13 YouTube Channels We Geek Out Over in Quarantine

Each video tears into a specific subject to explain in-depth how it works, such as how tailwinds affect the angle of approach on a short, difficult runway and what all that jargon means when pilots are talking to air traffic controllers as they depart and approach airports. You have to watch to find out her answer to the age-old rivalry of which is better to fly: Boeing or Airbus.

There are (roughly) a million YouTubers unboxing the latest and greatest consumer tech, but if you ask me, it’s the older hardware that’s more interesting. The 8-Bit Guy is devoted to ’80s and ’90s—and sometimes early 2000s—tech that got left behind, long before anyone thought those early machines would be worth preserving. Folks like the 8-Bit Guy help show us rare old tech, like digital cameras that used full-size floppy disks. His videos show him unboxing rare, old computers and the occasional robot, taking apart and refurbishing old Bell & Howell and Compaq PCs, plus breaking down how vintage videogame controllers worked. Want to find out what telephone phreaking was? Head over to his channel.

Gene Nagata has been a professional videographer for more than a decade, but it’s the cheaper equipment that seems to get him the most excited. Like he often says, you don’t need premium-priced gear anymore to shoot good footage. Filmmaking and vlogging are more democratic these days than ever. But his best videos tend toward the extremes, from enormous professional cameras that could be used as battering rams on a castle to handheld gimbals for making movies with an iPhone. And then there are the peeks into the industry, such as how Hollywood films car chases. He’s a relaxed natural in front of the camera, and you can tell he’s always having a good time. It’s infectious.

A part of Serious Eats’ channel, the Food Lab’s Katie Quinn and J. Kenji Alt-López take a scientific approach toward cooking methods, such as whether searing a steak actually locks in its juices. And then there are how-to videos for kitchen equipment, including how to sharpen a kitchen knife on a whetstone, a skill that trips up a lot of home chefs if they even know that it’s a part of regular maintenance. Plus, you get a few of their favorite recipes to break things up once in a while. Why did it take this long for someone to invent a Nutella-and-brie grilled cheese?

You’d think people would take better care of fancy and old paintings, but a lot of them arrive to new collectors in rough shape. Paint degrades under sunlight and artificial light, and throughout the centuries, misguided cheapos have paid for subpar restorations that only further ruin good art. But it can often be salvaged if the person knows how to remove degraded layers of paint and seamlessly touch up other areas so that it blends in naturally with the rest of the painting. Baumgartner Restoration shows a wide variety of methods on healing wooden split-panels, torn canvas, and masterpieces from the old masters.

Odds are you’ll never make Polynesian arrowroot flour or build a round hut in the forest, but it’s fascinating to watch what people can make out of a little more than dirt, water, and their own two hands. Everything in these videos is created from natural materials, and the creator is self-taught. The videos are shot in Far North Queensland, Australia, and although he doesn’t live in the wild, by now he’s got a cool collection of rather large huts of various designs, primitive agricultural fields, stoves, and kilns.

There’s something so revealing about a walk through a big city. In these videos, there are no cuts, no dialog, and no voiceover. It’s just a steady-cam walking down the streets and sidewalks of Mexico City, Buenos Aires, New York, London, Lisbon, and more in one long take. There are bits of overheard conversations from businesspeople on their morning commutes and families relaxing in the park, and it’s a treat when the camera ducks off the sidewalks and into a food market or a Sunday art fair. Videos tend to run about 20 minutes, although some run more than double that.

John Darko dislikes audio snobs. He hates magazine clichés. He flat-out doesn’t have the money to do blind tests and measure up all those crazy statistics that audiophiles love to hear when discussing stereo equipment. And he will be the first to tell you he has a different definition of high-end audio equipment. This channel is for the person who wants better sound and is willing to pay more than a few hundred bucks for it but isn’t going to go on a hunger strike to afford an uber-expensive system the size of a falafel cart.


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