YouTube is the new Google, which explains why Google purchased YouTube in 2006 for a whopping $1.6 billion in stock. These days, if you aren’t on YouTube, it’s almost like you don’t exist. Everyone from your local mechanic to world leaders, news and media outlets, and major corporations have a YouTube presence. For those businesses still lurking in the shadows with trepidation, here’s a simple, no-nonsense quick guide to getting it done now.
Finding and selecting the necessary equipment is surprisingly easy and within the budget of all but the most impoverished small businesses. Millions of young people, some not even employed, manage to operate successful YouTube channels, clearly demonstrating the lack of need for a large budget.
With the rise in recent years of video as the chosen medium for communications, camera manufacturers have been aggressively working to fill the demand. Cameras have become smaller, lighter, and more robust in features suited to video. Cameras like Canons M50 are affordable and more than capable of doing the job. With outstanding autofocus that can track a subject’s face simply by tapping the touch screen display, you can generate highly professional production quality footage with limited skills. There are even individuals doing amazing work with nothing more than their phone cameras.
Audio is arguably more important than video. While a viewer may tolerate a slightly out-of-focus picture, if they can’t clearly understand what the presenter is saying, they’re apt to move on to content they can hear clearly. Companies like Rode produce quality microphones in accessible price ranges. Many even more affordable options are readily available online, but don’t cheap out too much on this critical piece of equipment.
There are three main types of microphones: ones that mount right on the camera’s hot shoe, Lavaliere microphones that clip onto your clothing, and lastly boom microphones supported overhead of the presenter. The first two are the most common, and your choice will mainly depend on your distance from the camera.
Lighting can be the trickiest element to master, but don’t panic. With a fundamental understanding of the key issues, you’ll be off to a strong start and producing quality content almost instantly.
Artificial and Natural Light
Generally natural light is considered the best, with early morning and later in the day being ideal. This primarily has to do with light diffusion (more on that in a moment). That said, in most cases you will be using artificial light. While natural light is, well, natural, it is somewhat unreliable, whereas with artificial light you have greater control. Also, many situations require indoor shooting locations, making artificial light essential.
Once again, manufacturers have made your options plentiful and affordable. From smaller LED lights right up to larger professional level lighting, these units have become readily accessible.
An additional and valuable tip is to consider light diffusion. This is accomplished relatively easily and will present your subject in a more flattering manner. Harsh shadows become softened and more pleasing to the viewer. The effect can be achieved with a softbox or even a simple shower curtain hung between the light and the subject.
Now that the equipment is gathered, the footage is planned and shot, it’s time to edit and arrange it to tell the story. This is the job of the editing software.
Plenty of programs are available, in versions ranging from amazingly simple and free, to highly advanced subscription models. One program currently gathering popularity amongst editors is Blackmagic’s Davinci Resolve. There will be a learning curve, but the upside is that they have a free version that is highly advanced and suitable for professionals.
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There may be other accessories that will level up the production quality or make the work easier, depending on each business’s unique circumstances. Items such as a Gorilla Pod, ND filter, additional lenses, and tripods and stands can be purchased later as the need arises, but following the above guidelines will provide a strong start and launch an online presence in no-time.
Time to go live. Uploading your video to YouTube is the likely next step. From there it can be linked to a website or social media as desired. The business will need a Google account if they don’t already have one. From Google, set up a YouTube channel. Once this is done it’s just a matter of clicking the upload link, selecting the video file, and watching the magic happen.
The current revolution in online video may be the most significant event in marketing history. If any organization isn’t participating, they should get started today and leverage this opportunity into new profit.