YouTube is a huge online platform for posting videos of all types. Individuals can take advantage of this fantastic platform to express themselves artistically and make a living from it.
This article provides a guide to making quality YouTube videos. Our objective here is to walk you through the many components of making a YouTube video ranging from brainstorming the video content to the equipment and software needed. Our purpose here is to walk you through the various aspects of making a YouTube video.
Finally, we’ll touch upon the video creation process. We look to simplify the entire process for beginners and provide tips that may help the more advanced Youtuber as well.
This article is, in large part, a summary of Think Media’s excellent guide. We have been following their advice to grow some of our Youtube channels.
However, rather than watch a two-hour video, we thought there should be an article that summarizes the great video’s main points. We added a lot of our own information and omitted some of the video’s content.
If you want to watch the video, here it is below.
The first thing to tackle is what kind of content you should create. The answer may be easy for those with a specific talent or who just want to post videos for fun. However, those wishing to consistently build content that attracts viewers, get subscribers, and/or want to monetize their video must approach the process with a more methodical process.
The following are suggestions on the thought process for creating your brand identity and the topics one should consider with each video they produce.
Educational Video vs. Expression of Creativity
What’s your objective in creating the video? Ask yourself what you are trying to present. Are you making a video to represent your talent, such as singing or playing a musical instrument?
Are you using your knowledge and experience to teach something? Many have found success in developing instructional videos on doing specific tasks. These training videos may consist of product demonstrations or cooking lessons.
Video podcasting is also a popular option. Either way, keep in mind your target audience or the demographic you want to attract as you’re going through the process.
Creating a Catchy Title
A catchy title is necessary to draw new viewers. There are a few resources for finding keywords or topics you could create a title from.
- Common search results – Look for common searches on your subject by merely using the YouTube search option and other search engines like Google. Look up search terms you want to create videos for on Youtube and see what videos do well.
- Comment section – Look at Youtube’s comments section and see to look for knowledge gaps you can cover. Questions that are voted up or asked often indicate demand for an answer.
However, a catchy title is nothing if there’s no substance behind it. Take the time to brainstorm interesting topics you would like to cover.
For more tips on creating catchy titles that get clicks, go to Brian Dean’s guide on Youtube SEO.
Broad vs. Niche Topics
Not only does a catchy title attract people’s eyes as they scroll and search for content within YouTube, but having the proper keywords will increase your chances in YouTube’s recommended section and search results. Keywords are essential to implement in your video title and in the description section. Put some thoughts into it before publishing the video.
We won’t be going into much detail on search engine optimization (SEO). Still, the critical thing to know is that having a proper title and niche topic will help you appear in search results. Therefore, we recommend you take this SEO advantage and focus on a niche rather than broad topics.
Our recommendation is to find a target audience for your video content and then focus on developing interesting subjects that would be easily searchable by search engines.
Before doing any video recording, it’s beneficial to create a video script or at least an outline of the various content needed to be considered to fulfill your video. Doing so would provide a result where you’re more efficient with your recording time. Being more organized also makes the editing process much more manageable.
These outlines should consider topics like setting up your video shot, the sequences of events, and the narration behind it. If you’re not great at filling out dialogue on the fly, then spend some time jotting down things to say. Even if you want to free flow on your content, it’s always great to have some bullet points to rely on.
Consider the complexity of the topic you’re covering. Try to find a good balance between providing relevant information with entertainment. Is your subject unique? Are your tutorial instructions any different than the competition, or what’s out there?
It’s also essential to make a good hook initially, but have a video with depth so that the YouTube users stopping by will try to watch the entire video. The importance of this is how YouTube ranks specific video content. One of their main algorithms evaluates how much of the video is actually watched by the user relative to its total length! So the more of the video viewers watch, the better the ranking.
A-Roll vs. B-Roll
As you’re building your video script, don’t forget to keep in mind the big picture of the message you’re trying to convey, the audience you’re targeting, and what brand you’re building.
Are you trying to create videos meant to be shared on other social media platforms or have viral capability? Knowing whether or not you’re trying to create short or long clips could be used as a basis for the duration of the recordings.
One important concept to understand in the world of filmmaking is the difference between A-Roll and B-Roll. Knowing this difference will help you strategize how to shoot your video and incorporate relevant content.
