Tips & Tricks on Audio, Video, Trackers, Tools & Goals from a 2 Month Journey as a Newbie
Over the past 2 months, I posted YouTube videos for two channels (AkaAki Design & TaxGuide101). Over 60 videos in, I have learned a lot as a Newbie. So, here I am sharing my challenges, lessons, and solutions for new YouTubers who started on a similar journey.
Part I: Audio
A video without audio never reaches its full potential. Bad audio can distract and ruin a fantastic video. Your voice, background sound, and music add emotional value and help deliver information. Audio is crucial.
Tip 1: Slow Yourself Down
My nature is to talk fast, to my detriment sometimes. And since I have an accent, I need to speak slowly on videos so that my videos are well understood.
If you talk too fast in your recordings, your directions can be confusing and lead to errors. You have to S L O W Yourself D O W N.
It is easier to speed up a video than slow it down. When you slow down a video originally recorded fast, it sounds distorted.
Tip 2: Transcribe Your Videos & Make Them Accessible
YouTube has an automatic transcription tool that you can use when uploading your videos. However, if that doesn’t work for you, there are many free transcription apps. Otter.ai is one tool that has a free version, but if you import many files, the paid version will have you covered.
You want to have your videos transcribed to make them accessible to a broader audience. If the transcripts you download have grammatical and spelling mistakes, you can run them thru a free version of Grammarly in under one minute.
Tip 3: Edit Less by Starting With the Best Set-up
Because we are newbies, our processes have not been perfected yet. To stay focused on creating and posting more content consistently, we have to reduce the editing process.
Start with the best setup to eliminate the most time-hijacking problems and record the cleanest version possible. That will reduce your time editing and increase your time on the more important parts of the cycle, like creating and posting.
If you find yourself spending too much time editing a video, consider whether it may not be better to re-record it.
Tip 4: Record Without Distractions. Removing Background Noise Later Is Harder.
You have a busy life — pets, family, kids, and outside noise, all can ruin your audio. For example, you may think nobody will hear the landscaping work outside while recording your video, but the audio can sound terrible even if you remove the background noise.
While you can edit out short interruptions and distractions, it is much harder to fix more serious issues. Therefore, start with a distraction-free environment so that you can focus on producing content rather than repairing bad recordings.
Part II: Visuals
High-quality videos help solidify your expertise and persuade your viewers of your message. You can use Screenflow as a recording and editing software if you have a Mac. However, the free version adds a watermark.
Screenshot is another alternative for Mac users. It is free and is available on all Apple computers to create screen recordings.
Finally, for both PC and Mac users, another popular option is Camtasia. It is a video editor with a free 30-day trial.
Tip 5: What to Wear On Camera?
It may seem basic, but what you wear on camera may either support your message or be a distraction. Are the patterns you are wearing overtaking your video?
If you remove the background (as you can do in Screenflow), will the clothing blend with the rest of the video? For example, a white top with a light screen recording may look like your head is cut off (lesson learned (☉.☉)).
Tip 6: Do a Recording Test
Before you spend 30 minutes recording yourself and thinking it was a great take, do a 1 to 2-minute recording test. That can help you notice if something is out of place before you waste a fine recording.
A quick recording test can help you notice if the stuff behind you is distracting, whether the camera is positioned correctly, your hair is not sticking out of place, or you have pet hair everywhere (=•́ܫ•̀=) (done that!).
Tip 7: Check Your Angles
Try to set up your camera or laptop at eye level. If your computer feels too low, put a book underneath. A video where the angle is too high or low distracts the audience from the main message.
Tip 8: Show Recording Monitor
Some recording and editing software, such as Screenflow, give you the option to see yourself in a separate window during the recording process to notice right away if something is amiss.
However, don’t forget to move the window to another monitor or outside your recording area. Otherwise, it will be part of your screen recording (done that too) ╮ (. ❛ ᴗ ❛.) ╭.
Tip 9: Consider Your Body Posture & Use a Chair With Lower Back
If you want to remove your background easily, you need to use a chair with a lower back. A high-back chair will create ghosting (appearing and disappearing) on your video with your movement.
You may want to use a comfy and flexible office chair while working at the computer editing or doing other things. However, when you are recording, a stiffer, lower-back chair that will make you sit up straight and look confident is a better choice. In addition, you don’t want to rock back and forth during your videos or have a bad posture during your recordings.
