Behind the Cameras of MaxTech: How a Million Subscriber Tech Channel Makes Videos
Technology is deeply intertwined with our daily lives and is one of the most competitive niches on YouTube. However, with over 1 million subscribers, 1083 videos, and over 283,163,989 channel-wide views, there is no denying that MaxTech has established itself as one of the most prominent tech YouTube channels, with each new video they upload garnering Hundreds of Thousands of views.
Even with so much success, MaxTech has kept its team to three people, namely Max, Vadim and Angelica who put a combined effort into creating and producing the videos on their YouTube channel. The videos on the channel have been genuine and hyper-detailed with videos being published almost everyday on topics across the tech world. Max Tech’s Vadim Yuryev is also an active Twitter user, participating in discussions with viewers speculating about products, giving opinions or interacting with other creators.
I got in touch with him soon after Max Tech hit 1 Million subscribers on the 2nd of August, 2021 to know exactly what goes behind a MaxTech video and to get to know some personal insights on one of the most successful Tech Channels on YouTube.
Performance and Numbers
The YouTube Tech-space is a competitive niche. With thousands of channels, millions of videos and billions of watch hours, analytics become an important tool to use in order to remain relevant. Every channel needs to find a balance between creating quality, creative content and catering to what the audience (and algorithm) wants them to make. Here’s a view at some important MaxTech stats:
- MaxTech gains an average of about 9 Million views per month with an average subscriber growth of about 2300 per month.
- Almost all of their videos get an average of 100 thousand views per video.
- Vadim says that the best performing videos are almost always related to Apple, specifically the iPhone and comparisons related to them.
- The recent iPhone buyer’s guide performed less than what it was expected to. The exact reason cannot be pinpointed, but it may have something to do with the ever-decreasing number of people upgrading phones each year.
- Their worst performing video has been a leak video about Samsung phones. Leak videos are already a very niche category of videos, but still perform well when related to Apple. Viewers did not show the same interest in the Samsung leaks video.
- Videos of accessories and certain sponsored videos tend to under-perform because the tech audience’s attention is usually drawn to the bigger, more mainstream products.
Being a tech channel, MaxTech shows some interesting details that show a common trend that represents the tech audience in general.
Weeks between May and September tend to show the least user engagement and subscriber growth in the channel. This is a period that can be termed a “Tech drought”. No major events are happening, companies aren’t launching products and tech content creators don’t have too many interesting topics to make videos about. In this period, MaxTech usually only gains 2000-3000 subscribers per week. The channel keeps its head above the water mainly by making leaks and rumors videos, which bring anticipation for the upcoming products being released.
From September, the “Tech Season” starts. Companies keep hosting events and launching products, giving more than enough exciting material for creators like MaxTech to create interesting content. When iPhone reviews came out in October, they saw MaxTech experiencing a year-high 43,000 new subscribers which goes to show how the tech space has different seasons that can lead to very low points in some months but at the same time extremely high points in other months.
Video Styles of MaxTech
MaxTech makes several types of videos in the genre of tech. Although the channel primarily focuses on Apple tech with videos revolving around rumours, reviews, comparisons, etc., the channel also makes videos on tech products from Samsung, Asus, and other competing brands in the tech space.
The channel started off with comparison videos in 2018, related to the iPhone X and its camera system. They quickly moved on to building a Windows PC for various gaming purposes including Call Of Duty and Fortnite.
The channel started seeing significant success with its Apple related videos, pointing out problems in the iPhone XR screens. As of today, their channel follows a few major video formats that appear to be the most successful in the tech genre:
Reviews and Tests
Max Tech reviews and tests are some of the most detailed on YouTube, covering every aspect of products ranging from phones, tablets, laptops and even watches. Most of these reviews are of Apple Products but sometimes revolve around Samsung, Google or Microsoft products.
Each review video often extends beyond the 15-minute mark, and comprises many different types of tests. The review videos start with a clear showcase of the table of contents with time stamps for various tests. The channel makes it a point to test everyday features like speaker quality, microphone quality and storage speeds in every view videos, which most large channels often skip.