A-Roll consists of any audio and video content of the main storyline. The B-Roll consists of materials that would help support and enhance its A-Roll counterpart. As you’re building out the A-Roll portion, think about all the additional clips you could record and use to overlay or edit on top of the A-Roll to make your videos interesting to the viewers.
Let’s spend some time to find out about things to consider as you set up the scenery of your recording shot. Whether you’re shooting stationary videos or doing action shots, there are basic things to acknowledge.
Many filmmakers use multiple camera angles for their scenes and edit it afterward to create the storyline in the perspective they desire. Therefore, plan ahead on how you should best position the video camera and its relative distance from the subject.
Proper lighting is also critical whether you’re shooting your video indoor or outdoor. Pay attention to the room lighting and any shadow effect from your lighting source. One example is to stay away from the window when the sun is shining through as it interrupts and gives improper lighting of the main subject.
Video Equipment and Accessories
With the available technologies these days, viewers are no longer accepting the grainy videos or videos recorded from lower quality phones. Naturally, better recording equipment lends itself to improved video quality. However, a YouTuber with the combination of video equipment, experience, editing skills, and creativity can easily surpass those with the best equipment.
Let’s start off with some essential equipment you should have readily available or plan to buy prior to shooting any video. Below is a list of equipment to consider and recommendations for each type at a reasonable price. These well-priced equipment is a step up in quality and provides a longer-term usage.
Don’t forget to look for bundle deals to save money!
Depending on the type of video you’re shooting, the required parameters of your weapon of choice varies. Don’t splurge on something you can’t truly afford. Look online for reviews and recommendations of ones that provide quality videos and recording options. Buy used if you need to.
A highly recommended option is the Canon M50. This camera is fantastic because you could record high-resolution videos as well as capture beautiful pictures that could be used for your video clip’s thumbnail! Another great feature of the M50 is that it’s an interchangeable lens camera, which we will discuss next.
Another great option for an entry-level camera from the Canon brand is the Canon SL3 (also called EOS 250D). While they are both in the same price range, the difference is that the M50 is a mirrorless camera while the SL3 is a DSLR.
The good news is that both cameras have interchangeable lenses. And you can use a mirrorless lens with a DSLR and vice versa with Canon’s adapter.
Both cameras can record in 4k, have built-in wireless, and a fully articulating screen.
The main difference in the camera is the burst mode (or continuous shooting). The M50 can take 10 fps (frames per second) in burst mode, while the SL3 takes 5 fps. The average burst rate for decent cameras are anywhere from 3 to 8 fps. However, if you are recording video, this isn’t too important.
If you intend to only shoot videos in front of the computer and don’t need all the bells and whistles of a DSLR, then a webcam would be a good option for you.
The webcam we recommend is the Logitech C922. It has its own mic, shoots at 1080p at 30 fps, has auto-focus, auto white balance, and has background removal/replacement (additional software required).
An expensive lens kit isn’t necessary if you’re just starting out and just shooting in your office or home but is great for manipulating the video or image you capture. If you have some money in your budget to spend, look into different lens kits or attachments that are suitable with your recording device.
Some examples of lenses include macro lens, wide lens, and specific filter lens. These lenses could give you a dramatic effect and contrasting perspectives to construct your video. There are actually lens attachments for smartphones too if that’s what you plan to use at the start of your YouTubing experience.
Having proper tools to capture sound is critical. Three diverse types of microphones are described below. Their offering should give a boost to your video production.
Nowadays, a desktop microphone could be found inexpensively with the ability to simply connect to your personal computer as well. These types of microphones are great for podcasting or the addition of narration during the video editing process.
Fifine microphone is an affordable plug and play option with a USB end. Its sturdy design is supported with a tripod that’s included in the shipping package. In addition to the angle changing capability, this microphone has a knob for adjusting the volume.
Although the Fifine is an excellent budget microphone, we recommend the Blue Yeti later on for a better audio experience for your audience.
A microphone that’s excellent for mobility is the shotgun microphone. These mics are typically designed to be attachable to the video recording device.
Shotgun mics are directional mics meaning that it picks up the sound wherever the mic is pointing. Therefore, those narrating behind their camera should remember to rotate the shotgun mic around to face them.
