How to make a YouTube video with your camera

This complete guide on how to make a Youtube video will provide you with everything you need to know to start recording high-quality footage with your camera for YouTube. We’ll show you that you can master videography. Anyone can record video, as long as you’ve got a camera with a lens and microphone.

As the trend to create and consume more video content grows, many photographers have started exploring the world of video. Platforms such as Instagram, TikTok and YouTube are now entertainment and income-generating hubs for content creators, with options for both short and long-form content.

As a photographer who is looking to get into videography, it’s highly likely that the camera you already own is fully capable of recording videos – whether that’s a DSLR, Mirrorless, or smartphone.

How to make a video with your camera:

First, get to know your camera! 99.9% of cameras now feature a dedicated video mode on the main mode dial on the camera, but some give a switch between stills and video operation. By using the dedicated video mode, you’re going to get a screen that is optimised to show you the options you need to see, as well as the aspect ratio and scene correctly framed.

If you haven’t yet bought a camera or want to make sure you’ve got the best choice for making a video, then have a look at our guide to the best cameras for video. What about lenses? If you want to change the look of your footage, and have a camera that lets you change your lens, then check out our guide to the best lenses for video.

Once you’re in the video mode, you’ll need to have a look at what options are available, and make a choice regarding resolution, frame rates, and more. We’ll go through these in detail below.

Video Resolution

Defined as the level of detail and clarity in a video image, video resolution is the first key setting. It is typically expressed as a combination of two numbers – the horizontal pixel x the vertical pixel count (1920×1080) or 4K (3840×2160).

Most common video resolutions include:

  • SD (Standard Definition): 720×480 pixels for NTSC or 720×576 pixels for PAL
  • HD (High Definition): 1280×720 pixels (720p)
  • Full HD: 1920×1080 pixels (1080p) (16:9)
  • 4K UHD (Ultra High Definition): 3840×2160 pixels (2160p) (16:9)
  • 4K CINE / DCI: 4120×2160 pixels (17:9)
  • 5.7K: 5744×3024 (17:9)
  • 6K: 6144×3456
  • 8K: 7680×4320
  • The majority of cameras will offer at least Full HD recording (1920×1080 pixels) and with an aspect ratio of 16:9. This gives good enough quality for the majority of recordings and productions on YouTube, with even some of the biggest YouTube stars sticking with Full HD resolution – MrBeast, we’re looking at you.

    Luckily YouTube doesn’t really mind too much about whether you record in Full HD or 4K video resolution, but cares more about the content and presentation of your video – more on this later!

    A note on video recording and resolution – after you’ve recorded your footage, you’ll need to edit your videos. If you have an “average” PC or laptop, then editing 4K or higher resolution can be a very slow process, and depending on how good your computer is, may even be next to impossible to edit. So, if you’re just starting out, and don’t have a high-spec computer, then it may be worth starting with Full HD video while you get to grips with everything.

    Higher resolution video recorded at 4K (and above) can be useful if you want to crop into the footage or reframe the shot, for example, if you then produce Full HD video from the 4K footage. However, video files use much more space on a memory card, and computer, and therefore can be more difficult to edit.

    Nb. Check your camera make and model, and check online reviews to see what video features your camera has.

    Videography - Check your video settings - here we're looking at the Canon EOS R7 video screen

    Videography – Check your video settings – here we’re looking at the Canon EOS R7 video screen, with on-screen audio levels displayed.

    Frame Rates – What frame rate should I use?

    Understanding frame rates is crucial for capturing, editing, and delivering video content effectively, ensuring a smooth and immersive viewing experience for the audience.

    The most common standard frame rates for video are:

  • 24 fps This frame rate is often used in film production and provides a cinematic look.
  • 25 fps Commonly used in PAL broadcast systems.
  • 30 fps Commonly used in NTSC broadcast systems and digital video.
  • 60 fps Frequently used in video games, sports broadcasting, and high-motion content.
  • 120 fps and higher Used in high-speed recording and slow-motion playback.
  • You’ll need to decide what frame rate to use, depending on what kind of video you are recording. For the majority of videos, 25fps (frame per second) is a perfect choice. Almost all cameras will offer 25fps video, whilst others will offer this, as well as 24fps, or faster speed such as 50/60fps. If you do want to slow down your footage, then using a faster frame rate, such as 50/60fps can be useful, as you’ll be able to playback the footage at half the speed.

