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The sad life of a tech reviewer – SPOILER we don’t get to keep all the cool stuff

Many of you might think that being a tech reviewer is a dream job, and in all honesty it is. But what you don’t realize is the stuff that happens behind the scenes and how much work actually goes into a review video.

So it’s 8 A.M, Hanu’s phone rings, it’s the gate telling him there is a delivery. We wait for the delivery, sign the papers and open the box. It’s a new flagship keyboard from some popular brand or….just another cheap Chinese flyswatter that some company thought we would actually make a video on, yes that has happened. But anyway, we look at it for 2 minutes and put it back into the box…

Notice that there was no excitement in that sentence, well that’s what happens if you get to deal with these products on a daily basis. Now in the beginning when I started working for We Do Tech, I would get super excited for every single product that came in. But as time went by you get used to the products and seeing the latest and greatest. It’s like getting to play with a new toy every second day but it’s actually the same toy car just in a different color or is a truck instead of a beetle.

Now don’t misunderstand me, the products are still very cool to see and use, especially things that you would have never gotten the chance to see or use in any other way. But for us to review a product one of us needs to use it first for a couple of weeks. Hardware needs to be benchmarked, tested and pushed hard. We also don’t want to get too attached to a product cause 99% of products do not stay with us. If we do get to keep something, it’s usually from the overseas division of a company and not the local division. Unfortunately, the majority of the local brands (not all) do not give review products to reviewers like us, even after giving them millions of views. Brands like Sabrent which on their first time working with us gave us a $1000 ROCKET XTRM-Q 4TB Thunderbolt 3 external SSD, which we use daily, and have since done more and more for us as we support and believe their products as well. Working with brands like that just get’s you excited as once in a while they make it feel worth it to produce these videos and see value in what we do.

So for weeks you are testing and using a product making notes on the good and bad points. After that, it’s script time which depending on the product could take 2 – 8 hours, going over every single aspect and feature of the product, describing and explaining it all in detail. After that Hanu goes over the script does some adjustments if needed and then we can start filming.

So we set up the cameras, lights, microphones and teleprompter. Which hopefully is still setup correctly from the previous filming session otherwise we need to re-set everything again which does take some time to get everything perfect again. We run a sound test and can then finally start recording. When Hanu is finished with face cam, if something horribly hasn’t gone wrong and needs to re-shoot everything again, he gives it to me.

Then the editing can start, so I’ll cut out all the small things that might not have been needed in the video, like all his cursing at the barking dogs or at his dumb mistakes, till we have what we call the basis of the video, so basically only face cam at this point.

Next step is b-roll, so I’ll run through the video making notes of what B-roll footage I would need to make the video look good for you guys. After about again 2-6 hours (depending on product) of getting B-roll I’ll add them in where they would fit, edit the sound, do color grading and add a song, which we hope would not be copyright struck by YouTube.

Then the video gets exported, which yet again we hope nothing goes wrong with because Adobe Premiere can be useless sometimes, and re-watched to make sure that I didn’t miss anything and that the video exported correctly. Then I’ll take a cool photo or of Hanu just pulling a weird face and make a thumbnail for the video. We upload the video to YouTube and do all the YouTuby stuff, schedule the video for you guys to enjoy. But then just to find out the upload messed something up.

Then a few days after we get a phone call again and the supplier is coming to pick up the screen or keyboard or mouse or GPU that you have come to like. Now, this is just a scratch of what’s going on behind the scene. But depending on the product it takes days to do a review and get it ready for you guys to watch. Yes, it’s great working with these products and having the opportunity to work with such a diverse amount of different brands and tech. But you rarely get to keep the products, all that hard work is for you guys to enjoy and to make an intelectual decision about a product that you might potentially want to buy with your hard-earned money.

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Written by Ruan Bronkhorst

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