As shown in the images below, the TAKSTAR shotgun mic is attachable to a camera. This battery-powered device only requires 1 AA battery to be operational. It’s definitely a great starter mic that has enough sound sensitivity for your video content.
Note: If you are connecting a shotgun mic to your Canon camera, remember to adjust the sound settings in the camera to avoid static with your shotgun mic. To do so on your Canon camera, watch this video.
Lavalier microphones are also commonly known as clip-on mics. This item is another hand-free option that the user can attach to a person’s clothing for consistent sound when the subject of the sound is far away from the video recording device.
BOYA’s BY-M1 has a lapel clip and comes with its own battery. Its extremely long cord is great for distance management. If you’re willing to shell out a little extra cash, there are wireless lapel mics with receiver and transmitter components.
A good tripod is essential for making good videos. Don’t skimp on it.
A tripod is fantastic for stationary shots where you don’t have another person to videotape for you. Tripods are also great for any particular type of panning shots and it stabilizes the video recording device in order to eliminate the shaky aspects from someone holding onto it.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re using a video camera or smartphone. There should be a suitable tripod for it. As you evaluate the many tripods available, check out the different features associated with them, such as maximum height, weight limit, and manufacturing material.
Altura Photo built a kit that includes a monopod, a tripod and other attachments to adapt to many situations. This kit is a super versatile and highly regarded option.
Secure Digital (SD) Cards
Memory cards with sizable storage capacity are vital for your recording needs. Having an extra one on you is always helpful if you need to switch it out on the fly. Make sure you find the one suitable for your recording device.
For recording high definition video, we don’t recommend SD cards any less than 32 GB.
Common Video Recording Settings for your DSLR or Mirrorless
The recommended display resolution for video recording is 1080P which creates high-definition video with 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. However, there are so many settings you can play around with in today’s cameras.
Most cameras will have auto and manual mode. The auto mode will let the camera automatically choose parameters like the exposure, white balance and auto focus. The manual mode requires some expertise as you navigate through each setting.
We’re not going to go in-depth about all the camera settings but felt that basic introductions to some of them would be helpful.
- Face – Targets specifically for the face in the shot as the main focus
- Zone – Focuses on the area where you want to target
- Frame rate – This setting really depends on what you’re trying to record. 24-30 frames per seconds (fps) for standard shots and 60 fps for high-speed action shots.
- Shutter speed – Amount of time your camera is exposed to light. Some cameras have the option of “shutter priority” which allows you to select the shutter speed and the camera will adjust accordingly to your choice. Otherwise, the recommended shutter speed is double the frame rate used. So if you’re recording at 30 fps (frames per second), your shutter speed is 1/60th of a second.
- ISO – This setting adjusts the camera’s sensitivity to light.
- Lower ISO = better image quality but requires more light; otherwise, images are shown as dark.
- Higher ISO = lower image quality due to graininess but not as much light is needed for brightness.
- Recommendation for manual ISO – choose the lowest settings that’s appropriate for the amount of light available in your scene to maximize image quality.
- Aperture – The aperture relates to the opening of the camera lens. Manipulating the aperture controls the amount of light passing through the lens. This directly affects the image’s brightness. It also affects the depth of the image.
As you can see, there’s plenty of setting an individual could dabble with on video cameras like the Canon M50 or SL3. Try not to get overwhelmed and simply use the basic settings until you’re more comfortable playing around with it.
Video Editing Process
Editing and fine-tuning your content could be a grueling process. Watching your own video and criticizing it is painful but also necessary. Here we are discussing the basic necessity of editing a video and the additional software tools to make your video content extra fancy.
Video Editing Workflow (Editing Sequence of Events)
Each video editing software may have user interfaces and features that vary. Still, the skeleton of the video creation process is fundamentally the same. Below is the general workflow of most video editing software.
- Create a new project with the proper name
- Drag and drop or import the necessary video clips
- Separate the video clips into their A-Roll and B-Roll components
- Organize the video clips into the proper sequence of events on the video editor’s timeline
- Edit audio
- Add in additional vocal, music, or sound effects
- Adjust volume levels for each audio components to provide a good balance between each other
- Trimming – Cropping and cleaning up clips.
- Remove moments like awkward pauses, umms, etc.
