2005 Independence Bowl
Now on Rock M Nation: ZouDave's Videos! Below is a message from the man himself.
Rock M Nation: Where Videos Still Have Sound!
What started as a "Let's see if I can even do this" type of event at the beginning of the 2006 football season has ended up becoming an all-consuming, time-swallowing, patience-testing obsession.
I remember leaving KC to head to Columbia to watch Mizzou vs Ole Miss in 2006. All we'd seen out of the post-Brad Smith Tigers was a 47-7 beating of Murray State the week before so there was still no clear indication that we were about to witness 29 more wins from this group of guys. Ole Miss was at least a decent name, from the mighty SEC and sporting a bunch of new coaches formerly from the University of Miami. I just remember thinking "If Mizzou wins this game, I'm going to want to watch it again" so I set my DVR to record it. Thus began what has been a very entertaining chapter of my life.
But let me back up a bit for a second if I may.
Before I discovered I could do this "for real", I had already dabbled a bit. Back in the Spring of 2004 I joined an online community for the PS2 game NCAA '04, and in this community a lot of people would record their games and play back highlights for the rest of the people to see. This was obviously a niche crowd, but it was really cool to see what people could do so I decided to give it a try myself. I found a $50 external capture device that I could use to run my PS2 into my computer, and I used Windows Movie Maker to record the games and I made highlight films for an entire season of NCAA '04 with Mizzou. My wife, whom was just my fiancee at the time, was quite certain I was the biggest dork alive for even thinking about doing this. Then I showed her what other people had done, and what I was doing to produce better quality productions than they were by finding the right songs, synchronizing key moments to the music, using transitions, etc. This confirmed it for her: I was the biggest dork alive. But that fed the obsession. A couple of years later I bought a better capture device with aims of doing the same thing with the newest version of NCAA, but the game sucked and I completely lost interest. I started capturing my friends and I competing against each other on Guitar Hero, but there's only so much you can do with video that already has a soundtrack to it. So I figured my hobby was dead.
Enter September 9, 2006. Mizzou vs Ole Miss. Missouri rolled that day to a 34-7 victory, and looked pretty entertaining in doing so. I didn't have a clue what I was going to do with this, but as I watched the game again that night on my DVR I thought "You know, this isn't all that different than a video game...why can't I?" It took me about 4 days, learning new software (Pinnacle Studio v9 at the time) and trying to figure out how YouTube worked but the result was this. I posted the video on TigerBoard, and people really seemed to like it. The encouragement I got was more than enough for me to try again the next week, when we took on New Mexico and the game was somehow televised in KC despite it being on the Mountain West network since the game was at UNM. My 2nd effort was my first glimpse into the world of "your taste in music sucks" people, but I really seemed to be getting a following. There was a big desire for something like this to exist, because NOBODY was even trying to do it for Mizzou but other Top 25 schools sometimes had MULTIPLE fans creating different videos for all of their games.
Some good advice from Tigerboard pillar Iam4Mizzou told me to start branding the videos so they'd be less likely to be pilfered, so for my 4th video (one some consider to be my best) when the Tigers depantsed Texas Tech 38-21 I started adding the logo at the end with the tag "ZouDave Videos". This was good advice, as it gave me an even broader identity across the internet.
Fast forward a couple of years, and thanks to Mizzou being a damn fine football team over the past 3 seasons, ZouDave Videos has been a huge success. While I never have nor never will expect to make a dime off of these endeavors, I have gained quite a bit of noteriety in the online Mizzou community and I've met some really interesting people thanks to the wide audience on YouTube.com. When I had the pleasure of meeting then-Offensive Coordinator Dave Christensen, I was introduced to him as "This guy makes highlights of all of the games online." Coach Christensen quickly added, "Oh, you're ZouDave!" I'm not gonna lie...it moved a little. Early in the 2007 season I had it pointed out to me that Jeremy Maclin's MySpace page featured my video of Mizzou vs Illinois game from 2007 (a game in which Maclin caught his first TD pass and scored his first punt return TD of his All-American career) and I was pretty much floored. It was one thing for other fans to be noticing my work, but for coaches and players to actually be fans of the work I was doing based on the work they were doing? It was pretty humbling.
