I first met Shinichi Mine a few years ago on Squidoo, an article writing site. His articles were very popular. Always unique, very interesting, and accompanied by wonderful photographs, whether he was traveling or cooking. Since that time, he has developed a successful (and beautiful) blog, Tabieats, and forged into YouTube videos.
Forged is the word, and seamlessly is how he did it. From the start, he’s done a wonderful job creating and demonstrating recipes for our viewing enjoyment. Some of the dishes that seemed complicated and too difficult, he breaks down into such easy steps that you will see them as easy to make once you watch. Plus he is a food artist with his attractive finishing touches and plating.
When he is on the road the videos are fascinating. Between the beauty he finds locally in Japan, and trips he has made to places like Thailand, we get to see a street level view that entices us to visit.
Since he has excelled so quickly, I thought you would like to know how he does it. Every week now, he publishes six videos. He has kindly given us a second interview so we can learn more about the video process.
If you missed our first interview with Shinichi, do check it out here on Jaquo.
What led you from articles to YouTube videos, Shinichi?
As I mentioned in the first interview, it sort of started with writing for Squidoo. However it was only when I found out how easy it was to create videos that I started to think of it seriously. YouTube also has a built-in community that’s very engaging which makes it fun as well. I also learned that there was the possibility of making some money with the YouTube platform. Since I was trying to make money blogging, any additional revenue stream was a good thing, especially since Squidoo went down the drain.
After 8 months of making videos and over 150 videos later, I have to say that I rather enjoy making videos. In fact, I love everything about the video making process! I especially love the creative aspect that comes into play. The downside is that it’s taking a lot of time away from my writing.
You started filming with your iPhone, correct? What equipment do you use now? Tripod? Is there a regular spot you set up?
Yes and I still do depending on what I’m filming. I’ve upgraded to a proper camera/video recorder now for making recipe videos. I also have one tripod and two artificial light sources. We also have an external mike that we attach to our camera so we don’t have to yell any more.
The recipes are filmed in our living room, which is now our kitchen studio, which means we have no proper living room or dining room any more. We film, cook, eat and do everything in that one spot in the apartment.
Do you find yourself filming your recipes more than once? You’ve mentioned it took a few tries to perfect a recipe for instance.
Unfortunately yes! For example, I had to film one video 5 times because of various reasons. There are times when I want to scream and cry. I’m not even kidding here. We work on a schedule so we can meet our self-imposed deadlines.
Since we release 6 videos every week, we have one day of rehearsal and one day of filming for the recipe videos. So if I screw things up, we have to stay up until it gets done, sometimes until 3-4 am! But it forces me to stay on top of my game.
You have a knack for very well laid out videos. Does it take a lot of editing or do-overs?
In the beginning it took a long time. These days not so much because we’re better at filming better shots. We’re also more comfortable in front of the camera so it doesn’t take 20 attempts to get the intro right. Everything is practiced beforehand the day before so it goes smoothly during shoots. We have two days to finish editing our weekly videos.
What is the best/easiest part of videos?
The best part for me, is how creative we can get. Being able to create my own food porn is a joy beyond comprehension. The easiest part of making videos is coming up with ideas. I have a lot of ideas let me tell you!
What is the hardest part of doing the videos?
The hardest part for me is getting it perfect. The lighting for example. We only have so many hours during the day to take advantage of natural light so we have to work fairly quick. During the editing process, we work hard to keep things interesting by trying to edit things down or adding voice overs to make it more informative. There’s so much to the entire process and being a perfectionist, I find myself getting frustrated all the time. So to answer your question, I’d have to say that the hardest part is trying to control my stress levels during the entire process. This is very difficult for me.
It wasn’t long ago that you reached 1,000 subscribers. I thought that was awesome! What will that mean to you as a videographer?
Well we’ve recently reached 3,400 subscribers. Hopefully we’ll get to 5000 in a month’s time. For us, getting to 5000 means that we’re finally able to film at YouTube Studio in Tokyo so that’s huge for us. But reaching that first 1000 was important because it meant that 5000 would be possible.
I’m so happy with how things are progressing with our channel and we can’t stop because in the YouTube world, 100,000 subscribers is considered the first real milestone.
