What are you watching?
With so many of us at least temporarily unemployed and sheltering at home, we suddenly have time on our hands to do things we could never find the time to do while we were working. For some, that’s cleaning and organizing. For others, it’s gardening and landscaping around their home. For me, it’s working on my websites, podcasts, and writing. But for probably most of us, it involves a lot of binge-watching — movies, TV shows, news channels, on-demand content of all kinds — and YouTube.
Five hundred hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. Even a cat with nine lives couldn’t watch everything that’s there. There are more than 31 million YouTube channels (compared to only one million podcasters). The barrier to entry is low: if you have a smartphone with video recording capabilities, which includes pretty much every smartphone these days, you’re all set. Most recent cameras of all kinds and sizes also have built-in video capability.
Most content on YouTube is available free of charge as long as you don’t mind watching at least part of a commercial. You’re guaranteed to find a selection of videos in nearly any topic you can imagine. Some are merely entertaining. Many are historical, and even more are educational.
For example, a friend’s clothes dryer broke this week; a quick search on YouTube for the exact model he had found a video that showed him how to take it apart and repair it with just basic tools he already had, along with one part he bought at one of the local big box home stores. For just a few dollars he saved at least a hundred dollars or more to have someone else repair it, and he didn’t have to wait — he had it working again the same day.
I’ve been watching a ton of educational videos. For my photographic art, I’ve been watching video tutorials on Lightroom and Photoshop — two very powerful Adobe apps I use almost every day. For my podcasting, I watch tutorials on another Adobe app I use for audio editing, Audition. This week I found some helpful videos on Ulysses, my favorite writing app, with some excellent guidance useful for a couple of books I’m working on. Even when I’m watching a tutorial about an app I’m already familiar with, which includes all the ones I just mentioned, I’ll inevitably find several new tips or shortcuts or workflows I hadn’t come across before.
Many companies, consultants, and educators are taking advantage of the current climate and offering all kinds of online courses either for free or at greatly discounted rates. Sue Bryce, a well-known portrait photographer and educator, for instance, made her whole portfolio of hundreds of videos available to watch at no charge last week. Two weeks ago I was a participant in the first-ever Photoshop Virtual Summit — 30 photographer/educators offering a total of 40 hours of training over five days. It was free to participants if you watched the videos within 48 hours of the day each was posted; for long term access, you could purchase a ticket for $150 to watch anytime in the future. It was a challenge to keep up, but I managed to watch all 40 hours of training before the free access expired, and I found it highly worthwhile.
Back to YouTube for a minute … some of the other things Susan and I have been enjoying include odd videos like car and bus crash compilations (do you have any idea how bad drivers are in Russia?!!), British comedy (Sarah Millican is one of our favorites but you might find her a little crude), and various compilations of funniest home videos. She also follows several thrift store and garage sale shoppers who sell products on eBay, and several Mennonite moms who vlog regularly about their daily life. We also enjoy tiny house tours (can we downsize any more?), schoolies (converted school buses), and motor home tours. So much to watch and so little time. We don’t have time to go back to work!
What do you watch? List some of your favorites in the comments below. Comments are open for 21 days after this entry has been posted.