Making EVE Online Videos For Dummies: A GuideNiden
Have you ever wanted to make EVE PvP videos and share those awesome moments with everyone? Do you keep finding yourself asking “Did someone record that” on TS after a brutal fleet fight? Maybe you want to show everyone how bad you actually are at solo PvP? Well, you can do it and this article is for you.
After having forced myself into the business of making EVE videos by virtue of pigheaded stubbornness rather than talent, I found myself becoming “the video guy”. I keep getting asked questions on how it’s done by EVE players looking to get into the sweet art of karma whoring on Reddit and selling out to YouTube, so, here it is. I’ll walk you through what you need to get started and we’ll look at some of my material for reference.
What you’ll need
Video capture software – For NVIDIA cards, use Shadowplay. For Radeon cards, use ReLive (this is what I use). Both run smoothly and should (if everything is working properly) not have a huge impact on your system. There are other options, like OBS, but I’ve not used those personally. Just steer clear of Fraps, it’s garbage.
Video editing software – By far the best suited and most common software I’ve seen is Adobe Premiere. It’s quite easy to learn, especially if you know what you want and aren’t doing anything super complicated. However, it does cost money (#nopoors). If you’re not comfortable with coughing up a bit of dough for your video editing needs, don’t worry, there are plenty of free alternatives for losers like you. I’m far too lazy to look them up for you, just Google “Adobe Premiere free alternatives” and you’ll find a million articles on the subject. The principles are the same even if you use another program.
Hard drive space – This is essential for recording, video takes up quite a bit of space. A large fight that takes an hour or so could easily eat up 5GB, and you’ll be recording a lot of stuff that you never use. If you just have an SSD you might be tight on space and forced to clean up all the time. The way I solved it was to get a cheap (and they really are cheap) regular SATA drive with 1TB of space, that way, I don’t really have to think about it and can record lots of material to source from.
A Google account – Assuming you want to publish on YouTube (hint: you do). Every Google account automatically has a YouTube account and you can start publishing without much hassle.
Optional, but highly recommended: Photoshop or similar.
Set up your recording software to capture at least 25 FPS. Next, you’ll want to assign the record button to a hotkey that doesn’t conflict with your EVE hotkeys. When you’re good to go, do some test recordings just to make sure everything looks good.
Make sure your capturing software is recording system sound, in most cases you’ll want to get the TS/Mumble comms in there in case there’s something useful, fun, or interesting being said that isn’t opsec and can be used to spice up the video. Speaking of sound, check the “limit active sounds” option in EVE, or switch it off entirely – in fleet fights, the obscene amount of sound sources is a major performance sink and it usually offers no value to your video.
When your software is configured and ready to rock ‘n’ roll, you’ll want to go over your ingame interface. Remember, if things go well, thousands of nerds will be looking at your footage and you want an in-game interface that’s both useful to you, but now also looks decent for your viewers. No one wants to look at a bunch of spreadsheets all over the screen, a cluttered and messy UI not only looks shit but is going to send people to the downvotes before they leave your video. Make sure the center of the screen is clear and try to get some nice uniform lines going between the various UI windows.
Here’s an example of a decent UI:
This what NOT to do:
Make sure that any opsec areas of your UI are in places where you won’t need to move them. You’ll want to blur or cover over those later and making yourself a bunch of extra work by moving them or resizing them mid-fight is just dumb.
Lights, camera, action!
So, the time has come, you’re about to head into the thick of it and have hit the record button. Now you just play the game like normal, right? Nope. Not if you want your videos to be any good and not look like the absolute garbage so many other wankers out there post.
To start off, it’s a good idea to record some material on your fleet close up. Get some good angles in as you’re jumping or warping to the fight, maybe even capture as you undock or wait on a titan. You want to give the viewer a concrete look at what you’re flying and set the mood for the upcoming fight, like the walk-ins of boxers.
Here’s a good example of getting that initial close-up shot:
Dynamic, responsive and creative camera work
Dynamic, responsive and creative camera work is what sets decent EVE videos apart from a waste of time and bandwidth. At least trying to do it well will go a long way to making your videos stand out.
