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Thread: Railfanning Train Video Flopped..But Why?

  1. #1

    Angry Railfanning Train Video Flopped..But Why?

    I made what I thought was a most amazing rail buff trainspotting video but it's flopped bad. I let the trains do the talking and incorporated slow motion close up's of steam trains shot with edge of the platform cameras. In fact the video features all styles of trains in a very typical train-spotters format. Normally this style of video is hugely popular on YouTube BUT this video has totally bombed from upload. Is this a sign of more huge YouTube trouble, or my pathetic video making abilities. I know the experts here will tell me why it's flopped.

    I know nothing about youtube, even less about video

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Surrey, UK
    Blog Entries


    Long time, no see Rollingstock!
    I really can't comment on what the specific problem is with this video as it holds no interest for me, but neither would the more successful trainbuff videos. I did like the spider shot though. Indeed I'd have liked far more cutaway shots (though trainspotters might disagree).

    Shots are well framed and focus/exposure is good throughout but could do with stabilization (again - I'm not familiar with the genre - this may be a no-no). The panning shots following the loco's/last carriages are well executed.

    I did not like the occasional jump cuts. They appear to have been included just to shorten a sequence rather than for artistic or functional purpose.

    One thing I would say - whether on not you chose to have a voiceover - we have no idea what we're looking at. Or when. Or where (OK we do het a station sign at the beginning but is it all shot there? and if not how do we know). I also wonder whether the mix of steam/deisel/electric works or whether the audiences prefer something specialising in one specific form of motive power.

    I don't really understand your comments on YouTube where you talk about the channel potentially collapsing. Surely it's there until YouTube itself collapses?

    Also, bear in mind the time you've posted - bang in the middle of the Christmas/New year period. Most of your potential viewership is probably playing with their new train sets or out spotting.

    And 24hours is no time to decide a video has bombed.

  3. Default

    I agree with what Tim said about YouTube, the season etc.

    To add to that, YT has been shifting more attention to big established media outlets and away from the small producers. That might account for some of the low view count. If you want your videos to be seen you'll have to do a bit of promotion, proactively seeking out an audience of interested viewers.

    Also, you'll have to ask yourself why you're posting videos. Do you expect a net income? That's really only possible for channels with a very high number of subscribers and views. Is it just for fun and the thrill of getting attention? You might have to readjust your expectations. Do the videos promote some other activity? For example, I make live band videos. Bands pay me and use the videos to promote themselves and get gigs. I use the videos to promote my service. I don't need hundreds of thousands of views for it to be worthwhile, though more than a few dozen would be nice.

  4. #4


    Don't get me started about YouTube and how it's changed. And what your saying is correct. As for why I make videos well thats been a very long term hobby and interest, it's nice to see the same names here on this site who I know have a passion for video in many formats. But what's different with YouTube is how Google and adjust the focus on the audience to stuff they would not normally watch. Whats spooked me is videos that I know used to be very popular now sink like lead balloons and the YouTube systems seems geared to kill a video off within days of being uploaded. There is now no organic growth now, thats been killed off for around 4 years now. As fro trying to make a video and sell it to someone, I have never been able to pull that off. Especially now that every iPhone shoots amazing video and EVERYONE can edit crap together.
    I know nothing about youtube, even less about video

  5. #5


    Hi Tim, yes it's been a very long time between DD drinks, but nice to see the same names here who know their stuff.

    I see your aware of the time of year and short time online. But I can clearly see trends on a upload and it it fails in the first day on today's version of YouTube there is absolutely no coming back. The fast drying cement block cast around this video is set and it's sinking to the bottom of the video pond. This has been a constant trend that's been going on for a few years now on YouTube. There is now no organic growth, no viral videos, no video that has a second wind of views down the track. Google have completely perfected the way to kill off content while serving the audience crap they would normally not watch. It's something I notice on Netflix as well. In fact both YouTube and Netflix will attempt to send you back to a video or film you have already watched, and that I never understand. I brought this video here so I can speak about these changes that I have noticed as a very long term producer on YouTube. I have seen the best and worst on the site. I enjoy seeing what your audience has to say and I know there has been a anti YouTube feel here for years. The site is so alien now Vs what I discovered back in 2006. With YouTube in it's teenage years it's becoming a very awkward site in many ways. It's almost like Google are trying to kill off the site by killing off the the 'old' producers. Or maybe better said like this, kill off the core long standing producers and get the commercial content onto the site. In the end it's about what they make money from, YouTube used to be about YOU, it's now about THEM. Whats astonishing now is the many rules and regulations when uploading. But these rules seem to affect some producers while others get away with murder upload after upload.

