Back in the twentieth century only a few people got to share their ideas using video. These included news commentators like Edward R. Murrow and stand-up comedians like Bob Hope. But the digital media revolution has changed all that. These days anyone with a mobile device and something to say can star in a vlog (video log). And now Mika, a German content creator and Youtuber, demonstrates that you don’t even need a camera! His “Casey Neistat Style vlog in Watch Dogs 2.” is an example of what might be called a “faux vlog” which combines the vlogger’s voice with stock shots. In this case, the shots are borrowed from a video game.
Watch Dogs 2 is a game developed by Ubisoft. The action takes place in a virtual copy of San Francisco. Mika used sequences in the game as the background for his presentation.
He is a 24-year-old German student. In Berlin, where he was born, he studied informatics, then moved to Dusseldorf where he plans to study media design. He operates a YouTube channel devoted to gaming.
Here’s how Mika describes the production of this homage-to-Neistat faux vlog:
“I’m fairly new to this whole YouTube thing, so I’m keen to always try something a little bit different in my content. After I spent time in the USA last year, I wanted to revisit in video games some of the places I had actually been. I even showed my friends these places.
“After I had played Watch Dogs 2, I noticed that the game gives you a lot of options to make a blog. I watch a lot of Casey Neistat videos. I love the editing and wanted to try something like that. I don’t have a lot of equipment, but I do have a great gaming PC. Watch Dogs 2 gave me a (virtual) drone, a beautiful city, and an in-game camera that I could point at the video game character and walk around with.
“So I wrote a little script, walked around the virtual city, searching for interesting things, did time-lapse shots, and so on. That’s all inside the video game using only the in-game mechanics.
“I captured all that on the PC, and after editing it together, I recorded a voice over. So my voice is the only thing I recorded outside of the game. I did the voice over in English so it would feel a bit different from my usual content, and also to get a more authentic American blog feeling.
“For the opening time-lapse shot, I drove around the map looking for a good spot to capture the sunrise. And then I had to wait almost an hour for the sun to rise, while hoping that nothing crazy happened that would mess up the shot, which happened a lot. I did every shot multiple times, just to be safe.
“In one shot, I forgot to turn off the multiplayer functions, and another player hit me with a car while I was flying the drone. That’s basic video game stuff.
“The biggest challenge was to edit the footage together in a way that is interesting for non-gamers. I could have easily made the video with car chases and shootouts, but that is what one would expect from a game like this. I wanted to give the impression of a normal day inside of a video game.
“The voice over was a bit awkward. I didn’t know how I should talk to the audience, for I’m not a vlogger. So I just did it over and over again until I was somewhat satisfied. The video is definitely lacking in that regard, but overall I’m quite happy with the narrative and how it all turned out.
“It was so much fun to edit drone footage and create time-lapse videos without actually having a drone. So I guess the lesson here would be: Do what you want with the things you have.”
“That the creators of Watch Dogs 2 and my inspiration Casey Neistat saw and liked my video is absolutely mind-blowing to me.”