- Timeline edits don’t affect the original clips stored
- Cut and splice video clips together
- To make your video and audio clip cutting and splicing actions easier, don’t forget to zoom on the editing timeline to see the clips clearer.
- Speed up or down particular clips as necessary to control the flow of the video.
- Video Transitions and Animations – Use the many available animations that come with the editing software to add effects to your video clips, such as blurring effects, directional movement of texts, and transitions between video.
As you produce more videos, you’ll see a pattern for your video production workflow play out. Based on these results, templates can be made for each type of video. Consistently building and using templates will save you a huge amount of time.
Video production templates usually lay out the basic skeleton of how your video runs. For example, it has the introduction already in place as well as the sound effects and animations you typically used ready for selection.
Intro and Outro
Serial YouTube posters typically have their video include an Intro and an Outro. An introduction is a great way to catch the viewers’ attention and show off your brand as the video begins.
An Outro reiterates your brand and also has a “call to action” incorporated. The call to action term relates to the common endings when YouTubers ask the viewers to post a comment below their video or subscribe to their channel. The Outro is also used to promote other social media platforms used by the Video creator and encourage viewers to check out their other videos.
YouTube thumbnail is an often forgotten part of the YouTube content creation process. A proper thumbnail is essential in catching the YouTube users’ attention as they’re scrolling for a video to watch.
A good thumbnail doesn’t need to be complex. Still, several little elements could be accounted for in creating a successful one. The basis of these thumbnails could stem from photography.
The following are basic tips for creating an ideal thumbnail:
- Relevant images – Having a unique image that’s somewhat relevant to the topic at hand.
- Don’t Hold Back – Take multiple snapshots to review and edit later.
- Experiment – Play with different camera lenses and settings.
- RAW Image – Try taking images in the RAW format to obtain a larger range of color depth with minimal processing so that you could edit as you wish afterward.
- Text – Only add text to the thumbnail that supports the thumbnail image and video content. Try limiting yourself to 1-5 words to provide context and catch users’ attention.
- Background – Consider the colors and graphics you may want to add around the subject of your thumbnail.
- Facial Expression – Consider the facial expression or emotions you want to convey on your face if using selfie shots.
- Editing – Crop out any unnecessary component and edit as you see fit to enhance your thumbnail.
Developing a thumbnail from these tips should help provide better results than merely grabbing a still image from your video clip. Play around with your thumbnail design and see the viewers’ reactions to it.
Crafting The Perfect Thumbnail Image For Your Video
Along with an awesome thumbnail photo, you will probably need to spruce it up a bit to make the image attractive to eyeballs.
This involves editing the video and crafting creative titles and colors. It seems that color does very well in attracting clicks. Here are some examples of great Youtube thumbnail images that get clicks.
If this isn’t something you are good at or want to learn, this stuff can be outsourced to sites like Fiverr or Upwork for pretty reasonable prices.
Numerous software are available for users to modify and create content as needed. Premium software has costs that range widely. We’ll be looking at the software for different purposes consisting of recommended premium ones as well as free alternatives.
Video Editing Software
A variety of editing tools are readily available for download and immediate use. The costs associated with each software, its level of complexity, and its features can significantly vary.
We recommend the following two options in terms of paid video editing software: Adobe Creative Cloud and Cyberlink PowerDirector 365.
PowerDirector 365 is a much cheaper and more beginner-friendly option. So it is a good option when starting out. Their annual plan is less than the price of Adobe Creative Cloud’s monthly plan.
The software has everything you needed to start editing videos for Youtube, including:
- Stock images/videos
- Special effects and transitions
- Multi-track video, audio, and special effects
- Advanced audio editing
- Uploading to Youtube
- Motion tracking and motion blurring (great for blurring out moving objects)
- Mask and replace images
- And much more
Adobe Creative Cloud
Adobe’s Creative Cloud is the cream of the crop when it comes to video editing in the consumer space. But some people may find it too daunting if they don’t edit videos often.
Adobe’s Creative Cloud provides a great package where you can pay a monthly or annual subscription for their array of software instead of committing a large amount of money for only one application. Adobe does provide free trials and allows for cancellation if their software doesn’t work for you.
Their pricing plans are very flexible, with different packages based on your needs. If you’re willing to fork the money, you can have access to over 20 of their apps for as low as $52.99 per month.