So this has been a great hobby for me. I pretty much know what I'm doing on Sundays during college football season now. A typical video takes me around 12 hours to have ready for the viewing audience. It starts with me having to watch the game again in real-time as I record it from my DVR into my computer (using now my 3rd piece of hardware for capturing and I'm up to Pinnacle Studio v11). While I'm watching the game, I start making mental notes of the big plays, good closeups, good replays, etc. I also start getting a feel for the pace of the game, the feel of the game and maybe even the story of the game and I start searching my mind for songs that match that pace, feel and story. Once the game is captured, I get to work putting all of the plays and replays into a timeline that I can then edit to music. This basically equates to watching the game a 3rd time (and sometimes a 4th time, since I rewatch so many plays to find the exact right moments to cut). Usually by now I've found the songs I will use, and I've created some kind of intro to get us into the action, and I will watch a play happen during the song. If it doesn't feel right, I'll adjust it to see if it can sync with anything in the song or do whatever I need to do to make the action and the music flow together. If I still can't get it to work, often times the play is deleted. Once I have all of that done, I usually force my wife to watch it once. She hates me for it, but she placates me. She's never given me any critique worse than "it's really good," but occassionally I can tell she actually does like it and that's when I know I've done a good job. So then I have to compile the video, which takes about an hour. Then I have to upload the video to YouTube, which takes about an hour. Then I have to wait for YouTube to process the video so that I can post the URL on places like Tigerboard.com, PowerMizzou.com, and of course RockMNation.com. This, also, takes about an hour. So 9 hours of work and 3 hours of computing time and I'm basically spoken for from 10am-10pm every Sunday.
All of this so someone can say "Great job, but the music sucks."
Well, over the past year I've had to hear less and less of that. The reason I've had to hear less of that is because the RIAA and companies like WMG (Warner Music Group) are cracking down on videos on YouTube that contain their songs. YouTube, who I do not hold responsible here, has been forced to use some kind of automated program to detect the audio signature of an uploaded video and if too much of it matches the digital fingerprint from an unauthorized song then the movie is automatically removed. I've tried fooling this automated system, because it can't be perfect, but so far nothing I have tried has worked. YouTube has gotten WMG and the RIAA to at least agree to simply mute the videos rather than remove them entirely, but watching one of my videos back without the sound is like dropping my ice cream on the sidewalk. I don't like it, and I don't want to be a part of it.
Enter RockMNation.com, and enter a solution. The only reason YouTube is being attacked like this is because of how huge they are. There's not an attorney or even a group of attorneys scouring YouTube to find songs that their clients own copyright to, it's all just a big system. Well, RockMNation may be the premier Mizzou blog on this "interweb", but it doesn't have the viewership that YouTube does. This is fine with me, because the people on YouTube that wanted to see my videos make up less than a fraction of a tenth of a fraction of 1% of the people using YouTube on a daily basis. My videos are getting between 1500 and 75,000 views as opposed to some of the videos out there who have lapped 1,000,000 views. I'm nothing. I'm a flea on a tick. But I have a target audience, and that audience either already knows about RockMNation.com, or soon will.
Thanks in large part to the support and efforts of rpt and The Boy, and the sarcasm and worthlessness of The Beef, ZouDave videos is finding a new home. Here we don't expect to have to deal with anyone concerned about copyright (despite the fact that EVERY SINGLE SONG I've ever used in a video can be heard RIGHT NOW on YouTube.....). Here we don't expect quite as many opposing fans to leave me quite as many messages about how bad Mizzou "suxors". And here we can finally get back to what's important: pointing out how much my taste in music sucks.
LET FREEDOM RING!