While much about The Shirtless Apprentice remains a mystery – his last name, real profession and his reason for toplessness – his knowledge of internet video production seems assured. A twenty-something, known only as Matt and sporting a lavalier microphone duct-taped over his exposed left nipple, The Shirtless Apprentice provides basic advice on how to navigate the expanding world of do-it-yourself internet video production. His only companion is a mute blond friend who helps illustrate topics like how to choose your video camera and tricks of Final Cut Pro editing software.
Started in May 2007 by web video production house, For Your Imagination, the show provides a how-to repository for anyone thinking of starting their own internet-distributed program.
The Shirtless Apprentice starts with the basics, indeed describing “everything you needed to know about video…” Episode One is about choosing the right video camera. Matt displays the pros and cons of the best consumer and prosumer models and even reveals his personal favorite. Episode Two has tips about lighting a green screen for those special effects shots. Later episodes delve into choosing the right post-production equipment and tips for capturing and keying video in Final Cut Pro.
Eventually the sight of Matt half-naked is accepted. Finally someone isn’t afraid to dispense video advice whilst liable to catch cold. As a host, he is straightforward with a bare minimum of jokes or attempted flights of profundity. The shirtlessness may certainly be a gimmick and/or a cheap method of distinguishing the show from the competition, but it’s a good one.
Underneath it all, The Shirtless Apprentice isn’t pure entertainment, but a stripped down how-to with a twist. It offers short and simple tutorials that help one create their own podcast or webshow. Whether you wear a top or not is your business.
Episode Six takes us on a romp through the “magical pastures” of video frame rates, a subject, though enlightening, can even bore tech people half to death. Matt explains the differences with a side by side comparison, featuring the blonde mute, displaying the same scene shot with different frame rates. For those truly interested in creating their own webcast, Matt’s made the lesson bearable.