The reviews themselves are often spread across multiple videos, and cover every major aspect of a product over a period of time (A review of a product after 1, week, 1 month, 1 year and so on) to give a wholistic view of a product, a strategy other tech reviewers can use to increase the quantity of videos.
Laptop and desktop reviews often focus on the performance of the machine as well as real world use, convenience and thermals. The reviews of the M1 MacBooks stand out in this category, which were some of the most informative and entertaining tech videos in 2020. The channel covers specific use cases too, including video editing, photo editing, coding and even gaming.
Smartphone reviews by Max Tech also stand out. MaxTech often talks about and mentions the performance of smartphone chips, which a majority of tech channels tend to ignore. Besides that, a MaxTech smartphone review focuses on the cameras of a phone along with everyday use.
Tablet (particularly iPad) reviews by MaxTech do focus on performance, but the main talking point is always comparing it to a laptop. How close is a tablet to being a full time computer? It certainly is a question the tech industry has been trying to answer for the better part of the last four years.
Besides all these products, Max Tech reviews accessories like headphones, speakers, car mounts, etc. These videos tend to be excellent to make informed buying decisions. The AirPods reviews are often the most successful videos from this category, showcasing the improvements in the late AirPods Pro 2’s and the AirPods 3.
Another sub-category within review videos is the series where Max Tech dedicated videos to point out problems in every product because no matter how good tech is, it will always have a scope for improvement. This led to videos exposing the significantly worse cooling capacity of the 14-inch MacBook Pro and the controversial M2 MacBook SSD issues.
MaxTech is well known for its comparison-style videos, which tend to be the most entertaining ones. In these videos, two similar products are set to compete in a series of challenges to prove which is a better value for money. For the better part of 2020 and 2021, these videos showcased the Apple Silicone chips in MacBooks humiliating their windows counterparts in real-world tests. These videos also compare displays, speakers, microphones, cameras and just about every major aspect of a product. What sets these videos apart is usually the competitive aspect. Which product is better? Which is better value? Which one can win? One of the most unexpected yet entertaining videos of this category happened to be comparing a $15,000 Mac Pro with a $3,500 MacBook Pro, and the results are impressive.
Besides performance tests, these comparisons show year-over-year improvement when two generations of products are put up against each other, or show the true value a product has put up against a more expensive product from the same company. For example, iPad 10 vs. iPad 9 or iPad Air vs. iPad Pro. Comparison videos also help a customer decide which product category to buy into, for example the numerous iPad vs MacBook videos.
The most successful sub-category of comparisons on MaxTech are the unbiased blind camera comparisons. These are videos in which one member of the team takes the same photos with multiple phones, and the three members of the MaxTech team sit down to pick their favourite photos. The only catch being they cannot tell which picture was taken by which phone, making it truly unbiased. These are also the only types of videos in which all three of the Max Tech channel owners are seen together. These videos also have the highest engagement, as the audience is encouraged to play along with the team as they pick their favourite photos. These comparison videos tend to be the best way to show which phone has the best camera system, which has become one of the largest selling points of any phone. The comparisons often tend to put Apple, Google and Samsung’s flagships up against each other and are a judge of not only camera hardware, but also software processing in the most unbiased manner.
There are many who don’t know their way around technology, and Max Tech happens to be one of the few 1 Million Subscriber + channels that still make how-to videos for the average user. They made guides to help MacOS users set up Parallels so that they are able to run Windows on Apple Silicone Macs, and their most recent How To video tackles the problem of recovering lost data on a MacBook.
