Category Archives: Video

YouTube is a Risky Platform

If you’re building your audience or business primarily on YouTube you should probably think again, or at least have a backup plan.

Google can and will destroy all of your work at a whim, or with a bad bot decision, and there’s nothing you can do about it. You have no recourse, and there is no “manager” you can talk to.

In my case, I had been posting logs of my journey starting a game development studio. It started with a few videos detailing my goals and my process of learning the Unity game development framework, then with demos of the process of building my first-person dungeon crawler game Into The Inferno. It was totally normal stuff, just like hundreds of other channels are doing or have done. This approach is a time-tested way of telling your story, building an engaged audience, connecting with the world, and having more success than you would have without telling your story. This is the sort of thing YouTube was designed for in the first place. Or so I thought.

Just shy of two weeks ago I woke up to an email saying that YouTube had deleted my channel for “spam, deceptive practices, or scams”.

This was a pretty big surprise. There was no warning, no strikes, and no indication what, exactly the problem was. They didn’t indicate that there was something wrong with a particular video, so I really had no idea why my channel was deleted. There was nothing deceptive. If anything, I might have been too honest, bordering on oversharing. There was certainly no scam. I wasn’t trying to get people to do anything, or asking for money, or selling anything (yet). My game wasn’t even ready to wishlist on Steam.

I only have two guesses, and they’re vague ones. Maybe they decided that posting mostly videos on the same topic (my video game development) was spam, even though all the videos had different focus and were in different stages of the game’s progress. Or, since my account was nuked right after I uploaded a video describing how I had implemented in-game shops where you could buy equipment, recharge your mana, or heal your characters with the gold you get from killing monsters, maybe that was it, MAYBE they thought I was talking about some sort of real-money transaction thing. That’d be a stretch – since shops are just a standard mechanic that thousands of games have, and I wouldn’t ever consider adding real-money transactions to a game because that’s dirty, disgusting, slimy, and wrong. People who put real-money transactions in games should be ashamed. Look for the “Log 15” video on this blog if want to review that one and venture a guess.

Assuming it was just an algorithm glitch — after all, Google is not very good at algorithms, and they often make very dumb assumptions (I speak from experience since I’ve had quite a few websites over the last 20 or so years) — I sent in an appeal. The auto-responder said that they’d reply within 2 days.

Now, 12 days later, I have received a response.

“Hi Dragon Dropper,

We have reviewed your appeal for the following:

Channel: Dragon Dropper

We reviewed your channel carefully, and have confirmed that it violates our spam, deceptive practices and scams policy. We know this is probably disappointing news, but it’s our job to make sure that YouTube is a safe place for all.

How this affects your channel

We won’t be putting your channel back up on YouTube.

The YouTube team”

Again, still no indication of what the problem is. Whatever it was, I was definitely making YouTube an unsafe place.

They did NOT delete any of my other YouTube channels associated with the same email, some of which are more than 10 years old (my band channel, my vintage synthesizer demo channel, and some various other music channels). They certainly did delete any motivation I have to maintain or grow any of those channels.

I’ve switched all of my video hosting to Vimeo and re-uploaded all of my videos. They’re visible here on this blog at or you can see my channel on Vimeo here. The first 15 log entries were hosted on YouTube. If you want to watch them and figure out why they might have insta-banned me, be my guess. I’m out of ideas.

I’ll miss those ~10 subscribers, and the extra organic visitors that YouTube brings, but at least with Vimeo I won’t have to worry about some random bot arbitrarily declaring that I am a scam because you can give in-game gold to a healer to have your injuries repaired in one of my games.

Take caution, a random deletion could happen to anyone, including you, and there will be nothing you can do about it.

I’m Available for Hire for Music Composition on Fiverr

Do you have a movie or video game that you want original music for? I’m now available for hire on Fiverr for composition work.

Since I have decades of experience in composing, recording, and mixing original ambient and soundtrack-style, I can create something both unique and high-quality.

Sure, you could go with one of hundreds of Hans Zimmer clones, but if you want something different — something that doesn’t sound like it came from a stock music website — having me write something for you would be a very good choice.

Click here for more details about my gig on Fiverr.

Creating Album Art Videos with Wondershare Filmora

It’s been a couple years since I last created an album art video, and I normally create them for an entire album all at once. It looks like the tool I used to use is no longer available, so I decided to figure out how to use Wondershare Filmora to do it.

Screenshots are from Filmora 11, but this should be pretty much the same on older and newer versions since it’s a basic operation that’s not likely to change much.

The first step is to create a new project and import the media. In addition to the .wav (or alternatively .mp3 files, though those are lower-quality), you should also have created an album art image file that is 1920×1080 pixels, the standard dimensions of an HD video. If you want to create a 4k video, you’ll need a larger image.

The first step is to drag the image to the video track.

Next drag a song to the audio track.

Now you need change the length of the video track to match the audio track. This can be tricky because the single image is too small to grab at the default zoom level. If you click “zoom in” three or four times you should be able to grab it and drag it longer.

You’ll need to drag this to match the length of your audio track. Filmora makes this easy because it wants to “snap” the video length to the audio length.

An album art project in Wondershare Filmora.

An album art project in Wondershare Filmora.

Next select Export -> Create Video from the menu. Edit the name of the video and select a folder to export to.

Under “Preset” you’ll want to click “Settings”. I have settings I’ve saved as a preset to make things faster. The video encoding bit rate isn’t very important, but you won’t want to set that too high or you’ll have a huge video file for no reason. More important is to set the audio settings to a high bit rate so you have good quality music encoding.

Wondershare Filmora Encoding Settings for Album Art Video

Wondershare Filmora Encoding Settings for Album Art Video

After you have the settings configured, click “Export” and wait a bit for it to finish.

You don’t need to create a new project for each video, and it’s a bunch of extra work to do so.

After the first video is exported, delete the audio track from the audio timeline, drag in the next one, drag the video track slider to match the length, and then click Export -> Create Video again. Remember to change the name. It’s that simple.

A Beginner Experiment With Stop-Motion Video

Here’s a very beginner experiment.

I’m learning some of the basics of stop-motion video. I created this using Wondershare, which I bought in some sort of holiday sale a couple years ago. Wondershare works pretty well for basic video editing, and if you want something that isn’t too complicated, I recommend it.

Subscribe to the channel if you want to see future things and find out whether I ever get good at it.

For the most part, it’s just taking photographs and stringing them together in a sequence, showing each for a fraction of a second, for example 1/4 second, which gives you four frames per second. More frames per second will give smoother movement. Television has historically been 24 frames per second, while a YouTube video or digital video in general is normally 30. 60 frames per second is also becoming more common.

So far, what’s most difficult is keeping the lighting consistent, and secondarily keeping the movement increments consistent. The biggest problem with the lighting on this one is that in a few frames, my own body is obscuring some of the light.