When the fight is joined and as new entities join in, you’ll naturally want to zoom out and show the layout of the battle so the viewer gets a sense of the field and the fleets that are on it. Try to remember to pan and rotate around a bit to give some depth to it.
As the fight goes on, you’ll want to alternate between wide shots that show the movement of fleets with closer shots that focus on interesting events on the battlefield, showing off the wonderfully designed ships and their explosions (thankfully, these look ridiculously amazing now, thanks again CCP graphics team). Theoretically, the tactical camera should be ideal, but in my experience this is seldom the case. Panning and moving the camera around looks jerky and annoying. The good old orbital camera will give you nice smooth shots on the other hand. When you are able, it might even be a good idea to use the “look at” option on another ship in order to get some nice angles on the fight.
There’s nothing more boring that a static, zoomed out camera on an EVE fleet fight. Other games may not require it, but EVE takes some pretty active camera work in order to work as anything other than utterly sub-par video content. There are plenty of those betas out there, don’t be one of them.
Here’s an example of active camera work:
Now that you have a fight recorded, it’s time to get to work. Any nerd can just add some shitty trap song to their recording in order to produce utter garbage that should be banned from the internet for wasting space, and then put it out there. If this is you then you don’t need to read the rest of this article.
First, you’ll want to find some good music to put in your video. Even if you’re using the entire comms recording, you’ll want some music in there to keep things popping. There are generally four ways to get music for your video: use copyrighted material that is monetized by the copyright owner, use copyright-free music, use royalty-free music, or make your own.
Back in the day, using copyrighted music in your videos was always a big no-no. Nowadays, many copyright owners will let you use their music in your videos, but as soon as you upload it, YouTube will recognize it and monetize (adverts) the video so the artist (one hopes) makes some money from their work being used. If you’re fine with this, all you need to do is check if you’re allowed to use the song or songs in your videos. You do this in the YouTube studio.
Go to your YouTube channel, hit your profile picture in the top right, and select “studio”. Then click “create” in the studio menu on the left. Here you can search for the artist or song you want to use and see which policy it has applied. Once you find the song you’re looking for, just hit the drop-down in order to see policies.
However, if you want to keep your video ad-free or monetize it yourself, things get a bit trickier. While there’s plenty of copyright-free music out there, most of it is utter and complete garbage only fit for cruel and unusual torture. You’ll have to wade through a lot of this in order to find the good tracks.
The best way to find copyright free music is actually YouTube itself. Just go to YouTube and search for “copyright free music”, then get ready to sit there for an hour wading through mind-numbing crap before you find something that won’t make you want to kill someone. If you intend to monetize your video, make sure you don’t pick a track that’s royalty free – that just means you’re allowed to use it, but have to buy a license to monetize it.
Here are a few handy links for non-copyright music:
No Copyright Sounds
Royalty Free Music
Note: if you find a track that you’re allowed to use on YouTube, the easiest way to get it into your project is to use an online YouTube-to-MP3 converter. There are plenty of them, but the one I use is this: http://convert2mp3.net/en/
YouTube also has its own library of free-to-use music but all of it complete trash. Don’t even consider it.
SoundCloud has a lot of it and it’s easy to find using their search filter and setting it to Creative Commons, then making sure that the track has monetization allowed of that’s what you intend. However, there are plenty of tracks released on SoundCloud as CC that YouTube will consider copyrighted – make sure you’re on the right side of things before using anything.
Something to bear in mind before deciding on the monetization route is that you’ll most likely never make anything more than peanuts on your EVE videos, and to even do that you have to qualify and apply for the YouTube Creative Partner program (more on this later). It’s a bit of a fun incentive to put in the work, but nothing more. Thankfully (and smartly) CCP do allow it however, so why not?
Intro and images
The very start of the video is a good chance for you to promote your corp or alliance, or yourself. A bit of branding if you will. It also makes the video look a lot more professional (unless your intro is max cringe like some I’ve seen out there). You can make your own intro, but if you’re in an established group, chances are someone has already made a decent one.
