How to make a YouTube video in 6 easy stages

by PaulGoodman67

This article looks at how to make a YouTube video and explains the process in 6 easy to understand stages.

Having studied and later taught people how to put together videos in my previous job, I thought it would be useful and instructive to write a basic guide on how to make a YouTube video.

Of course, making videos can be as simple or as complicated as you want, but the more knowledge and technical abilities that you possess, the more options that you have available when you are putting together your video and hopefully, the more enjoyable it will be for those people viewing it (and the more views it will get!).

1. Plan your video

Planning at its most basic just means deciding what you want to include in your video. The simplest vides might just be a single section of film of someone talking into a webcam, or a single event. Most people will want to add at least a title and end credits, however. Other people might want to edit together several different pieces of video, add photos or pictures, and maybe music. Professional movie makers will sketch out each step of their video using something called a storyboard. Be careful not to make your movie more complicated or longer than it needs to be, though, a short video is often easier when it comes to keeping the viewer’s interest.

2. Film your video

You can use pretty much any sort of camera to film your video, whether it’s a webcam, a regular digital camera, or a professional video camera. The quality of your video will vary accordingly though, of course. If you are happy just to make your video with webcam, then you should consider using YouTube’s “Record from webcam” option, which can be found by clicking “Upload” at the top of your YouTube screen. Remember also about the audio when you take your video, especially if it forms an important part of what you want to achieve with your video, you don’t it to be too quiet, or loud and distorted, or for background noises such as traffic disrupting the sound.

A couple of general tips regarding filming that I’d like to mention. Firstly, don’t be afraid to experiment a little and try filming a subject from different angles. You can also try filming close up and from a distance. Secondly, I would recommend that, where possible, you take as much film as possible. It is much easier to have too much footage and have to edit your video down, than to have not enough material and be forced to go out and take more video later.

3. Edit your video

You can, of course, just upload raw footage, but most people as I mentioned earlier, will want to at least add a title and end credits. I would also recommend editing out the parts of the video that aren’t very interesting, contain mistakes, or distract from the movie in ways that you don’t want. This is known as “cutting” in the movie world and can transform a bad video into a good one, the objective being to keep the viewers attention and not allow them to get bored for any length of time.

There are numerous free movie editing software packages out there. Microsoft Windows usually comes with a program called Moviemaker, which is basic but a great place to start for beginners. There are also suggestions for free editing software and websites on the YouTube website.

4. Enhance your video by adding pictures and audio

Sometimes it can be difficult to say what you want with just video. Editing software gives you the option of adding in photos – these can be used to break up the video and make it more interesting for the viewer, or as a way of illustrating something. For instance, if you have a two minute video which is someone talking about visiting New York, then you could use photos of the New York visit to break up the video and illustrate it.

Adding music can be used for the intro or ending of a video, or to create an appropriate mood or feel for your video – whether you use angry, happy, sad, peaceful, or lively music can have a dramatic effect on the overall feel of the video (in the past, it was easy to use any music for videos, but nowadays YouTube are more insistent that people only use music that is not copyrighted by someone else).

5. Upload your video

Click on the “Upload” link at the top of your YouTube screen. You will then have the option of uploading one video, multiple videos, or creating a video using your webcam.YouTube will want you to “browse” and find your finished movie. If you are just uploading raw footage then you will need to either plug your camera into your computer, or remove the memory card with the video on it and plug that into the computer. Alternatively, it is often easier just to copy the video onto the computer’s hard drive.

6. Describe and tag your video

If you want people that you don’t know to watch your video then you need to make sure that you describe and tag it well. The description should make your video sound appealing and interesting, as well as giving people a sense of what it is about and background information. The tags will help people to discover your video in Google if you pick the right ones – so try to be fairly specific with the tag words that you use.

Updated: 02/12/2013, PaulGoodman67
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katiem2 on 06/30/2012

Thanks Paul, I've all but given up on a simple to follow guide on how to make youtube videos. I've posted on youtube but my account needs an entirely new make over. These tips will be very helpful.

Snurre on 06/30/2012

Great tips! Really helpful for those who've never posted a video on YouTube before.

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