Filming at the YouTube studio sounds incredible. What is it like? Do they have a huge number of kitchens within?
Well I’m not too sure about that. I remember seeing 1 kitchen over there but it was definitely bigger than mine. Of course I’d probably film just one or two episodes at most because there is a waiting list to use the studios. Plus it’s more convenient to film at home. But just the fact that it’s available for me to use makes me smile from ear to ear.
How will that change your process?
Their studio is very professional. But like I mentioned, it would be rare to be filming there on a regular basis.
How long does each video take?
It differs all the time but I’d day it takes us approximately 5-8 hours of work for a 3-5 minutes recipe video.
When you say 5 to 8 hours, is that for the whole process, including prepping the ingredients in a recipe, and then editing after filming as well?
The entire process including the editing IF there are no redos.
When you say sometimes it takes several tries, do the recipes do that too or are you referring to the filming? It seems you so naturally make them look perfect. Have you practiced making them first more than one time?
Half the time, they are brand new recipes so practice is crucial. Sometimes I’d agree to do a collaboration with another creator ( donuts for example ) and I mess up more than I’d like to. Other times, I’d forget to film a certain ingredient or I’d forget to film a crucial part of the recipe. If my hand gets in the way of the camera, I’d have to redo that as well. I know that in time I’d start making less of these minor mistakes, but for now it’s a learn-as-you-go process.
What do you mean when you say you edit a video? Can you give us an idea of what that looks like? Was there a learning curve for that too?
They say that a good recipe video should not be longer than 10 minutes. Even better is 5 minutes or less. People’s attention spans are very short so the video has to have good pacing. An extra second of mixing the cake batter will make the viewer press the back button quick. So editing is what creates the magic.
There was definitely a learning curve because of all the factors that come into play. Proper lighting, close and long shots, choosing the right music to fit the video, and so much more. I would love to say that I can just wing it, but it’s not the case especially if one is serious about making a living off creating videos. The end result has to be more than just a good recipe. It has to be informative, interesting as well as entertaining. Learning all that took me a few months to finally understand what it all means.
How many are you doing in a week now? I believe you have a routine schedule. Will you share that with us?
We release 6 videos a week and they go out at 8 PM EST on the dot. Monday, Wednesday and Fridays are recipes. Tuesdays are travel videos and Thursdays are food reviews. Saturdays are whatever we feel like making for that week. Our videos are done two weeks ahead of time and so planning is done about a month in advance.
Do you have suggestions for someone getting started with YouTube?
The beauty of YouTube is that it allows you to create anything you want. Once you figure out what you love, what you’re passionate about, the rest is all about just getting started. From then on, it’s about being consistent and never giving up. Believe in what you’re doing and take care of your viewers and fans.
What’s the most effective way you’ve found to get subscribers?
Since YouTube is a social place, I think it’s important to be active in the YouTube community so I try to watch and comment on other people’s videos as much as I do my own. For social media, twitter has brought me a significant amount of new subscribers. I’m active on most of the social media out there including Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook and all of them play a role. Finally, doing collaborations with other similar YouTube channels has helped bring in new viewers. In the end though, it’s all about content so make sure you have content that people want to watch and come back to.
Which is your own favorite video so far?
Another tough question! I love all my videos. Personally, when I watch my older videos, it shows how my videos have evolved and is kind of like a video diary for myself. My dessert videos are my favorite but really, I love every single one of them. Well there are a couple that I don’t love but I’m not going to tell.
How do you manage to stay so slim between all of the recipes you create and food reviews?
OH haha. Now that is a good question. First of all, I’m far from slim but thank you. Ever since I started making food videos for YouTube, I’ve gained 10 pounds and this is not good at all. So at the moment, I’m eating very little for dinner. I also regularly work out and I’m fairly active as you can see on my travel videos.
I used to just eliminate carbs and that was the easy way to keep weight off. But since I create recipes now and desserts seem to be the most popular, I had to think of an alternate method to keep the weight off. Let’s see how well my plan works.
Gazpacho You Tube
Yakitori-Japanese Grilled Chicken
You will find Shinichi at the sites below.