    How to make a video – Stabilisation is key!

    Recording stable footage can be one of the key factors in whether your footage looks professional or unwatchable. It can make a massive difference when it comes to whether someone wants to watch your videos. If your camera doesn’t have a very good in-body image stabilisation (IBIS) system, then we’d recommend the use of a tripod, monopod, or a gimbal so that you can record smooth and steady footage.

    Use of a tripod can give your footage a much more professional look, especially compared to shaky footage. It’ll also make it easier to move the camera position when needed, especially if you have an easy to use tripod head. Make sure you look out for a video head if you’re going to be buying a new tripod and/or head.

    How to make video: The Zhiyun WEEBILL 3 gimbal in use

    The Zhiyun WEEBILL 3 gimbal in use

    Maintain your focus

    Along with stable footage, ensuring your video is correctly focused (and the main subject is in focus, and stays in focus) is another key factor in making good quality footage.

    Depending on the camera you are using, it may have a very good autofocus (AF) system that works well while recording video. However, if it doesn’t, then you might want to check your focus settings, and fix focus when you start recording (as long as your subject doesn’t move), or alternatively use manual focus and adjust when needed. Some cameras let you fix focus, and then adjust while recording, using the touch-screen – just be careful that the camera doesn’t pick up the noise of you touching the screen if you do use this feature.

    Exposure in video

    There are other settings that can affect how your video looks, including the aperture, the ISO speed used (lower is generally better), and the shutter speed. Almost everything you learnt in our guide to exposure regarding aperture, ISO speed and shutter speeds applies to video recording. We’ve gone through shutter speed below, as this is something to be aware of.

    Shutter speed

    As a general rule of thumb, you want to ensure your shutter speed is twice the frame rate (fps), so if you’re recording at 25fps, you want to make sure your shutter speed is 1/50 of a second, however, as with photography, the faster the shutter speed, the less light there is, so this is something to be aware of, particularly if recording video in low-light.

    What shutter speed do I need for different frame rates?

  • 24fps – the shutter speed should be 1/48s
  • 25fps – the shutter speed should be 1/50s
  • 50fps – the shutter speed should be 1/100s
  • 60fps – the shutter speed should be 1/120s
  • Audio quality is important!

    You’ve probably heard this before and it’s true – a good video is 50% visual and 50% audio. The audio quality can make or break your content. If you’re lucky, your camera with have a great set of built-in microphones that sound amazing, but unfortunately in most instances, it is advisable to use an external mic or audio recorder.

    In fact, there have been videos published on YouTube, using a low-quality camera, but because the content was good, and the audio quality high, it still got hundreds of thousands of views!

    If you’re outside, then a wind “muff” or “dead-cat” can help reduce wind noise or an external microphone will be needed so you can clearly pick up someone’s voice. Check if your camera has a microphone socket, and then you can simply plug in an external microphone.

    Unlike when taking a photo – you can’t just use Photoshop to fix it later – and trying to fix audio problems later can be a real nightmare. For this reason, it’s also recommended that you use headphones (or earphones) to check the audio quality while recording, and this is where a headphone socket on your camera becomes essential.

    If you do need to fix audio problems later, than the latest video editing software has made some real progress recently in adding useful audio processing features, including voice processing. See our guide to the best video editing software.

    The Rode VideoMic Go II hotshoe mic weighs just 89g

    The Rode VideoMic Go II hotshoe mic weighs just 89g

    If you want to master audio on your video, have a look at our guide to best value audio options for video. 

    How do I record entertaining videos?

    That’s the million-dollar question, of course, and can be the difference between 20 views or 2000 views. But one thing we would say is that if you’re passionate about something, then this is a great start.  Record what you know, and be inspired by other people’s videos to see what works and what doesn’t work.

