Racing commentary, finding the balance
I for one absolutely dispise doing commentary. It is without a doubt the thing I hate doing with my races, but I felt it was needed during tournaments. I also hate my voice and southern accent because being a southerner, I have been made fun of all of my life for the accent, so I'm very self conscious about. I take the pitch up ever so slightly with my coms, but I also try and make them feel as loose and real as possible. I will usually film a race a week or two before I come back and do the com and I by then I have forgotten who won and what happenedin that race. So what you hear is pretty close to being a live commentary. When I get excited, that’s real. I have had a few folks comment that they can’t stand the commentary, which I was expecting, but I have had more people tell me they love it. In fact, I do some quick grudge races here and there without com, and the biggest complaint is where is Randy T. Rothmeyer's commentary. I try to remind myself, you cant please everyone, so you shouldn't even try. If I get one positive comment, it weighs more than 10 negative comments. So my advice is, just find your groove, and go with it. ????
- All true about the feedback. Don't even try to make everyone happy. Do what makes you happy and makes it enjoyable for you. And if someone leaves because they don't like it, so what? Unless you live and die by subs, it's not a big deal. — redlinederby
- And good idea about doing the recording and putting it on the shelf to get some more "live" commentary. If you have the luxury of timeline to do that, it's a great technique. — redlinederby
- A southern accent just means it sounds like a "good ol' boys" racing network, which is perfectly fine by me. — SpyDude
- personally , and in my view EVERY ONE of the DIRS commentates so far has done an excellent and individual job whether that's John Tran, Robert Manore or you Myke , i know exactly what you mean about hating your voice, you'll have hear the expression "he's got a face for Radio" well i take that to the next level , i have a Voice for Mime! — CapperDeluxe
It's amazing how far this has come since I first joined RLD. It doesn't seem that long ago when a race was held at 6 or 7 tracks across the country and the commentary was in print. That would take me quite a while to do. Notes were made while racing and then I'd do my best to describe each race and the outcome. We'd also post pics of the 2 cars about to race so there was some work involved.
Then came the videos. I stopped holding races as I didn't really have the equipment, the time, or the desire to be honest. It was great watching the races though versus reading about them.
More often than not today the videos are accompanied by commentary. And while I appreciate the effort, time, and passion put into making these videos, I don't watch most of them. I would love to because I love the racing, I just don't have the time to sit and watch them, especially when each run is then done again in slow motion describing the action. I'm not asking anyone to change nor am I being critical. I just wanted to give my thoughts on racing commentary.
- Indeed, the "good old days" were when I could run a race and report results without video. Video was a treat to get! Now it's the standard and I think that discourages a lot and for those that try it, they give up after they realize the time requirement. — redlinederby
When I was tuning my track, the playback speed was one of the first things I looked at when the track portion (not diorama) was finished. I played with several speeds, but 60% on screen looked the best for speed and resolution based on my equipment. My very first video I tried to "script" commentary as a voiceover, and the race was just too fast for the sentences I had written out. So rather than change my playback speed to my commentary, I just started doing Facebook live commentary over pre-recorded races that remained at 60% playback. I also changed the speed of my digital timer to 60% as well so race speed would match actual video playing speed.
If I flub the words while doing commentary live, I didn't care because it makes for some funny callbacks later, as well as humor to the viewers in the live Facebook chat. They enjoy poking fun at me, and that's okay. Also, it was important to me that the viewers see my face during the race. Not because I'm vane, but because I remember watching the live action Speed Racer movie, and I recall just seeing all the different announcers in the final race so animated and excited. It was contageous and carried over to my enjoyment to watch the movie. So I took that idea and carried it over to my races. I truly believe my excitement is contageous to those watching, as mentioned by CapperDeluxe previously.
Now also in the beginning, I didn't know how many replays to include. I put way too many replays of replays at varying speeds into the videos. So it caused me to talk a lot more. And there were comments on my videos of viewers noticing it too. And I would like to say that the viewers of my channel have all been very civil and nice. So I truly looked into their comments. I cut my replays in half, which in turn reduced my commentary. And at first I thought two full races of 4 cars each was the magic number as was with the DIRS videos, but I still felt I talked too much. So now I only do replays if it actually affected the outcome of the race and no more than 2 replays per incident. And if there are 2 replays, they are from different angles or different speeds/zoom. I can now produce 3 full races into a single video and it was important that the video time for 3 races was no longer than that of 2 races. I think I have accomplished that well with the current muscle car tournament, and my commentary has also become much, much shorter because there is less time in the final video to actually talk. You cannot ramble on if the film time isn't there.
