Fan Fridays: RadicalSoda

Fan Fridays: RadicalSoda

by September 8, 2017

This week, we’re shining a spotlight on RadicalSoda, a New Zealand-based YouTuber and artist with lots of detailed work to his name. His videos often feature deep dives into Sonic games and other SEGA properties, with a 30-minute diatribe on Sonic Colors serving as one of my personal highlights.  The newer videos feature a fast-paced, energetic editing style that ups the entertainment value further, and these videos are definitely worth a look.

We’ve included three of his recent videos for your consideration: the aforementioned Sonic Colors analysis, a look at the original Sonic the Hedgehog, and some Sonic Mania gameplay. You can find more of RadicalSoda‘s videos on his YouTube channel, and you can check out his artwork on his website. We also conducted an interview with RadicalSoda about his work, and you can check that out after the jump. As always, we’re on the lookout for fan works to spotlight, so if you have a project you want the world to know about, send us a link at!

This interview has been edited for clarity.

TSSZ: When did you first get into video production, and why?

RadicalSoda: I first started making videos a little way into highschool, when I was 13 or 14 years old. I had a different channel back then, which was for my group of friends. I was the only one that seemed to put any effort in, though, so I shifted onto my own. The videos I created were, of course, not of high quality. My big inspiration at the time was mainly from all the Sonic animations floating around at the time – Sonic Shorts, Sonic in Brief, etc. I just wanted to join in, I suppose.

TSSZ: Each video is different, but take us through an average production cycle – how do you produce a video, what tools and programs do you use, and how long does it typically take?

RadicalSoda: Well, of course I first have to pick a game to make a video on, and whether it’ll be a review or a scripted gameplay video (Honeybun). This doesn’t take long of course, although sometimes I’ll shift a review into a Honeybun if I feel there’s a bunch of comedic bits involved in the gameplay which’d make the review too long. Kingdom Hearts is a good example of this. I usually record with GeForce Experience or Fraps, depending on the game.

The gameplay recording can take from two hours to half a week depending, again, on whether I have to completely finish it for a review or not. The script is usually written in a day, then edited and changed around the next day. I used to just fix spelling errors and grammatical mistakes without changing much, but I found that led to videos far under the bar of quality I want. Nowadays, up to 90% of the script might get changed on the second runthrough. I usually film/record audio between two days, again, depending on how much live action stuff I need, and editing in Sony Vegas can take another three or four days – less if I’m lucky. I use a Blue Yeti for audio, and a Nikon camera for the live action stuff. It’s definitely not the best quality, it can get real grainy at times. I should really buy a light.

So in brief, Honeybuns take about a week, Reviews usually 10 plus days.

TSSZ: Was there any video of yours that proved particularly challenging to make or get right? If so, which was it and how did you go about finishing it?

RadicalSoda: The Bayonetta and Sonic 1 reviews. Bayonetta was mainly because of how involved the video was. I’ve done long stuff before like the Sonic Colours video, but that was mainly informative stuff. Bayonetta had a ton of live action jokes littered through. The intro was also originally completely different, and also ten times worse. I’m glad I changed it.

Then, while filming Sonic 1‘s live action parts, the camera decided 60fps was too much to handle and corrupted every bit of footage I’d taken that day. I had to do all the live action stuff again on the same day, and oh boy, was it tiring.

TSSZ: You also have a broad portfolio of artwork. How long have you been creating art, and how did you go about developing your artistic style?

RadicalSoda: I’ve been drawing since I was five. Looking back, I wasn’t really any good, but everyone else seemed to think so, so I went with it. My favorite thing to draw was, of course, Sonic. He’s a really good character to draw, especially if you want to learn about proportions and basic character shapes.

I kept on with it, eventually ending up at an animation school in Auckland. The first year was great and I learned a bunch, but the second felt extremely lazy on the school’s part and I didn’t feel like I was learning anything at all. It was fun, sure, but there was no challenge. I even snagged a trophy for top of the class. I decided to stop after getting my diploma, realising I probably wasn’t going to learn anything other than what I teach myself, as you do when constantly drawing day in and day out.

Earlier that year, I realised I was having great trouble drawing females, so I started teaching myself, and a couple months later, it was the biggest thing I’d learned all year. Of course, if you’ve seen my porfolio you know I just can’t friggin’ stop.

TSSZ: What was the first Sonic game you ever played, and which one is currently your favorite?

RadicalSoda: I can’t be 100% certain, but it was either Sonic 3 and Knuckles or Sonic Heroes, both first played when I must’ve been around seven or eight. I hold 3 and Knuckles in high regard of course, but Heroes is by far my favorite. It’s got the best music and level themes in any Sonic game in my opinion.