Photography Editing Software
Individuals looking for photography editing software that doesn’t want to pay or deal with the complexity of something like Photoshop should look at Canva. Canva is an image editing software with plenty of templates for professional-looking background designs that you don’t have to create yourself. Canva is great for creating video thumbnails.
A newbie to a highly experienced graphic designer will find Canva extremely convenient. Canva also has a premium plan for $12.95 a month or $119.40 a year. The premium plan allows its user to have access to a much larger amount of templates. Additionally, Canva gives its premium users access to its own database of stock video and photo content as well as many more great things.
Music and Sound Effects
To spice things up, music and sound effects are nice additions. If you do plan to use music in your YouTube Video, it’s essential to know that you can’t simply add any music. Doing so tends to get your video removed due to copyright infringement.
One place we highly recommend is Epidemic Sound. They’re a subscription-based platform for unlimited download of music and sound effects that have its copyrights cleared for YouTube and other social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitch.
Epidemic Sound allows for a 30-day free trial prior to a monthly subscription of $15 a month or $144 a year. Users fall in love with their website’s extensive library, how easy it is to sort through various categories, and search through their website.
Before committing to any particular source, don’t be afraid to take the time to test out the free trials and find out what options work best for you.
YouTube Studio and Help Page
YouTube Studio is the location where you have control of your channel dashboard. The video upload process is super easy and could be completed by dragging and dropping the video file on the designated area or by browsing for it on your PC. This section also has analytic information for you to evaluate previously uploaded video and how it’s doing.
The YouTube Help page is great in providing a step-by-step process for uploading the video and the other actions to follow. For example, each video should come with a title, description, tags, thumbnails and other information relevant to the video. This support page also has answers and links to frequently asked questions.
Building Up Experience
Individuals experienced with graphic and animation designs will have a head start in what their skillset could bring to a YouTube video’s final results. However, a huge part of producing better content over time is simply a balance of the effort in experimenting and being able to adapt over time.
Experimenting with the different aspects of video recording, production and editing is crucial to your development. Don’t simply try one option and stick to it. Time and patience will be required as you gain experience from all the things you try out.
Gathering feedback and constructive criticism should be a part of your self-development too. Everybody gets negative comments whether they’re new or have been making videos for years. It’s important to know what comments to take into account and which ones to filter out.
Monetization is the first thing creators think about but it should be the last. That’s why we put it here at the end of this article. Because creating great content should be first. Because without great content that attracts viewers and subscribers, monetization will be hard.
I am going to talk about the various ways Youtube content creators make money. We will go over each of these methods below. But keep in mind, when you are starting out, most avenues of monetization will be unavailable to you. So you will have to put in the work first before being able to monetize your Youtube videos.
Google Adsense is by far the most popular way to monetize Youtube content. It is Google’s ad network and these are the ads you see before, during, and at the end of Youtube videos. But in order to apply to Adsense, your channel must have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours in the last 12 months.
Sponsored content is another avenue of revenue for Youtube content creators. Companies will pay you to talk about their product or service, or place their products in your videos. With sponsored content, you do not have to make any sales for the company in order to receive money from them. They pay you just for featuring their product or service.
Affiliate commission is the third main way to make money off your video content. You earn money from sales made through your referral links. This works especially well if you post videos reviewing products. Then you are paid a certain percentage of any sales from the traffic you refer to the company.
Patreon and Youtube Premium are examples of subscription-based monetization. You allow viewers the option of a monthly subscription for premium content only available to subscribers.
Some channels set up a way for viewers to donate to them. This can be done via Paypal. Content creators in the cryptocurrency and tech space set up cryptocurrency wallets to allow their viewers to donate cryptocurrency.
Other Ways to Make Money
There are a few other ways to make money, including channel memberships, merchandise, super chats, etc but we feel the methods above are the most common avenues for monetization on Youtube.
YouTube is a one of the most popular video platforms that amateur and professional of all types use to their advantage. This article provides a comprehensive evaluation into the entire video creation process. We gave insight into the equipment, filming and editing process as well as how to get your content up onto Youtube.
Use this article to create your own strategy to build content that consistently draws in new viewers and subscribers. Learn to test out your equipment and experiment around to maximize its potential. Adapt what you learn to your own original ideas. Over time, your skill sets and decision making will evolve.