I am the author of three middle-grade children's books, and I blog on the side. My favorite topics are movies, writing, and pop culture.
The Art of ASMR
The ability to create great ASMR videos is a skilled art just like any other creative genre. It blends many other artistic skills to develop a therapeutic video that engages the senses and sparks the phenomenon that the ASMR community craves.
It seems like a video that anyone can make. We all have crinkly bags, hair brushes, and cameras sitting around the house, but very few can pick up these objects and turn them into sleep-inducing works of art that triggers the ASMR response. It takes a mixture of film making, hand work, hidden talents, and speaking skills to make it work. Below are 9 things that every great ASMR channel has.
A professional video from ASMR Psychetruth
This is not so much a skill as it is an attractive feature of the channel. It makes sense that the best ASMR artists use decent equipment to film. It shows how dedicated they are to their craft and desire to help their audience fall asleep. They purchase binaural microphones that can detect sounds from all angles which make you feel as though you are in the room with them and their voice can be heard all around you.
A clear picture helps as well. Many of the early channels put out grainy videos with terrible lighting and muffled sounds. Their videos improve as the channel develops and the artists learns new techniques for shooting an ASMR video, from positioning the camera at the best angles to focusing various objects in both the foreground and background. Just framing themselves in the video can be a challenge as well.
Some ASMR Artists create title cards featuring their YouTube name with calming music and images to kick off each video. Others buy projector screens and create realistic backdrops, such as doctor’s offices, wooded areas, and other calming places that coincide with the theme of their video. This isn’t to say that only the best ASMR artists use these visual effects, but the more professional-looking the video, the more likely I am to subscribe to that channel.
RelaxingASMR's Awesome Backgrounds
A Quiet, Eye Catching Background
ASMR Artists don’t ignore any corner of their screen space. A lot of them cover their tables with interesting cloths in calming colors and patterns.
They stand against a bright wall. They’ll tack pictures to their backgrounds. They’ll change directions or even settings in one video.
All of this is done without taking away from the subject of the video itself. They also choose a quiet area, though no artist seems to have escaped the occasional pet sound, slammed door, or passing plane sounds that find their way into the video, but these are all easily forgiven for the sense of calm that they bring to our own environment.
(Fe)male ASMR's Interesting Props
Many who seek out ASMR videos are likely to search for certain types of videos, depending on what sets off their own personal ASMR triggers. They look for specifics such as page turning, pillow scratching, and hairdresser role plays.
It is a smart move for ASMR artists to create their own versions of these classic videos for their channel as they are likely to obtain viewers who are looking for these themes. However, some of my favorite ASMR videos exhibit the artist’s personal interests and collections which open me up to a new concept, art form, or collection.
I never knew about Japanese candy, ink paintings, or photography tools until I started to watch ASMR videos. This way, I feel as though I am learning something as I’m trying to fall asleep. When the artists use props that they are comfortable with and which interest them, it makes the video that much more intriguing for the viewer.
MassageASMR's Impressive Hand Work
I could never be an ASMR artist with my hands. They are small, nail bitten, and exposed to a five-month long winter each year. Great ASMR artists have great hand work and good looking hands. The women take great pride in shaping and polishing their nails. The guys maintain a neat and clean appearance as well. They also know how to use them to their advantage, scratching and smoothing in slow, fluid movements. A good pair of hands is crucial for a successful ASMR channel.
WhispersRed ASMR's Confident, Convincing Voice
A Clear, Strong, and Confident Speaking/Whisper Voice
In many ASMR videos, the ASMR artists often remark that they have a difficult time maintaining a soft speaking or whisper voice. It’s actually jarring to hear their real voice on another channel or in a rare, normal speaking video.
However, the great ones have a calm, steady voice that they can maintain throughout the lengthy videos. They don’t appear to be reading from a script, yet they hit on specific points throughout their video, whether it be rambling through a drawing project, giving tips during a makeup tutorial, or counting down their favorite movies or bands.
They’re also not afraid to go off topic and speak about their personal lives or share a thought that spontaneously comes to them. They are very comfortable in front of a camera, even if they never show their face.
ALBinWhisperland's Diverse Group of Artsy Videos
A Diverse Group of Videos
Many ASMR artists are known for a specific type of ASMR videos. Some love to create sounds with multiple objects. Some are massage artists, and some are all about role plays.
It’s nice when the artists play to their strengths, but I prefer it when they mix up their types of videos, bouncing from working with their hands to show-and-tell to role playing. It keeps the channel from becoming redundant and entices me to hit the “subscribe” button.
Latte ASMR's Long Videos
It is generally agreed that ASMR viewers love long videos. Few of the most popular artists post videos that are under 15 minutes long these days. Some will go on for almost an hour. Others compile “best of” or theme videos that run for several hours. The viewers are always very grateful for these. If we could unwind or fall asleep in under 15 minutes, we wouldn’t have such a demand for these videos.
Gentle Whispering ASMR Posts Videos Weekly
Consistent Posting of Videos
Great ASMR artists make a lot of videos. This keeps traffic flowing and interest in their channel high.
Most of my favorite artists post regularly, at least once a week. I’m always on the look out for a new video from my favorite artists, and with the number of great ones out there, there’s always a new video to view.
It’s true that you can lose the tingling feeling that comes with ASMR. This has happened to me. However, I can’t say that it has disappeared all together.
Sometimes I’ll lose it with a particular artist and have to rely on the others to help me get the tingles back. The diversity of videos and the regularity with which they are posted can help viewers to find whatever it is they need to get that feeling they get by watching these videos.
MoonLight Cottage ASMR Really Commits
My favorite ASMR artists have something that makes them unique and keeps me coming back to their channels night after night. They may have a particular skill or interest that works in their favor. They could have a very unique voice, an ongoing personal story to tell, or visit a lot of places and bring back souvenirs that they share with their viewers.
Making ASMR videos are not for the dull and lazy, or their channels never last. The greatest artists pour their heart and soul into their videos. Even if they don’t create extravagant videos, they are still giving it their all and making them as interesting and engaging as they can.
What do you look for in your favorite ASMR videos? Which ASMR artists do you think do the best job of creating these relaxation videos? Leave your comments below!
MerriweatherPostPavillion on January 20, 2016:
ASMR is a great thing but most videos are not very good. I like my videos like this: https://youtu.be/uEtPs1AtxBI
Nothing too special, but that makes it easy to concentrate on the crackling of the tin foil. Presentation is good too, if you don't like to see the person folding it there's a section with sounds only at the end. I wish more ASMR videos were like this but different strokes for different people, I suppose.
Laura Smith (author) from Pittsburgh, PA on December 04, 2014:
It's almost like a secret society because it's hard to explain and not understood by those who don't have it. Check it out, and join the club!
FlourishAnyway from USA on December 04, 2014:
You have piqued my interest, as I have never heard of ASMR.