    Tim I bet I could come back here in 6 or 12 months and show this videos data and it's going to go nowhere. There will be no second wind, no sudden interest and views explosion because I see very clearly now YouTube since 2016 is all about making sure you have no success. It's amazing to see how they control popularity now, in fact it's evil to witness. But you guys knews this when I started on these boards years ago. I should have listened back then.

    These days YouTube stick a knife into you when you upload a fail, here is what is says as I type here. RIP train video on YouTube.

    Your video’s views are 75% lower than usual. Fewer people choose to watch when we recommend it, and they aren’t watching as long.
    I know nothing about youtube, even less about video

  6. #6


    It's probably hardly to do with the video but more with the presentation.

    Someone actually shared the following video about getting youtube views with me yesterday:

    Now the tuber that gets analysed probably caters to a slightly different audience but you can still take some pointers from it. Actually having a face in the video is always a step ahead from a video that has no main character in it though (people tend to identify with other people and a general rule of thumb is "faces not places") but that might be a bit harder with your type of video unless you or someone else is willing to be an on screen commentator for these.
    But what I think that may be a good point for example from that video is the use of short evocative titles.
    The cats are watching us...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Surrey, UK
    Blog Entries


    All interesting stuff.

    It's all rather at the whim of the public and the whim of "the man" (in this case youTube). And a lot of this is down to expectations. When I first looked, your video had received 3500 views. Disappointing for you, but that would have been crazy for me. OK so you have 1.3M subscribers (which is a fantastic achievement in itself) and I have about 600 so you'd righfully expect more views. But how many of those subscribers come back on a regular basis?
    Having a quick look at your channel I see videos of Thomas the Tank Engine (these are what I remember you for), spiders, fake toys and general angry Aussie and dash-cam stuff.

    What I don't see is real railway stuff. So, we can make an educated guess that people who subcribe to your channel are not subscribing in order to watch videos such as the one you're having problems with.

    But I'm not after views. Don't get me wrong, it's a great feeling to get a few views, but I post videos on YouTube primarily so I can send links to people and people searching for something might find them. I've posted examples of how to do things o YouTube just for the half a dozen people who read this forum. So long as the person asking the question watches, i'm happy.

    Then again, I'm not making videos for YouTube. I'm making them for my own enjoyment with the expectation that i will show them at my own video club and they will be screened at one or two regional or national competitions. So if something is a hit (in my terms, not yours) on YouTube, that's just a nice bonus.

    One thing I don't do is monetize. Nothing bugs me more than clicking a YT link and getting an advert up and so I asume the same goes for others. I am VERY selective about whose videos I'll watch if there's an advert. (I don't object to it, I just have to know it's going to be worth my while waiting the 4 seconds)

    Again a lot is luck. My most successful vid (218K views since 2009) was incredibly niche (about a specific form of pointing brickwork) and, whilst it peaked in 2011/12) it has generally has a steady number of views.
    My next most successful (in terms of views) was Tudor Rap! which you may recall is a bunch of kids "rapping" a few lines as each of Henry VIII's wives. This did nothing between 2011 and 2013 then suddenly took off as school children started coming across it when Tudors was part of primary school curiculum. Recently popularity has increased again due to "Six - the musical".


    By far the best thing aboyut that vid is the requests I've received for permission for schools to perform it in assembly. I've had two direct requests and know of at least tow more school's who have performed it. I like to think there are several more who havemn't even mentioned it.

    Despite all this my best film in my opinion has received a mere 1300 views in 2 years and my most successful films (in competition) have received merely 540 views and 26K views.

    What can we deduce from this?

    Tudors are more popular than trains? - possibly
    Niche films will generate a steady following? - probably

    The internet is not a democracy or a meritocracy - definitely!

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