Rumours and Speculations
The tech world always has some leaks and rumours floating around on Twitter. Most large YouTube channels don’t think it’s worth it to make a whole video discussing the possibilities of future products. However, Max Tech has become a channel where leaks and rumours are collated to form comprehensive opinions on the expectations to set for future products. The channel makes full-length videos discussing the most likely moves companies like Apple might make in the path of upgrading their product line up’s, and telling audiences when the best time to buy a product is. MaxTech cites Mark Gurman, Ming-Chi Kuo and ShrimpApplePro in various videos related to leaks and rumours of future Apple products. The channel almost predicted the whole 2021 iMac redesign, and their most recent prediction is an 18 month refresh cycle for the MacBook Pro’s, and that the new MacBooks may come early next year with 3nm chips.
Theorizing on the possibilities of future products may not be appealing to an average consumer, but to an avid tech enthusiast, this is the purest form of entertainment. These speculation videos not only talk about designs of future products but also predict performance numbers, pricing and marketing strategies Apple may use to sell its future products. They also theorise on the introduction of new product categories, including an Apple VR headset.
This final video category is fairly straightforward and often garners the most views due to the simple, helpful nature of the videos. These videos revolve around simplifying a lineup of products, usually from Apple, and recommending the best value product for each price point. They often help those looking to buy from the category of products and those who don’t know exactly what they want. These videos also end up comparing a whole lineup of similar products together. The most useful of these was the iPad Buyer’s guide, which broke down the difficult-to-navigate iPad lineup, but other iPhone and Mac Buyer’s guides do end up being useful to thousands while often being the best performing videos.
Production and Making of MaxTech Videos
Large tech channels are often known to utilize bleeding edge technology and overkill 12K cameras to make the highest quality videos imaginable. Although MaxTech has not been known to use any special shooting equipment, the videos are high quality with a simple yet recognisable format. These videos often use editing tricks and visual effects to boost retention that most smaller channels can pick up on too.
Since it is a tech channel, the use high end hardware to provide sharp video, polished editing and sophisticated sound effects that contribute to a holistic viewing experience is expected. Here’s how they do it
Shooting of a MaxTech Video
- The channel uses a Sony A7S3 camera for clean 4k footage at upto 120fps and 8K upto 24fps. This means sharp footage, clear B-rolls and an overall polished output
- Videos addressing leaks of certain products are filmed on the spot. Same with hands on comparisons, but they do follow a set flow.
- Videos covering Apple Events are often scripted, and so are review videos. These scripts emphasise flow and storytelling. These scripts also try to fit in as much information as possible in the least amount of time possible. Tech YouTube is competitive and keeping a viewer’s attention is key.
- The way a video is actually shot is unique too. The channel films some footage until the editor is ready to edit. Then the chunk of raw footage that has been shot is sent to the editor. While the editor polishes up the footage, shooting of the video continues till the editor catches up. This process repeats until the video is fully made. This hyper-efficient process is essential for MaxTech to achieve its daily upload goal.
- The time taken for shooting a high quality video is sometimes neglected by people who aren’t the YouTube community. In fact, a good 10 minute video takes almost an hour to shoot due to errors and re-do’s, as well as the shooting of well thought-out B-roll
- An oddball in this video shooting process is the blind camera comparison video type, since it’s an unscripted video yet requires a lot of prep work. After launch, the phones are taken to interesting locations to take photos in a variety of conditions. Each phone takes the same photo in its automatic shooting mode. A crucial part of this process is to ensure other members of the team do not see the photo. This is in order to prevent bias in the final video comparing the cameras of smartphones.
- An important metric for any YouTube channel is retention, which shows how long a viewer watches the video before clicking off. To keep their retention high, MaxTech puts in an effort to make the first 10 seconds of the video as engaging as possible with quality B-roll and fast-paced editing. In Vadim’s words “First 10 seconds need to connect to the title of video”. This is also followed by a breakdown of the topics that will be covered in the video to set the viewer’s expectations.
Thumbnails and Editing
The thumbnail is the most important part of a YouTube video according to many YouTubers. Thumbnails are the pictures that grab the viewer’s attention and determine whether a viewer watches or not. The thumbnail is almost entirely responsible for a video’s click through rate and tend to be a delicate balance of vibrant colours, genuine information and occasional click-bait.
