How To Film A YouTube Video: A Basic Guide For Beginners

September 10, 2021

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Learning how to film a YouTube video may seem a little challenging and overwhelming at first. But if you strive to be a content creator for the long term, there is no other choice.

Outsourcing video production is also an option in theory, but for the vast majority of beginners, it’s simply out of the question. 

Fret not. Many have done it, and you can learn to do it yourself too. Keep reading to gain a basic understanding of how to make the first video of your own.

Planning Your Production

We may have a lot of reasons to avoid planning your video productions, but hear us out.

You can expect success from your YouTube endeavor if you can’t take time to come up with a detailed plan on how you’re going to shoot and edit your videos first.

Being an amateur is not an excuse unless you want to stand awkwardly in front of your equipment and don’t know what to do next.

Plan the whole story and what you’re trying to convey through your video. Create a shortlist relating to the logistics required to shoot your video, including every piece of equipment you need to carry.

There are unforeseen circumstances where things may go wrong, even with the best plan. But the purpose here is to make your process as smooth as possible.

Equipment For Creating YouTube Videos

Camera

The camera you choose is probably the biggest indicator of how serious you’re with your YouTube adventure and where you want to go with it.

There is no one-size-fits-all choice here as it all depends on what you want to achieve. From your current phone or expensive 8K setups, YouTubers are spoiled with choices.

Smartphone

With their tremendous improvements when it comes to camera lenses and software, smartphones can create high-quality videos for multiple purposes, all with the touch of a button.

 

Shooting with a smartphone isn’t always a bad choice
Shooting with a smartphone isn’t always a bad choice

You can carry it right in your pocket and record on-the-go. There is no need to transport bulky cameras with you all the time. And with supporting equipment specifically made for smartphones like tripods and microphones, you have plenty of options to improve the video quality too.

Keep in mind that most smartphone models aren’t designed to shoot long videos with advanced features like adjustable aperture and focus. Limited storage capacity and subpar filming ability in low-light settings are other common issues.

Mirrorless And DSLR Cameras

When your production requirements have outgrown your smartphone’s capabilities, dedicated equipment like mirrorless and DSLR cameras should be the next step you look into.

Once exclusively used by professionals on big projects, these cameras have become more popular among hobbyists and small players in the photography and filmmaking business.

You can fine-tune your camera in terms of focus, white balance, ISO, and aperture to achieve your desired effect. There is also a world of lenses, filters, and other gear options that could help you get the best shots out of your camera.

On top of that, mirrorless and DSLR cameras can work on more environment settings, produce crisper images, capture more details, and store longer videos.

using DSLR and mirrorless
DSLR and mirrorless can effortlessly produce high-quality footage

Having a separate tool that may cost more than a flagship smartphone and laptop might be a steep investment for some. Users of these cameras also have to acquire a huge body of technical knowledge to operate them.

But their sophisticated control and remarkable capability are always worth considering, especially if you strive for professional-looking videos.

Point-and-Shoot Cameras

These compact cameras sit in the middle of the road. They are a great choice when you need a standalone camera instead of your smartphone but find heavy mirrorless and DSLR cameras too inconvenient to haul around.

There are plenty of affordable point-and-shoot cameras that can produce better video quality than your smartphones while still offering some degrees of flexibility with changeable lenses.

Action Cameras

GoPro may be the most familiar name when it comes to action cameras, but the market doesn’t lack other options as well.

GoPro is a popular choice for sport videos
GoPro is a popular choice for sport videos

They are portable cameras that you can wear or mount to shoot outdoor underwater or sports excursions like running, hiking, biking, skating, and whatnot.

Shooting in an indoor studio may expose their limitations. But if you’re in dire need of portable yet durable devices for your action channel, there are no better choices.

Microphone

Needless to say, good-looking visuals and effects are simply not enough.

The audio portion of your content must sound at least decent too, unless you want to risk putting off your audience right from the first minute. They may tolerate some poor lighting here and there, but most users would leave if they can’t make out what you’re saying in the video.

