s some new fangled invention; like it’s some sort of secret club. For a lot of people  (like Joe Penna who makes a living off it) YouTube is a large part of their lives, especially for entertainment. Mainstream media doesn’t realize that YouTube is a community. It’s a social network like Twitter or Facebook, except instead of exchanging text we exchange videos. Most users don’t go there to get rich and famous. They go there to find like-minded people who share their interests and passions, and connect with them. YouTube is about having fun!

I’ve embedded a video below where I talk about these same points. I don’t like how mainstream media is misrepresenting YouTube. Please share this with as many people as you can, because I believe this is an issue that everyone should know about.

Anatomy of a Tech Junkie is a concept for a web series I’ve had floating around in my cranium for the past two years. Over the summer, I took a documentary filmmaking course, in which we were required to complete a short, 10 minute documentary. I decided this concept would fit, and after years of development, my idea finally came into fruition.

This “mocumentary” follows a group of tech geeks and zealous Apple fanboys (starring your’s truly) in their quest for Apple’s latest gadget, the iPad. It is a commentary on geek culture and on the absurdity of the sometimes zealous Apple community.

Only a month after Nikon’s D3100 announcement, their first DSLR with 1080p video, they have now announced the D7000, a more professional HDSLR placed between the D90 and D300s. If you saw my last post on the D3100, I wasn’t exactly favourable towards it, being a low-end consumer model and all. I was upset at what it lacked, but knew it was only a matter of time before a professional camera with 1080p video is announced, and, well, the time is now. Introducing the D7000. T2i, eat your heart out. 7D, watch out!

The Nikon D7000 packs a 16.2 megapixel CMOS DX sensor, an ISO range of 100-6400 (expandable to 25600), a 39 point continuos autofocus system, 6fps burst mode, a magnesium alloy body, bays for duel SDXC cards, a stereo microphone input, and most importantly, 1080p video.

In many ways, the D7000 is far superior to the D300s. The megapixel count is higher, it has higher res video (1080p vs 720p on the D300s), the autofocus system is faster, and the body is slightly smaller and lighter (which is better in my opinion, as it is better for run-and-gun video and traveling).

All these features are, of course, lightyears ahead of the D3100. The AVCHD compression has been dropped in favour of H.264/MPEG-4 .mov files, they’ve added a stereo mic input, the body is more durable, and you can record up to 20 minutes of video, which is much higher than any of the Cannons or Nikons.

The D7000 is still lacking some features we have been asking for, though. You’re still limited to 24p at 1080p resolution. It’s not that much of a problem for me personally, though. 24p is good for the film look, which is what I’m going for, but consumers want 30p and 60p, and some professionals would want the higher framerates for sports and slow motion videography. Also, it looks like you’re still limited to a 20mbps bitrate, but honestly, when I think about it, when you’re someone like me who produces video straight for the web, having a bitrate higher than that doesn’t really matter.

Despite these two shortcomings, all the other professional features more than make up for them. This is the Nikon HDSLR that I’ve been waiting for!

A short time ago, Nikon announced it’s contender to the Canon T2i and first entry into the 1080 HDSLR market: The D3100. Like the T2i, it’s aimed at the consumer market, to beginners who are new to DSLRs, at a price of $699.95 US. It has a 14.2 megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor, continuous 11-point autofocus (a first for ANY DSLR), an ISO range of 100-1320 and blah blah blah. What really matters about this camera is that it can shoot 1920 x 1080 progressive video at 24fps, along with 720p @ 24/30fps.

This is the first Nikon HDSLR to shoot 1080p video, the first HDSLR (or DSLR in general) to have continuous autofocus, like a proper video camera, all at a lower price than the T2i. This is a big deal for Nikon, and a big deal for the HDSLR market. Well, it is on the surface, anyway.

Unfortunately, upon closer inspection, the D3100 doesn’t quite meet the high standard of perfection that I and other similar-minded videophiles are looking for. In a pitch, it sounds like a good match to the T2i, but in reality is only 3/4 of what the T2i is. Come on Nikon, if you’re going to release a camera that directly competes with another, could you at least match the specs of that camera?

First and foremost, the D3100 doesn’t have any audio input to speak of. HDSLRs are notorious for having shit quality mono audio, but at least most of them make up for that by adding an audio jack. Even the T2i at the low end of the spectrum has one. The D3100 does not. This alone is a deal breaker for me, among other things.

When recording 1080p video, you are limited to 24fps. While this is good for the cinematic look professional DPs are looking for, many of the consumers that this camera is aimed for will dislike the lack of 30p. Even for pros, the higher framerate is essential for sports and slowmotion videography. At least the T2i offers 1080/30p.

Another major flaw is the use of AVCHD compression. Sure, it’s wrapped in an H.264 container, but don’t be fooled. AVCHD IS CRAP. If you see AVCHD on any camera, AVOID AT ALL COSTS. It is an ugly, inefficient, HIGHLY compressed codec. Essential detail is lost, colours are either too flat or look too artificial, and some editing suites, especially on the consumer level, don’t work with this codec. Not only that, but I’ve read that the video bitrate is a meagre 20mbps, less than half the T2i, at 40-48mbps.

Those three flaws are major deal breakers for me. When I heard about this camera, I was literally jumping for joy. “FINALLY!” I said. Finally, a proper Nikon HDSLR! For the longest time, I was considering a T2i or even the 7D, but the cost of having to buy new lenses and equipment held me back. I already have a collection of amazing Nikon lenses and tons of Nikon accessories. That, and I prefer the look, feel and functionality of Nikon DSLRs. I need a Nikon HDSLR. I thought the D3100 was that camera, but sadly isn’t quite there. Maybe I’m expecting too much from it. After all, it is a consumer DSLR, and to its credit, it is a great camera, for that level. I guess it’s only a matter of time before Nikon announces a more professional HDSLR…

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