how I make Youtube Videos
I've had quite a few people (mostly in my personal life) ask me about how I go about making my videos. Unsurprisingly, I have yet to see anyone who's asked make a video or even start a Youtube channel. One of my biggest frustrations (in a good way) is when I see someone with such a niche story or ability hold themselves back from starting a channel. I'm a firm believer that the biggest barrier to entry for Youtube is the simple act of starting - most people who do well on Youtube do well simply because they made their first video and consistently uploaded since. Of course it helps if you're strikingly beautiful, talented or have an insane life (which usually comes with having the first two) that others can feel jealous about, but because the pie is big enough, I actually think just making videos consistently gets you about 70% of the way there. I recognize there's some allergic reactions that occur by just thinking about "creating something from scratch" or being "creative," but one should recognize that making videos on Youtube is neither (at least the type of "content" that I create). In the wise words of Casey Neistat - gear doesn't matter, it's all about the "story."
Instead of being philosophical about my inspirations and how I thrive in the art of storytelling, or going into depths about which talents are necessary in making a buck or two from Google Adsense, I'm going to jump right into how I LITERALLY make videos. Apologies in advance for (1) how mundane the steps may seem and (2) probably nothing groundbreaking. Usually when I tell people about my process, they find it hard to believe due to how short the process is (which surprises me looking at the quality of my videos) and how un-thought-out it seems. I'll openly admit that at this point, it has become more of a routine than a "creative process," hence making it seem even more like a chore rather than creating "art." I have intentions of trying some new stuff now that my audience is decently big enough and I'm confident in my ability to maintain some level of viewership - however, I do think with most things (a lot like dating) the best content comes out when you don't care about who's watching.
Thinking of what to talk about (30 seconds to 1 minute) - this usually happens a day or two before the day I shoot the video itself. It's usually a topic I have ready on my topic list, which I slightly adjust to fit what's relevant right now. I have to keep in mind who my audience is, why I'm relevant to talk about it and the amount of work I'll need to put in (which I want to minimize) to talk about it. As soon as I finalize on a topic, my mind races to think about the 3-5 bullet points I want to talk about regarding the topic and the 2-3 witty one liners I want to say during it to give that extra flavor.
Setting up the set (3 minutes) - I usually record on my desk, which is typically set up for work. I turn my camera on, which is always attached to the tripod anyways. I then place the camera on top of a board game box to have it adjust to my sitting height, lower my chair to make sure I'm in frame. I do like being somewhat presentable so I check the mirror, put on a shirt that I didn't wear in the previous video (to make it seem like I own more clothes not that anyone has ever called me out on it). Because the mic on my camera has been pretty shot recently, I now record separately by hooking up a nicer mic to my computer and turning on Audacity. Again, I don't think gear matters (especially for what I do), but since people care, my camera is a Sony A6000 (which actually is not optimized for video recording and kind of sucks for Youtube) with a kit lens and my mic has the word "Blue" written on it and I believe the brand is "Yeti." As mentioned before, Audacity is my audio recording software of choice.
Recording (12-ish minutes) - I don't have a script - never did and probably never will unless I make it onto prime time television. In fact, I actually think I do better with no script and it's one of the reasons behind how I've done "this well" thus far. My audience's biggest compliment is that I'm so "authentic" - this is probably because what you see is actually authentic - it comes directly from my stream of consciousness. I just know which topic I'm covering and the big points I want to hit, and by the time I get to where I want to be (typically capped by the time limit I give myself which is around 10 minutes, the minimum to hit for the best ad-optimization, thanks Daddy Google), I just have to say my routine spree of thanks for watching, see you next time, let's go. Note that if I mess up or don't know what to say next, I just pause for a second, re-form my words, and start again. This is the beauty of editing.
Editing (30 minutes) - this is the most lengthy part of the process and perhaps the most boring, but I (very narcissistically) like hearing myself talk, so it's not that big of a deal. I align the audio I recorded with the video (taking the original audio from the video out), render the video together in iMovie, then start cutting that newly created synced video. I edit out all the "ums" and the "likes" to make myself sound more intelligent, cut out every pause to make the video as efficient as possible (people used to criticize me for this but now it's more revered as my "style") and add some pictures and sound effects if I'm feeling ambitious. I view the entire video one more time to make sure I didn't say anything that would get me cancelled. After doing most of the heavy lifting on iMovie, I put the video through Da Vinci to add some text effects and then finish the final rendering of the video.
Thumbnail (3 minutes) - while the rendering takes place, I try to find a clickbait-y frame from the video, take a screenshot, upload it to iPiccy (a photo editing website) and create a thumbnail. I crop it to 1280x720 to meet the thumbnail frame size, make the picture pop a little bit by increasing the brightness and then add words or pictures as necessary. It's important to note that I usually have the title of the video ready from the very beginning as I have no intro and jump right into the topic based on the title from the start.
Upload and finalize (3 minutes) - all the pieces are ready. I simply use Youtube Studio to upload the video, copy and paste in the title I have already written down, have the template fill in the bio (and add any extra links that is relevant to the video), upload the thumbnail I just made and wait for the sausage to be made.
One of my "taboo" things to do is to never watch the video from the moment of upload until it's dropped (I usually finish the video over the weekend and schedule it for the next Saturday morning), for no other reason than I don't want to. I don't really watch my old videos either unless I need some form of reference. I'm both shocked (that I didn't forget I talked about something) and not shocked (I honestly have so much to talk about all the time) that I've lasted this long with something different every single week since January of 2020. I'm constantly not sure how long I'll do this for (I don't want to become a Youtube parent showing off my kid's gender), but for now don't envision stopping any time soon.