Lastly, as Myke mentioned above, you cannot please everyone. One viewer commented that it too too long to get the the racing portion. So I actually went and looked at 3d, Chaos canyon, and other videos to actually take note of the time it takes to get to racing. What I discovered is that the majority of the larger channels get to the racing at the 1-minute or less mark. I tried hard to mimic this, but could only get it down to 2 minutes. So as a compromise, I now incorporate chapters into my videos to mark driver introductions, races, etc. So any viewer can just jump to the chapter they want to. No need to wait through the welcome or driver introductions; just jump straight to the racing. You can see the chapter breaks in the screenshot below...
As a side note, I do video production and voiceovers for my job. So this is the largest reason why I feel comfortable behind the mic and in front of a camera. One of my friends actually asked me just last week how many times I watch one of my pre-recorded races and memorize the footage in order to know what to say live. My answer to him was that I edit the video. Render it out, and then watch it once to find any errors in production, such as transitions, color correction etc. Once good to go, I don't watch it again until race night, which can be 2-4 days later. So when people actually see and hear my reactions, it is for the most part genuine because I have forgotten what actually did happen during the editing process because I already started filming the next race for the following week.
I do want to leave other content creators one word of advice, and I feel it applies to everyone that does (or wants to do) commentary and it is very simple... just smile during your commentary. Listeners/viewers can totally tell if you are smiling or not, which can impact your audience. You can tell when someone is just reading a script without emotion versus happy to be there. If you sound like Ben Stine in those old Visine commercials, why should a viewer get excited about your video if the commentary doesn't sound like you are actually enjoying yourself?
- Good stuff. I think a big key for you is that video production is your day job and you enjoy it. It's a skill you already had and you made diecast racing fit that skill. That's a huge advantage that is serving you very well. — redlinederby
- Thank you for the kind words, Brian. — Kaiju_Colorado
- great comment , a smile can totally be heard, i've done a lot of work with blind and visually impaired folks ( teaching them how to use computers and ipads etc) and from awareness training (not to mention darkroom work when I was a photo-journalist) that removes the sight of sighted folks you totally can, much as you can get hints and a feeling in text (those of you old enough to have been around on IRC will know what i mean) and as i said everyone doing the DIRS really enjoys it ( at least so far) everyone is an enthusiast and that enthusiasm carries over to us the viewers — CapperDeluxe
- Yeah man, enjoyment is contagious. If you're having fun, everyone else sees/hears that fun and goes along with it. That's the catch though too, figuring out how to make something fun (editing) when every bone in your body tells you it's not ;P — redlinederby
- Thanks for sharing, you certainly put in a big effort. Cheers — CutRock_R_Marc_D
- Thanks, Marc D! — Kaiju_Colorado
- Much love buddy, doing a hella good job! — Commotion_Diecast
I find if I can watch the race and almost forget they aren't real cars driven by real people they have fully succeeded.
I was excited to find out Gab Formoso wasn't dead (3D) and I always cheer for Grandma (Chaos Canyon).
I think commentary is critical for me otherwise it's just playing with toy cars.
I am just starting out. And am probably the last person to give advice. I only have like 27 followers. I will tell you what I do though. I record my races and play them back at x. 7 speed and do the commentary as I watch it back for the first time. Then my replays are done at .5 speed and I can add in as needed. I don't know what people think of my videos or how I do things. I have asked for feedback and help but have not got much. I basically do commentary and got into this for my friends. We watched 3D and then Chaos Cannon, And others. All my friends wanted to buy cars and run them. But no one had time or space to do a track. So I did it. Placed videos on YouTube with commentary so friends could watch as they wished. I am finding out the more people that follow the more fun I am having.
Been following this topic since it came out and wanted to leave a little comment myself.
When we first started our race team (Commotion Diecast) it was all about getting some buddies together, having a cold brew and racing our stock diecast cars down my 6 lane, 18' drag strip. We had no clue about 3D, much less how big the world of diecast racing really was! It was 5-7 guys every Wednesday night, betting quarters on a race! As we evolved, we started modding our cars and wanted to do more of a road style race, thus Death Mountain Speedway was born. I wanted to share our racing with the world, and YouTube seemed to be the only real way to make that happen.
I created the Commotion Diecast YouTube page and started filming our somewhat primitive races. To me, it needed to capture the race culture itself that I grew up in here in southwest Virginia. As a young adult, we would go out every weekend looking for a good street race. We'd talk our crap, race and move on. Capturing our somewhat comical hustle was what drove me to do commentary the way I do over at Commotion. I used to talk just like Ol Dalevis Jenkins, Jr at our actual street races to either root someone on, or pick at em until they raced!
