It’s been another wild year for Marques Brownlee. When WIRED spoke to the video creator known as MKBHD in 2014, the 20-year-old “YouTube sensation” was busy playing ultimate frisbee and was about to graduate from college. Brownlee still playing ultimatebut now his business operations have expanded markedly.
The consistent stream of smart videos at Brownlee’s YouTube channel covers a wide range of consumer technology, from the latest smartphones and electric vehicles to strange earphones and retro technology. Notable channel guests include Elon Musk, Bill Gates and the spooky robot dog from Boston Dynamics. He also hosts a weekly tech podcast, Waveformin collaboration with Vox Media.
Brownlee is a unique voice in the world of technical reviews, and Brownlee is charismatic on camera with a delivery that emerges as a smart, unpretentious friend who is just obsessed with gadgets. The finer details stand out in his videos with cohesive B-roll and color-coordinated tableaux to show off devices.
The videos rarely deviate from technical topics, but an exception was made during the mass protests in 2020 regarding US police brutality with a video titled “Reflect on the color of my skin. “He has reached a level of success and visibility that is rarely achieved by anyone who participates in the so-called creative economy.
Brownlee is partnering with MasterClass to teach one session on video creation with nuggets of helpful advice covering key topics such as cameras, lenses, lighting, composition and images. Before his upcoming MasterClass falls, WIRED had the opportunity to chat with MKBHD about his best practices for creating YouTube videos, what you really need to get started, and how to cover technology that personally affects you.
Young people often fantasizing about making their YouTube channel or TikTok account a full-time career, but Brownlee warns beginners against approaching video creation as a monetary endeavor.
“You need to understand that this is something you may never be able to do for your job. It can be a hobby forever, ”says Brownlee. “A lot of people want to be an NBA player, but a lot of people just want to go to the park and play ball because they enjoy playing basketball. I think you can do that by making videos, instead of deciding to “If you want to make it your job, if you know you’re having fun at that level, you’re already winning.”
While it’s fascinating to compare advanced cameras and lenses, it’s an advantage for anyone making their first videos not to be overly obsessed with expensive equipment. Instead, focus on making great videos with equipment you already have.
Brownlee says: “One of the most common questions I’ll probably be asked is, ‘I want to do what you do. How do I get started? I actually do not have that much. I do not have a RED camera. I have not a MacBook Pro. I can not get started. “No No No. You’re talking to me on a smartphone right now.”