How to Make a Let’s Play: Pre-Flight Checklist!

Thanks for the feedback, ZeMind fans!

Some of you have inquired as to the more granular details on how we make our videos, so here’s a quick checklist of all the things we do before a video gets set up.

In the order of we do them, here’s the pre-flight checklist, step by step:

1. Install your game
Or, if you have already installed it, make sure you’ve got the most recent version! This is especially important if you’ve got a guest coming for your video. No one likes waiting for a progress bar.

2. Controller/Headset Check
Is your volume up? Do your controllers work? Are they mapped to the right keys? Now that you’ve installed your game, go over the control settings and button maps in the game’s layout. Do it now, or prepare to regret your poorly formulated strategy as you mis-click all over your screen in a futile attempt to ‘Git Gud’. Don’t know how to ‘Git Gud’? Your YouTube comments will surely remind you.

Seriously though, plug those headsets in and adjust the volume- Nothing’s worse than background noise cluttering up your vocal track. Often times your microphone will pick up the game audio coming through your computer’s speakers, creating a sound loop wherein your voice audio contains game audio. This is a HUGE pain to remove.

3. Intro/Outro writing and relevant information gathering
Get yo’ shout-outs writ! This is an often overlooked chunk of planning. Do you have anyone you want to thank? Sponsors that need mentioning? People you’d like to collaborate with? Write them down, have them in front of you. If you don’t, prepare to enter the land of misfit takes, where all but your worst attempts at shout-outs will be kept.

We’re also big fans of Philip Defranco.

4. Test record your audio
10 seconds, each microphone. Play it back, and make sure you don’t sound like Bane. Try and sit your levels at a somewhat consistent place, somewhere between -6 and -12 DBs, as this requires the least amount of work to edit. As an aside, you want your microphones in an out-of-the-way place where the distance between them microphones and your mouth(s) doesn’t really change. This stops you from having massive, blown out sound during the more exciting parts of your video. It’s alright to get a little loud and excited, but being loud and excited next to a microphone means your sound will be a complete and utter mess.

5. Test record your video
10 seconds, all sources (gameplay and face cam). Play it all back, and make sure you don’t look like Bane. Make sure your seating arrangements aren’t too far from the camera or sound equipment, as this will result in you having to modify the audio in the editing process, and raising the volume/gain of an audio track is a surefire way to get hisses and random background noise stuck in your video.

And finally, go out there and play your game. So far in this series we’ve covered the hardware and software, and now we’re covering the procedures themselves. If you want more from us, check out our other social media accounts and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more from ZeMind Games!

-Charlie Ze Intern



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