Will new production facility raise the bar for YouTube videos?

YouTube Space LA offers a place for creators to use high-end equipment and get technical advice from experts. CNET's Sumi Das gets a tour.

YouTube Space. CNET

If you've ever spent time on YouTube, you know that it's a mixed bag. There are the slick professional videos, the shaky (but often side-splitting) clips shot on smartphones and everything in between.

In an effort to raise the quality of YouTube videos, the company has built YouTube Space LA, a 41,000-square-foot facility that offers practically every type of video production tool, free of charge. Of course, only serious creators need apply. Applicants must be YouTube Partners who have a track record of regularly contributing videos. But that doesn't mean they have to be churning out hits a la "Gangnam Style." The YouTube Space LA FAQ states that the goal is to help both established and emerging creators.

The facility itself is production heaven. Liam Collins, who runs the facility, gave us a tour, showing us the various sound stages, green screen studios, editing areas, and control rooms. Equipment available for creators includes cinema cameras, DSLRs and even a Phantom camera -- a top-of-the-line high-speed camera that produces stunning slow-mo shots. The facility also runs workshops and "labs" for creators, a chance to advance their technical skills.

Within 15 minutes of walking into YouTube Space, I ran into four friends and former co-workers. Collins said the lobby with its large video wall and comfy sofas that encourage lounging and shoulder-rubbing was designed specifically for those sorts of run-ins. Why? Because it leads to collaboration and that's a key ingredient of YouTube Space LA. The hope is that creators will work together, leveraging their individual strengths and assisting fellow partners with their videos. And if the videos look a little more polished as a result, that translates into valuable page views for YouTube.

 

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