YouTube is pretty much the TV revolution reborn for the common citizen. It’s like the heyday of public access television, only now it’s going to stick around forever, and anyone can participate. And everyone, it seems, does participate! Several billion videos per day post on YouTube, and the average web user views YouTube for 40 minutes per day. You’ll want to get started quickly…
- Create an account. If you’re already a member of other Google services, your account is probably activated for YouTube already.
- Upload a profile photo and channel description. The text you add will help users find you.
- Link to your other media channels, such as your website and social media accounts.
Now you have to think of equipment. As far as the camera goes, most mobile devices now have cameras that are as good as any video recording equipment you can buy for under $300. If you want to go for the higher end of video, many YouTubers swear by Canon, Sony, or Nikon.
The really important thing is your microphone. All mobile-grade microphones have terrible sound quality, which is why you’ll likely cringe to hear your own voice recorded on it. The top microphones YouTubers use are:
- Shure SM58 ($100 USD)
- Audio Technica AT2035 ($150 USD)
- Rode NT1-A ($230 USD)
- AKG C214 ($400 USD)
- Rode NTK ($530 USD)
With microphones, you literally get what you pay for in terms of rich sound quality.
One last concern is editing software. Professional grades use Adobe Premiere Pro or Apple Final Cut Pro X. But there are great free and open-source options out there that are perfect for post-production desktop editing for your average channel – that is, if you’re not using heavy special effects. There’s OpenShot and VLC for video, and Audacity for audio alone.
Now you’re set up to be a YouTube star, so what will your channel produce? You are literally limited by your imagination, so here’s a list of common kinds of YouTuber templates:
- Reviewers – Movies, games, and other media. You really need personality and some humor to pull ahead of the crowd here.
- Tutorials – Half of YouTube is just showing people how to do stuff. Car maintenance, cooking, make-up, crafting, DIY, origami, dog training, how to pick a good wine with dinner, the list goes on forever.
- Lectures – If you’re an expert in anything, you can teach people and they’ll be interested. Popular topics are history, science, and pop culture. Think more in lines of “top ten most interesting ghost legends” rather than a college lecture.
- Travel – This is huge. Travel channels do very well. Be a jovial host and take viewers along on your adventures, you can’t miss.
- Comedy – Many try in this field and few succeed. But if you can get a script-writer and a few performers together, comedy channels get to the top of the trending list every time.
- Animation and short films – Here again, you really need sparkling talent to make it, but there have been a few indie film careers launched off YouTube.
In the end, what seems to make YouTubers come out on top of the heap is raw force of personality. Being funny, witty, or otherwise entertaining (even ironically) seems to make the most difference.