Your smartphone or dedicated camera can all record audio themselves, but external microphones give you a huge boost in audio quality while allowing you to put them closer to you or the subject.

using a microphone for a Youtube video
An external microphone like this delivers better audio quality

Directional recording is also a huge advantage of many dedicated microphones, which could pick up more details from a longer range.

Lighting

Natural light is the most accessible lighting form for your video, while other common appliances such as desk lamps, floor lamps, and ceiling lamps can complement it.

Ring lights are a popular, affordable lighting choice for YouTubers. They work well with close-up and straight-to-camera shots, making them the go-to equipment for many YouTube vloggers.

Editing Software

Besides physical equipment, content creators on YouTube should install and learn at least one editing software to do their job as well. It could be the simple program that comes with your operating system or a standalone tool you will have to download and install.

Some software is completely free and still provides more than enough editing tools for you. But for advanced editing tasks needed in a complex project, expect to pay for it out of your own pocket.

How To Film A YouTube Video

Choose A Background

Your background selection plays a huge role in how your audience enjoys your video.

how to film a youtube video
A simple backdrop for shooting videos

You can choose in front of a blank wall or a solid-colored piece of paper to turn the video’s attention to the subject and show professionalism.

On the other hand, using your home or office as a background could bring more authenticity and is a perfect choice for casual videos.

Set Up Your Lighting

Shooting a video isn’t as straightforward as pointing your camera into the frame and hitting the record button. Lighting is crucial in videography and can make or break your final result.

Three-point lighting is the most standard method to light a scene. Even if you’re shooting with your smartphone at home for your small blog, having a solid grasp of this principle will lead you to better lighting choices.

Basically, you need three lights from three separate positions to illuminate the subject, including key, fill, and backlight.

3 point lighting - How To Film A YouTube Video: A Basic Guide For Beginners
Three-point lighting

As its name suggests, the key light is the principal illuminator, providing the most direct light for your shot.

The fill light illuminates the subject from a different angle and eliminates undesired effects caused by the key lights, such as removing shadows and reducing contrasts across the subject’s surface.

Finally, the backlight shines the subject from behind, helping highlight contours and separate the subject from the background.

Experiment with different setups before filming the real shots so you can find the sweetest spots and configurations.

Set Up Your Camera

Make sure you’ve switched your camera into its video mode. Select quality settings and other shooting options like frame rate, focus method, white balance, ISO, etc.

Place your camera on a tripod. If you’re shooting a standard vlog, it should be an arm’s length away from you and positioned right above your eyes. Attach the external microphone if you have one.

set up your camera before to film
Mount your camera on a tripod for greater stability

Like in photography, the importance of good composition cannot be overestimated. Rehearsal the shooting many times to choose the angle from which you’re going to best frame.

Rehearsal

If you’re filming a scripted video, take a few minutes to run through the script again. Let yourself familiarize yourself with the setup and warm up the voice.

Record

When you’re ready to go, hit the record button. Whether you’re making a script or an off-the-cuff video, get loose and be yourself in front of the camera.

Review the footage and reshoot as needed. Capture some supplement B-roll to bolster the story and provide the editing process with some flexibility.

Edit Your Footage

After wrapping up your shooting, now it’s time to edit the video by piecing the shots together, adding effects and details, music, and adjusting the colors.

Move the raw footage into your computer, including the audio. What you need to do with these files depends on how imaging your final product would look like.

using video editing app to edit video
Video editing has a huge impact on the final result

A simple vlog could be done in an evening, but a huge project could take up a few weeks in your production timeline. The editing could be as simple as assembling a few shots and adding some text, but you may have to create special effects and adjust colors to achieve your desired result.

When you’re done with your video, export it and review it for the final time before uploading it to your YouTube channel.

Remember that your export settings could have a huge effect on the final quality of your video. A wrong adjustment could wash away all your effort previously spent on the editing process and make your video look worse than the preview.

Final Words

Whether you just want to learn how to film a YouTube video as professionally as possible or aspire to become a real influence in this business, you all have to start from the basics.

This long journey demands a lot of practice and effort. But with some recommendations above, you will have a solid foundation to overcome incoming challenges.

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