A few people have asked me why I don’t vape on camera while reviewing e-liquids and e-cigarettes. I recently had a fun conversation on the matter with ECF user MLT910. It was a good question to ask and it was fun thinking about the answers, since they’re things that I take for granted. While one of the reasons I don’t vape on camera is aesthetic, there are several more that are technical. The short, catchall answer is this: it looks dumb and doesn’t tell the viewer anything. If you want a longer answer then here are four reasons why I don’t vape in my reviews.
1) It Looks Stupid — This is purely a matter of opinion, but I think that people look silly when they’re vaping in videos. Many people, myself include, make funny faces while vaping. They’re almost as bad as orgasm faces. It’s awkward and unnatural, and makes videos longer than they ought to be. To be fair, I have used coverage of Raina vaping in a few of my reviews. She’s super cute and most people enjoy looking at her. Most of the reviewers I’ve seen on YouTube…not so much.
2) Equipment and Setup — The main reason people want to see people vape on camera is to get an idea of an e-liquid’s vapor production, but I don’t think vaping on camera delivers that information. There are so many factors that determine vapor production: percentage of vegetable glycerol (VG), the device being used, the voltage or wattage setting, etc. You have to be using the same exact setup as the reviewer — hardware, e-liquid PG/VG ratio, voltage/wattage — to get an idea about the vapor production. Even then, there are technical reasons why this info isn’t conveyed.
3) Compression — Many e-liquid reviews on YouTube are simple webcam recordings that use low-quality video as the source material. My videos are filmed on a pretty good consumer-level HD camera. No matter the source, the videos are compressed when they’re edited. They’re compressed yet again when YouTube processes them. There’s so much detail lost that I don’t think it’s meaningful for an e-liquid reviewer to vape on camera and say it represents a juice’s vapor production. What the reviewer sees while filming is very different from what the viewer sees.
4) Lighting — This is the biggest issue to me and one that most viewers don’t think about. Lighting makes such a huge difference with video. Unless a reviewer’s videos are filmed in a studio under the same lighting conditions, showing vapor is largely meaningless. Again, many YouTube reviews are recorded on a webcam in a person’s room. Vapor in the same room can look very different when recorded under different conditions. The number of lights on, using different types of lightbulbs, the amount of sunlight, the reviewer wearing a white shirt that throws off the camera’s white balance, and more will alter the appearance of vapor. I would bet that most YouTube e-liquid reviewers don’t even think about this.
Additionally, light can be manipulated. Generally speaking, 100 percent VG juice has the most vapor production. With the right lighting, I can make vapor from 100 percent PG juice look just as cloudy.
Conclusion: Considering all the different factors and the way many YouTube e-liquid reviews are recorded, I don’t see a point of vaping on camera. I look silly enough as it is and don’t need to look sillier by vaping in videos. Most importantly, I don’t think it adds anything to reviews. It’s just a waste of seconds that does nothing to inform the viewer.
Thanks again to MLT910 for inspiring today’s Vaping Diary!