    It is always a good idea to record more video footage than you need. By recording additional clips, known as B-Roll (What is B-roll footage? – Adobe) you can use these to cover up any mistakes made in key footage (known as A-Roll).

    Editing video 

    Once you’ve recorded your video, you’ll then have a number of video files (normally ending in .mp4, or .mov). You’ll need to use the software on your computer to bring those video files together and edit them to create one video file, which you can then upload to YouTube, and others like Vimeo, TikTok, Instagram etc.

    Making cuts in DaVinci Resolve 18 - essential for videography

    Making cuts in DaVinci Resolve 18

    How do I edit videos for YouTube?

    To edit footage, you’ll need to use some video editing software on your computer. These let you put several different video files (or clips) together, cut out any unwanted scenes or mistakes, as well as add different titles and effects to the video, as needed.

    Here are some of the most popular video editing packages available:

  • Davinci Resolve – FREE
  • Adobe Premiere Elements – $99 / £90
  • Adobe Premiere Pro – $20.99 / £19.97 per month
  • Apple Mac: iMovie – FREE
  • Windows: Photo – includes a FREE video editor
  • We’d recommend trying the free software that comes with your computer to begin with, as this can often do a reasonable job, and keeps things simple for beginners. Once you’ve got the hang of editing video files into one file, and find you want to do more with your video, then Davinci Resolve is an excellent choice, particularly as it’s free, and offers advanced controls.

    See our complete guide to video editing software!

    Think about creating a catchy title and amazing Thumbnail!

    Titles: This is where you’re creativity can shine, and is essential to capture the clicks and views of YouTube viewers. Try working on making your title SHORT, snappy, and to the point. If it’s too long, people won’t be able to read the full title, and will not know what the video is about. You’ll also need to work on short, captivating text for your thumbnail.

    YouTube Thumbnails need to be catchy

    YouTube Thumbnails need to be catchy and to the point

    Thumbnails are probably the most important thing on YouTube: They can either make or break your video, and are the first thing people see when looking at videos on YouTube. Many people don’t even read the title, but instead click the most interesting and captivating thumbnail available. This is where your many years of Photoshop skills will come in useful. You’ll also need to be aware of thumbnails often showing much smaller on screen, depending on the device used.

    Using LUTs for colour-grading videos

    Look Up Tables (LUTs) offer a flexible and efficient way to achieve consistent and stylized colour-grading results in editing. They are commonly used to enhance visual aesthetics, create specific moods, and achieve desired looks in various media production workflows. Using LUTs for your video editing will greatly improve the look and feel of your videos, taking them from basic to professional. You can read more on how to use LUTs effectively for your videography here.

    Free LUTs page on Sony website

    Sony offers free LUTs on their website

    How to upload your video to YouTube

    Once you’ve completed your video, it’s time to share it! Go to YouTube.com, and look for the upload icon in the top-right of the screen:

    Find the + upload video button on YouTube

    Find the + upload video button on YouTube (top right)

    Click Upload video, and you’ll be presented with the following screen, where you can drag and drop your video file. Once you’ve done this, YouTube will start uploading the video, and you can fill in the title, and upload your thumbnail. Once the upload is completed you can click the publish button and your video will be live on YouTube! (Once processed).

    Drag your video file onto here to upload your video to YouTube

    Drag your video file onto here to upload your video to YouTube

    Whether you share your video with YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, Instagram or TikTok, make sure you get the best results by sharing it with your friends, and ask anyone interested for feedback on what they thought. You’ll also be able to get feedback from people who watch the video from reading the comments. Good luck!

    Have a look at our videography section for more great hints, tips, and how-to articles, plus have a look at our guide to vlogging. Find the best cameras for video, vlogging and YouTube.

    Related reading

    The AP Improve Your Photography Series – in partnership with MPB – is designed to take you from the beginnings of photography, introduce different shooting skills and styles, and teach you how to grow as a photographer, so you can enjoy producing amazing photography and video, to take you to the next level, whether that’s making money or simply mastering your art form. You’ll find a whole range of further articles in this series.

    Lead Photo by Vanilla Bear Films on Unsplash

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