MaxTech thumbnails are often made before the videos themselves, and are simple with text highlighting the main idea of the video. They often add a face to the thumbnail expressing a strong emotion and have recently started putting an emphasis on certain products’ problems in thumbnails.
Vadim mentions that the thumbnail and titles must work together to get you to click on the video. The thumbnail has got to add to the title, and often includes an aspect of mystery to make you want to find out the answer. Besides, adding controversy to a thumbnail can also boost click through rate which can be seen in videos addressing the M2 MacBook SSD issues.
Vadim also mentioned they intentionally make the thumbnails brighter, and make sure the text has significant contrast to the image so the output is significantly more eye-catching.
The MaxTech channel is also known to put a heavy emphasis on video editing in its performance tests for computers, so we all have high expectations for the quality of their videos and the channel does not disappoint.
The team edits on Final Cut Pro, Apple’s proprietary “professional” editing software that is used by many content creators for its magnetic timeline, tight integration with Apple hardware, fast export times and large suite of plug-ins. The new Apple Silicone Macs are their machine of choice to edit with since their fast chips, silent designs and dedicated video encoders help speed up the editing workflow.
The editing done on MaxTech videos is clean and minimalistic. The videos often include a table of contents towards the beginning giving a clear idea of what to expect in the video. The B-roll choice always supports the content being delivered and there is a clean transition from shot to shot. However, the videos are never over-edited with too many titles or sound effects. Their philosophy revolves around using title tracks only when certain information needs to be added.
Graphs and metric tables are also an integral part of this channel, which have been perfected over the years.
Editing is also their way to cover up mistakes made while filming, especially in videos that were filmed on the spot. Clean cuts with B-roll to fill in the gaps keeps up a nice pace while also giving a polished output. The colour grading of MaxTech videos is also subtle, keeping a viewer’s focus on the person but never being too artificial, which is important for every video clip.
The editing also nicely controls the pace of the video, which often tends to be quite fast to appeal to YouTube viewers and algorithm alike.
Future of the MaxTech Channel
The tech industry is a competitive space, but MaxTech has established a firm grip on it. Their channel will most likely continue to see steady growth as the team publishes videos daily. They continue getting a bigger and bigger platform all while bloggers like us keep analysing their staggering growth from 2018.
The channel is one of the few tech channels which can produce content in every single “tech season” while also having some steady growth. Almost every Tech YouTuber on the platform has seen some negative levels of growth, and the space has generally become more competitive. Vadim said “Tech space is very competitive but getting easier since some tech creators are giving up”. This goes to show just how important establishing an audience early on is. With consistent growth and a loyal fanbase, it is highly unlikely MaxTech will ever be less influential in the Tech space.
The channel has recently started including a sponsor in every video, which is sure to increase their revenue. This sponsor is usually mentioned after the fist minute of the video, or a video is dedicated to the sponsor. This is sure ton add to the revenue generated by the channel, further fuelling their growth. However, how well their audience receives this new strategy of making revenue is yet to be seen.
The channel is also hosting interviews of big names in the tech space, for example Mark Gurman, which further supplements the channel’s growth. Collaboration is always the best way to grow in any niche.
Vadim also mentioned some of their inspirations in the tech space by whom the MaxTech channel is heavily influenced. They include “MKBHD for quality broll, Linus Tech Tips for high-volume production, Geekerwan for technical testing, Dave2D for keeping things simple yet providing huge value.”
As the channel continues to grow, the team still remains humble and continue interacting with their fans. Vadim’s twitter is extremely active in replying to comments and mentions. They are also open to constructive criticism and collaborating with creators of any size. The team remains in touch with all aspects of the tech world, keeping an objective view of all tech. Many people have accused the channel for being “biased” and “Apple fanboys”, but a quick look at their criticisms of Apple products says otherwise. A good example is the M2 MacBook Air SSD issue, which the MaxTech channel emphasised on a lot when the laptop came out.Share this Post