Making your own intro (like this one I made for Snuff) is its own thing that can get quite advanced and we won’t go into it here, but if you want to keep it simple just make an image or images of what you want to promote and use them as stills at the start of your video.
Next, you might want to source images to place as statics in the video itself in order to give it some panache and lessen the spreadsheets-in-space-factor. Blurred out opsec sections of the UI are ideal for this since it’s more or less wasted real estate otherwise. To get an idea of what you need, open your recording, take a still image with print screen, then put it into Photoshop or some other image editing software. You can then see how your images will fit into the layout and be able to size and crop them accordingly. You can either create the various elements separately, or a complete screen at full resolution. Either way, you’ll want to use PNG images with transparency.
Good editing takes some technical know-how and a good sense of composition, but it’s well worth the effort
Now that you have all the building blocks you need to create your video, it’s time to start editing. Good editing takes some technical know-how and a good sense of composition, but it’s well worth the effort and separates the wheat from the chaff. We’ll look at this from an Adobe Premiere perspective, but the concepts should be the same for any serious video editing software.
Start by creating a new project and adding all the resources you’ve created for your video (captured video, intro, images, music etc.). In Adobe Premiere, that’s in the bottom left of your screen and should look something like this:
The bottom right of your screen has the timeline. This is your main tool for the composition of your video. Basically speaking, you move assets from the project resources pane, drop them into the timeline tracks and then arrange them in the order you want them shown. The timeline is divided into tracks (much like audio editing software) and the topmost track that has content in it is what the viewer will see. As you add content, you’ll generally want to create a new track for each type of content to run in. There are two types of basic tracks: video and audio. As you run out of the initial tracks the project starts with, you’ll need to create new ones. Do this by right-clicking in the layer portion of the pane and selecting “Add tracks”.
Normally, you’d start by dropping in your intro/intros into a video track. To make life easier, make sure the first thing you drop into the timeline is at the resolution you want the video to be at, this sets the project to that resolution and makes your life easier (my videos are 1920×1080 for instance, exactly the size of the video capture). If it’s a still image, you will want to adjust how long it’s on the screen for by simply resizing the bar in the track for it. Now, drag and drop your main video into a video track and your music onto an audio track. Of course, you can just play the same music over again so it covers all of your video and just cut at whenever the video ends, but that’s pretty lazy and poor craftsmanship. Which brings us to speeding up your video, but first: once you’ve dropped your video into the timeline, crop off the unwanted material at the beginning and end. Simply hold the mouse pointer over the end you want to crop and pull.
no one is going to sit there and watch 45 minutes of ships slowly moving across the screen
Any serious fleet fight is going to last a long ass time and no one is going to sit there and watch 45 minutes of ships slowly moving across the screen – it’s incredibly dull, especially if it’s in TiDi. You need to speed the video up, but do it with balance. Speed it up too much and it’s just going to look messy and it will be very difficult to follow the action. Don’t speed it up enough and you’re back to dull and have to cover a lot of time with good music.
It’s worth noting that the necessity to speed up fleet fights is the obvious reason you don’t get comms, unless you want everyone sounding like chipmunks on a bad batch of crack cocaine, not to mention that most serious outfits consider comms opsec. If something really cool is said that you want to include, you have to cut that out in separate chunks and place it throughout the video at normal time, but that’s a hassle and we won’t go over it here. For now, just right-click the video capture in the timeline, select “Unlink” to separate the audio out, then delete the audio in the timeline. However, if you’re some irrelevants no one gives a crap about and you want to show a quick fight in regular time, leave the comms in.
So, you’ve added your music and know roughly how much time you have to work with. Now you want to speed up the video so it’s about the same length as the music. I’ve found that for most fleet fights, two songs (3-4 minutes in length) often works best. In Premiere, click the video you want to speed up in the timeline, go to the top left corner of your screen and click into the “Effect controls” pane. From here, expand the “Time remapping” controls all the way, then pull the line for speed on the right upwards.
