YouTube is a social media platform where you can create and upload video content to watch. Some people have entire careers on YouTube, and the feeling that people are watching what you’ve made encourages a lot of people to try their hand at it. So how do you get started?
While it’s easy to start shooting video even on your laptop, if you’re planning on doing a lot of content, you’ll need a decent computer. What you need depends on your situation. For example, if you’re creating gaming content, you’ll probably need a much better computer than if you’re creating other types of content.
The first thing to consider is the size of your hard drive. If you record a lot of footage, especially at higher resolutions and frame rates, it will take up a lot of space. You will probably want 500 GB, at least to start with. How much space you need depends on how much footage you save and how often you record it, so if you delete all the old footage you have before the next video starts, you can avoid wasted space.
Second, your total system power. Editing footage is CPU intensive and editing software will be much slower at lower settings. While this is possible on almost any hardware, you will find it easier to edit on a better computer. RAM is also a factor, because if you don’t have enough, your computer will be forced to read from the hard drive, which is orders of magnitude slower and can still fall behind your entire system.
Whether you’re recording gameplay or from a camera (or both sides), you’ll need footage for your video. One of the best recording tools for PC is OBS Studio, which can record (and stream) just about anything connected to your PC. It also has some great built-in compositing tools for camera alignment and streaming overlays. If you are using a webcam as a camera, you must use OBS to record from it. If you have a real camera and not a webcam, it’s probably best to use whatever built-in tools the device has.
Even if you’re doing simple storytelling over images or other videos and don’t need to record your own material, you still need to get everything in one place before editing.
If you want to animate videos, Pencil2D is a simple free 2D animation tool, while Blender is a much more sophisticated 3D animation tool. If you want paid tools, there’s Adobe Animate and Cinema 4D. Keep in mind that animation takes a lot longer than normal recording, but if done right it can turn out well.
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When it comes to merging your clips, you have a variety of software options to choose from. You can use something as simple as Windows Movie Maker, but if you want your videos to look good (and save you the hassle), it’s best to learn how to use the best editing program.
Lightworks is a simple free editor that is pretty easy to learn. Adobe Premier is the industry standard for video editing, although it’s expensive and takes a lot of learning curve — unless you’re creating complex content, it’s probably overkill. Davinci Resolve is a great and surprisingly free tool and probably the best free editor you can get (although they do have a pro version).
On a Mac, Apple’s built-in iMovie is a very good tool, Apple’s stunning easy-to-use design. Final Cut is the «pro» version of iMovie, packing high performance features into an iMovie-like interface. Of course, you can also use all of the apps listed above on macOS, but iMovie and Final Cut are Mac-only.
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Rendering and loading your video
Once you’re done editing, you’ll want to render your video to a file in whatever application you used to put it together. This process may take some time as it is very CPU intensive, especially if you are shooting high resolution footage. Once that’s done, you’ll want to go to YouTube’s download page and put the file there. Also, some apps like Final Cut allow you to sync your YouTube account and upload it directly to YouTube, saving you time.
Depending on your connection speed, your video may also take some time to load. Even if you have high speed Internet, you may have a relatively slow download speed. YouTube also needs time to process your video before it goes live to get it ready for distribution. Lower resolutions will be processed first, so if you see your video is in 480p right after uploading, don’t worry, a higher resolution version will come later. This entire process usually takes no more than five minutes or so.
Titles, tags, thumbnails
Once you’ve uploaded the video and YouTube has processed it, you still have some work to do.
You’ll need to provide a title, description, and tags for your video, all of which will make it easier for YouTube to figure out how to recommend it to people. Your sketch is also of great importance. YouTube will automatically pick a thumbnail from a random location in your video, but you’ll almost always want to use your own thumbnail to reach more people. You don’t even need to edit anything as you can take a screenshot of the dot in the video you want to use as a thumbnail and upload it. If you want to add text over the sketch, you can use a photo editing program like Photoshop or GIMP.