To us, it's all about the team and having fun. We run Death Valley Speedway, our new track at approx 70% speed. This allows the flow to feel real and time to actually see what in the world is happening! And commentary, I just have fun and run it all freestyle...not scripted. It's all for a good laugh, and to see some good racing while having a chuckle.
Thanks to all, appreciate the love and support!
- You can tell it isn’t scripted and you’re just naturally funny. You have a talent for it. — BlueLineRacing
- Yep, sure sounds like you are having a good time, and sharing it. Cheers — CutRock_R_Marc_D
- Thank ya guys, means a lot to have the support of this awesome community! — Commotion_Diecast
- I'm so glad you guys opened up your race club to the greater diecast community! The production is excellent and just so dang entertaining! Keep up the good work! — G4DiecastRacing
- And thank you, Chad! Great builder, great cars brother! — Commotion_Diecast
- Ya just found you guys yesterday. Even messaged you on Facebook. You can tell you are having fun. This hobby and what you do is what it's all about. Just have fun. I am having a blast. I am adding to my production as much and as fast as I can. But watching you and reading your comment reminds me I am not in this to be a big boy and make money. I am in it for the fun. And for my friends. And who ever else likes it or enjoys it is just a bonus. — RicksDiecastRacing
- That’s what it’s all about bro! We love seeing growth and adding to this fun community, it literally makes us excited to build more! Enjoy this guys! — Commotion_Diecast
I'm new at this but I do like the videos with commentary over those dubbed with background music. Although both have good racing action and production. The commentary brings a more realistic element to the races. The Skyway, next level commentary and Chaos Canyon, spot on and hilarious 2 of my favs cause their commentary is adreneline pumping and superbly done.
As I said I'm new at all this, and I'm not very good at the commentary like some are. I'm trying to get races uploaded for viewing but it's a process as we all know. I do my races in 3 parts. I record the races then go to editing piecing together the groups and heats/rounds. What the camera captures is what the viewers will see. Which is very evident in 1 of my videos the racers knock a camera over then crash into it. Part 3 in editing, once the races are together, I add the commentary as I watch the races take place. I try to stick to just the racing action and a rare occasion I'll mention a bit of driver history or profile, but not to where it over runs the action on the track.
I definitely do not edit to suit the commentary. You can hear me grasping for words in my videos. But it's hella fun to see the final product. I have a ways to go, still fighting the blurs and bad lighting. Hoping it all improves as time passes.
"Keep your roof to the Sun".
- Yes, I have always like some commentary, related to the racing. Not the Bold & Beautiful stuff, bet each to their own. Sometimes when I am watching racing with just music, one is left scratching the head as to what is going on, and who is who. Cheers — CutRock_R_Marc_D
My process has kind of evolved naturally over the last 2 years. I found out pretty quick that it was far too difficult to ad lib the commentary while just watching the video I built and recording. These days I'll build the rough outline of the video, dropping all the primary action and scoreboards. I'll edit the color at this point. Then I go back and write the commentary, cutting and adding replays. I record the audio and drop it in the video, cutting and moving both to get it all to make sense. One big difference for me, I think, is that my channel really minimizes replays compared to a lot of other folks.
If anyone has heard mine I kinda just babble on nonsense lol .... I chop all the start and ending on the races where I'm wobbling the camera a bit and then the end after the race put it together then do commentry first time watching it back so it's like a new thing I haven't seen before as when I'm recording I can't really remember who what where
First, I wanna thank all of you who commented with your little piece of information now i have a lot of information. I personally really like 3dbotmaker's approach with all the backstory and arguments. I also really appreciate the real racing approach with all the techy talk with the strategy talk. How he could do this how he can recover, all that stuff.
one of the most interesting approaches is Kaiju Colerado's the way rubber tow films his races then does a live watch-through with commentary live on facebook is a great and unique way of doing it his excitement is infectious , chaos canyon too is excellent at it , both focussing on the cars during the racing but throwing in enough worldy things to give it a sense of reality , josh paufler's voiceover on the friday night food fights is excellent with his different characters and how he stays in character deserves full props , Gravity throttle though new is making a great entry again focussing on the cars performance though "are you tracking" every time nips a little , not that i'm qualified to give an opinion , they are far braver than i am doing it at all, and everyone that's done the DIRS so far this year has been superb capturing the excitement like some latter day murray walker