This week I headed over to the brand new YouTube Space NY to unlock access, take a tour and marvel at tons of equipment and gear that I didn’t even know the names of.
So, wait, what is a YouTube Space?
In the case of the New York branch, it’s one giant floor inside Chelsea Market that’s been divided into studios. You can film almost anywhere— the lobby, the kitchen and even the bathrooms are set up with proper lighting and invite cameras. Spaces range from smaller setups with mirrors for makeup tutorials, to the real interior of the Heebee Jeebees bar (preserved as an art installation you can shoot within), to an enormous stage fit for musical acts and Livestream events with audiences.
There are currently four YouTube Spaces, with the other branches in Los Angeles, London and Tokyo. Each Space has its own requirements for access. For New York, you need to meet the following criteria before you can apply:
- have a YouTube channel with at least 5,000 subscribers
- have no current copyright or Terms of Service strikes on your qualifying channel(s)
- attend an “Unlock the Space” orientation
- be at least 18 years old
I was there for the “Unlock the Space” orientation, which includes introductions to the different studios, equipment available, policies, booking process and copyright regulations. Oh, and we got pizza!
The studios, I have to say, are really impressive. They’re all decked out with overhead lights and rails, and you can check out just about any kind of camera or gear you might possibly need for a successful video shoot. You do have to supply your own props and crew, though, which is understandable given the restrictions of New York storage (i.e. it’s really friggin’ expensive) and the Space’s limited staff. You’re also responsible for your own setup and breakdown; the staff is adamant about maintaining the studios exactly as you found them.
Honestly, though I’m obviously eager to utilize the studios, I really don’t know how I would; my productions are tiny, one-person deals with me talking into a camera. What the heck would I do with a room the size of my entire apartment?
There are sound mixing rooms, editing suites and more available for booking, too, outfitted with premium software. Again, I don’t know that I would ever make use of these kinds of high-end production tools… but there is plenty of other stuff I can use! The Space also hosts workshops designed to improve camera and editing skills, networking events, parties and more. It’s a great place to grow your channel not just through generating new content, but also through forging new connections and improving the quality of your videos.
Although everything is free, there are restrictions on how many times you can access the Space via a tiered system. At 7,600 subscribers, for example, I can only book a room once a month and I can’t use the largest studio. At around 500,000 subscribers, I would have access to the entire Space and could book up to six days a month. Everyone, however, is invited to attend tutorial workshops and other events.
There are a few other rules of the Space, too: if you book a room, you must use it to produce a video that debuts on your own YouTube channel. While you have full directorial and editorial control over your content, you must submit that video for approval before it can be pushed live– this is mostly so staff can review it for any potential copyright or trademark violations. Copyright and trademark violations, by the way, are very big deals. Respect and courtesy are musts, of course, and those extend to both the physical space (cleaning up after yourself, as mentioned before) and how you book or cancel reservations (give ’em enough notice and make note of any special accommodations, like animals or children).
Overall, there’s a lot to love about YouTube Space NY. Soundproof studios are hard to come by in New York City, let alone free access to them, plus tutorials, equipment, food and drink. Not to mention that you could make friends with fellow creators… or run into familiar faces, like I did at orientation!
I’m really glad that YouTube is providing east coast creators with such amazing tools and, if you’re a New Yorker who qualifies for the program, I definitely encourage you to sign up for the next available orientation (and do so quickly, because slots fill up fast). I just hope I can find a way to make use of the Space and produce great content for you guys.
In fact, if you have any ideas for future videos using what the Space has to offer, go ahead and drop ’em in the comments below! You can check out what I’ve already done on my YouTube channel here.