Simple Things Can be Hard to Reproduce

This podcast audio served as the source for the blog post “Why are Simple Things Hard to Reproduce?”.

The transcript was rewritten to produce the blog post, which is the cornerstone of the Shortcut Content system.

Shayla: You are listening to the Shortcut Content podcast. And I’m talking with Dave Young who is the founder of Shortcut Content. And, Dave, why are the simplest things sometimes so hard to reproduce?

Dave: Well, the simplest things are the hardest to reproduce because there’s usually a good amount of preparation, maybe practice, maybe development, that went into something that’s really simple. I remember the first iPhone that came out. It was just this perfectly smooth, rounded edges thing, and it looked great. It look simple, but, man, the development that went into it. Pretty complex.

I just got done watching the Olympics this summer and, my gosh, you can watch a gymnast go from one corner of the mat to another and fly through the air, and they make it look so easy. And yet, if I went for a run and hit a trampoline, we’d be calling an ambulance, if I got off the ground at all.

And so the underlying thing there is that simple things are often really hard to reproduce. I’ll give you another good example and that’s the video that you’re watching right now. I mean, this looks pretty simple. I’m standing in front of a perfectly white background, the audio is good quality, the lighting is pretty darn good, and I like to say I have a good face for radio, but this is probably as good as it’s going to get for me. We have this nice background, you don’t see any shadows, you hear good sound, and yet, there’s a complexity to producing a video like this that can be somewhat mind-boggling, because you’re interviewing me, but we’re in completely different cities, yet you’re able to hear me, I’m able to hear you, we’re recording your audio and my audio into the camera, we’re also sending my audio through Skype to your office in where, Raleigh?

Shayla: North Carolina.

Dave: I’m in Tucson and we’re doing this live, right? When people are watching the video, obviously, it’s not live, but we’re doing this in real-time, live. So the complexity of just this end, your end, you’re recording audio, but on my end, I’m recording video and audio, I’m standing in front of a small studio, and we’re trying to make it look really simple. So it took years of research, trial and error for our friends at VidBetter to put this studio in a box that we’re using. But I’m staring at myself, so I feel like I’m talking to a person, but behind a mirror that I’m staring at is a camera. And that camera’s got a microphone, a small speaker, it’s got a USB cable plugged into it and it’s a HDMI cable plugged into it that sends it to a monitor so that I can see what I’m recording. It’s got a boom mic that’s sitting right up here, you probably just heard me touch that. It’s go a big light up here in front of me. We’ve got a big lit screen behind me for the background. We’ve got a USB device that’s sending signal from this microphone, both to the camera and to Skype so that the interviewer can hear me, and then all of the cables and gadgets and things that connect it all together.

Looks really cool, right? It’s just one guy standing in front of a perfectly white background. Very simple, kind of elegant, but the complexity behind it is pretty amazing. And so I think the thing is that anything that seems really simple to do has some moving parts behind it that are a little tougher to master than you might think they are. And I think that’s especially true in blogging. I mean, people are very quick to say, oh, anybody can blog. Just get out there and do it. It’s like, yeah, anybody could write a book, but very few people actually do it, because there are some hurdles. There’s some complexity. There are some issues that have to be solved before you can actually make it all happen.

We try to make it simpler for blogging, and we’ve figured out ways to make it look pretty simple for video. And we can help you with it, if you want us to.

Shayla: And I was going to say though, Dave, because Shortcut Content has kind of done all the leg work, the people that are working with you just get to step in and take all those of experience and just pop right into place, right?

Dave: That’s right, and it’s not just me. We’ve spent five years developing our blogging technique to get it where we’re at today and I know at VidBetter, the people who are supplying the studios for us, this is a ten year deal. This is the end result of at least ten years of research into what’s the best way to record really high quality video in a small, footprint studio. In fact, the device that I’m staring into that’s got the mirrors and, you can call it a teleprompter, because that’s how it works, this thing is patented. It’s a pretty cool device, and yet it does a nice job of making things look pretty darn simple.

Shayla: So if you guys want to find out more about the process, how Shortcut Content make it look so simple, you can find out more at There, you’ll also find Dave’s contact information, if you want to find out more from him. Thanks, Dave.

Dave: Thank you.