We couldn't have done it without you! (hugs camera 🤗)
The Downward Slide on YouTube
Well let's get right into it shall we! The downward trend on YouTube from previous years continued in 2021. By the numbers, this year was a complete flop. YouTube was once a decent income stream, allowing us to purchase new camera gear to offset the cost of producing our hi-quality content. I was really hopeful that cranking out some new '74 Challenger Restoration videos would attract higher view counts on the channel, but for whatever reason, we have fallen out of favor with the Recommended Content selection algorithm. The Microburst SxS videos I also created only attracted a fraction of the views this series previously enjoyed. YouTube, and video content in general, has become so completely saturated in recent years that it's hard to capture anyone's attention. IGTV, TikTok, FB Reals, YouTube Shorts, etc, etc, are all competing right now for viewers time and attention. I'm sure a good portion of the ad revenue that once poured into YouTube has found its way into other video platforms.
The downward trend on YouTube from previous years continued in 2021.
So here are the total numbers for 2021. We attracted about half the views and watch time compared to 2020 and picked up a measly 280 new subscribers. So the question is, will our numbers drop by half again in 2022? Let's hope not!
Sometimes Letting Go is Easy
When it comes to "things", I'm not one to hold on. Sentimental objects are few and far between. If a possession I own is causing more stress than the enjoyment I can extract, it's time to let go and move on. And with that in mind, I let go of something I thought I'd hold onto for many more years. My homebuilt SxS, the Microburst 600 as I called it, found a new home. I was fighting the idea off for some time now. I just couldn't bring myself to the realization that I was sick of a machine that I dreamed about building, worked for two hard years to build, and taken on countless adventures. It happened though.... I was tired on wrenching on it, and it needed a lot of repairs.
I made one last video to say goodbye to my mechanical creation. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Raising Standards with the SDRO Crew
Every time I crank out my "best" video, I wonder how on earth I'll top it. Last year, I taught myself how to use DaVinci Resolve and brought a new level of color grading to my videos, with the pinnacle of my ability showcased in the TMR highlight video from 2020. How could I one-up this creation?
Documentary style filmmaking is something I've grown an interest for in recent years. I'm currently working on a short film in this style, documenting interesting abandoned artifacts I've found in the Ottawa Valley. I decided to stretch myself and apply this style to a snowmobile grass drag event video. Out of that was born All the moving Parts, a doc-u-style film that tells a short story of race day and the people that are involved in the sport.
Never before had anyone actually referred to one of my video's by name
The feedback from those that watched the video was FABULOUS! Never before had anyone actually referred to one of my video's by name, so when people approached me and continued to bring up the video title with words of praise, I knew I had accomplished something great! The standards have been raised and the question again is how will I top this video?
We Created our First Calendar
Arianne from Snowmobile Drag Racing Ontario (SDRO) is constantly coming up with ideas for us media folks, so when she approached us with the idea of creating a sled calendar, I wasn't entirely surprised. Portrait work is something we've been branching into lately, so I jumped at the opportunity! Arianne lined up all the sleds and the shooting locations. We both contacted all the friends we knew that would be interested in modeling, and after a PILE of planning and scheduling, we had our first day of shooting! The results were OK, but it lacked a certain professional glamour look that I had hoped to achieve. I picked up a second flash and added a colored gel to backlight the subject and model - that's what was missing! Overall, for our first calendar, the results were spectacular!
More Mud Slinging with TMR
We've been working with TMR for a few years now - this year was no exception. I always love getting out to see the big off-road machines. Every time I see one of those massive rock crawlers, I get the itch to head into my shop and start burning steel! I supposed it's best to just watch from a distance for now so I can focus on my '74 Challenger though.
Every time I see one of those massive rock crawlers I get the itch to head into my shop and start burning steel!
We made it out to two race events - once to Free Flow MX in Shannonville and once to Rays Place in Minden. I'd love to share all the videos, but we have an agreement to keep the videos private until TMR shares them on their social accounts. I did, however, create a video just for ourselves so we could showcase our work. I really pushed the color grading to new levels in this video and I couldn't be happier with the results!
Professional Flash Photography Portraits
Portrait photography was always something I would shy away from in the past. Working with people is difficult and I'm naturally more of an introvert, not something that pairs well when trying to direct a model for a specific look you're after. But, after a couple years of pushing myself and lots of practice (thanks wifey!), I feel confident in boasting that our portraits are now Professional. I seem to have gained an eye when posing a model, and when the photo looks off for some reason, I can quickly figure out what needs to be adjusted with the lighting or the pose. I added a second remote trigged flash to my collection of equipment. This allows me to add a side rim light or to fill the background with a color to create a very dramatic look. You can also use this technique to mimic a sunset using an orange color gel, which came in handy for shooting beach shots on cloudy days.
I feel confident in boasting that our portraits are now Professional
We didn't book very many clients for portrait work this year. Our friend Tara was kind enough to join us for a few shoots so I could practice posing and lighting with two off-camera flash units. Like I mentioned above, we worked with our SDRO friends to create a sled calendar, which involved a great deal of portrait work. I'm hoping that 2022 will bring more portrait work our way - send us a message if you're interested!
Searching for the Past - The Forgotten Valley Short Film
This has been a really satisfying side project, and I'm very proud with how the video is shaping up during the editing process. It was so nice to have a good "excuse" to jump in the truck with my camera gear and tour down old backroads. I love road trips, especially ones that take me off the beaten path. Once I'm finished with the video editing and the audio narration, I'll start looking for a venue to premiere the short film. Hopefully by then Covid will be a thing of the past and we can enjoy a nice big gathering!
I'm trying to convey a sad/nostalgic feel - most audio tracks are very happy and upbeat!
I wasn't able to visit every location on my list, but during my filming trips in the spring and again in the fall, I was able to get enough video content to create a final mix in the range of 15 minutes, which is exactly what I was aiming for in regards to video length. One of the more challenging parts of the editing process has been finding good background audio tracks that fit the theme and feel of the video. I'm trying to convey a sad/nostalgic feel - most audio tracks are very happy and upbeat!
As I approach the finish line on this video, I'm already starting to think about the next one. I want to continue making short films like this, focusing on old places and artifacts from the Ottawa Valley - so stay tuned folks!
Can you Make Money Selling Stock Photos and Videos in 2021?
I don't know yet, but I'll find out soon! I recently created a wirestock account and uploaded all my best artistic photos and videos from my portfolio. The approval process is VERY slow... like in the order of months slow. I have zero expectations, so any money I make from this is just a bonus at this point. I'm hoping to find a niche with my video collection of old abandoned places and artifacts - only time will tell I suppose. So check back for my 2022 review and I'll update you on my results!
What's in Store for 2022
I really don't know what to expect anymore. I know there are plans for another SDRO sled calendar as well as sled drag events. I'd like to branch out into more portrait work, so maybe I'll start advertising our services a bit more aggressively. Other than that, I'm looking forward to more camping with the family in the summer and getting back to restoring the old '74 Challenger.
Take care folks, and thanks for your support in 2021!