As you change the video speed, the bar that represents that video will shrink in the timeline. Adjust until it’s as close to the length of the music as possible, then play it to see if the speed is at a good level.
At this point, you want to add the static images we talked about earlier into the video. You can use these to cover over the opsec (if any) areas of your UI, or just pimp it up a bit, maybe with an alliance logo, some nice artwork, or whatever you want really. Create a new video track and drag them onto it, then stretch them out in their track on the timeline to be visible throughout the entire video after the intro. To place them or resize them, expand “Motion” in the “Effect controls” pane on the top left. Press and hold down your mouse button on the blue X and Y position numbers and just drag left or right, the same for size. If you want to get fancy, you can apply Fast Blur masks to opsec areas and use nicely cut out images (PNG with transparency) on top of them, but that falls out of the scope of this guide.
Now you have all the basic elements you need in place. Look through the entire thing and make adjustments to the length of things in the timeline.
At this point, you can start adding crossfades, change volume levels and do all kinds of fancy shit that I won’t get into here in this basic guide. Once you get going you’ll find these things on your own. Suffice to say that Premiere has a bunch of premade effects that are super easy to use – you just drag the effect and drop it on the resource in the timeline you want to use it on.
Once you’re happy with your video, it’s time to export it. Go to File->Export->Media. We won’t bother with learning all the possibilities here, just use this:
Obviously, you can increase the frame rate and bit rate if you want, but that will make an information rich video like EVE usually generates MASSIVE and will not only take forever to upload, but YouTube will compress the fuck out of it anyway. These settings are a good compromise between quality and size.
Change the output name to something that makes sense and hit export! This will take a while, that’s normal.
Uploading and Publishing
Once your video is done and you’ve made sure it’s up to par, it’s time to publish and share it with the world. Make sure you’re logged into your YouTube account, go to YouTube and hit the upload icon in the top right.
As your video is uploading, you’ll be able to write a title and description for it. It’s well worth putting in some thought into it, you want it to show up when people search YouTube for EVE videos. YouTube is, after all, the world’s second largest search engine. Your title should be descriptive and make people want to check it out, but not too verbose. Spend some time with your description text, and make sure to use keywords like “EVE Online”, “PvP” and such. Just ask yourself what you’d put in the search bar of YouTube if you were looking for your type of video, then make sure you mention those words in your title and description.
Many viewers like it when you tell them what the music in the video is, and some artists allow you to use their music only if you mention them in the description text and link to their shit.
Initially, you will not be able to monetize your videos. This is reserved for YouTube Creative Partners. That basically means you have to have over 1000 subscribers and at least 4000 viewed minutes in the past 12 months. However, if you are starting out and intend to try monetization once you make partner, it’s worth making sure you’re following all the rules to be able to do so already. There is plenty of documentation on what guidelines you need to follow in order to be able to monetize, so read up on it if you’re interested. Basically it says: don’t use material you don’t have a legal right to use, don’t show violence, sex, hate speech etc. If YouTube find you trying to bend of break the rules, they’ll warn you a couple of times, then ban you.
If your video isn’t shit, it’s time to share it with the EVE community once it’s finished uploading. The best places to do this are the EVE subreddit and Twitter, with heavy emphasis on Reddit. r/EVE may be a cesspool of degenerates who have nothing better to do than to shit on what other people create, but if you genuinely put something worth watching out there, you’ll get upvotes, encouragement, and most importantly, views.
Your first video will be a bit of an uphill battle. It will most probably suck and you’ll be shat on by and bunch of nerds. But this is where you learn the most important lessons and perhaps start one of the most fun and creative facets this hobby has to offer. Making videos is a lot of fun once you get going and EVE players appreciate them. It can also be a great propaganda tool to get the name of your corp, alliance or group out there.
This guide just covers the very basics, there’s a lot more cool stuff you can do and I encourage you to start reading and watching more advanced guides once you’ve gotten off the ground.
Good luck! Don’t hesitate to join the Crossing Zebras Discord if you have any questions: https://discord.gg/3dhphZH
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You can find the cover art for this article here.