Tip 10: Remove Clutter in the Background
Consider any clutter, distractions, or private matters in the background. If you are not removing the background or blurring it, any mess in the back is a diversion from your video’s message.
Tip 11: Create Short Intro Videos In Canva
Use Canva to make short video introductions for your videos. You can then insert them at the beginning of your recording to create more compelling and professional-looking videos. If you decide to purchase Camtasia, that software has numerous ready-to-use intro videos.
Tip 12: Record Multiple Videos in One Day, Then Edit Them as You Have Time
It may be more efficient to record multiple videos one day and then edit them over the next day(s) or weeks, as you have time.
The recording process requires more preparation and set-up, a quiet environment, good lighting, dressing up, etc. While editing can be done in a more forgiving environment (i.e., on a cough, with kids around, etc.).
Tip 13: Don’t Focus on Couple Dislikes, but Rather on the Viewers Who Find Your Content Helpful
In late 2021, YouTube made the number of dislikes private, but users can still dislike a video, and the creators can see the number of dislikes in YouTube Studio.
Having few users dislike your video can be a good thing. The search algorithm will reduce the likelihood that your content will be recommended to viewers who dislike it. You don’t want users that despise your videos to keep getting them in their search results. ⤜(⚆ᗜ⚆)⤏
Tip 14: Natural Light is King, but Just as Well You Can Use Light Rings
Recording in front of natural light coming from windows is ideal. However, not everyone has such an option; therefore, an alternative is to use light rings to shine a bit of light on your face during recordings. There are many light ring options available, starting at $25. They produce a similar natural light glow.
Tip 15: Use Filters to Create Warmer & More Professional-Looking Videos. Just Don't Overdo It!
Use the tools you have. All videos created by professionals utilize extra lighting, filters, etc., so don’t feel like you are somehow ‘cheating’ if you use filters. There is nothing wrong with wanting to look a little better on camera as long as you don’t try to make yourself look like a glowing fairy.
A good rule of thumb is not to use a filter at more than 50% intensity. Of course, you don’t want your videos to look like home videos from the 90s, but over-processed videos lose the authenticity that YouTube viewers crave.
Tip 16: Use Markers in Your Recordings
If you use Screenflow, you can add markers to your recordings to quickly find places that need edits, transitions, or deletion.
You can also pause your recording to get your bearing, remove a distraction, or brush up on something. Sometimes it is easier to fix things while recording than later when your set-up has been dismantled.
Tip 17: Pause & Repeat After a Mistake
Get in the habit of repeating a section if you make a mistake. Then when you mark it and go back, you will have a second version right there, ready to replace your blunder.
Part III: Thumbnails
Canva is a design tool with many different video-recording objectives, such as creating intros, graphics, thumbnails, etc. The platform can overwhelm you with possibilities. However, rather than try to learn and use everything it offers, you should start with a couple of uses, such as creating thumbnails.
Tip 18: Make Your Thumbnails Pop
Video thumbnails are the first impressions of your videos. You want the viewers to see your thumbnails while scrolling and stop to click on them.
By default, if you don’t upload your own thumbnail, YouTube will generate one for you from your video, but it often is not the most flattering moment. Therefore, by creating and uploading your own thumbnails, you control what viewers see.
If your thumbnail is weak, people are less likely to click on it. You want to convey what the video is about and make viewers excited about your content. The free and pro version of Canva lets you create templates that you can re-use for a consistent design.
Tip 19: Don’t Spend Too Much Time on First Version of Thumbnails.
Don’t spend too much time designing the first version of your thumbnails — just get your videos posted. It is super easy to upload a new version later on.
Once you have many videos behind your belt, you will start getting a better idea of what kind of thumbnails you want, how you want to represent your brand, etc. Then, you can go back and re-create a consistent theme as you evolve — no need to spend too much time on the first version.
Tip 20: Analyze Other Channels’ Thumbnails to Discover a Style for Your Own
Use the YouTube resources to gather ideas of what you would want your thumbnails to look like. Evaluate the thumbnails of the channels that you like and examine what elements they include.
Do they have logos, consistent colors, unique fonts, images, faces, etc.? What pops out to you about them? Try to design your thumbnails to fit who you are and what your channel is about. It very well may evolve multiple times over time.
Tip 21: Also Look For What You DON’T Want
It is essential to decide what you want in your thumbnails, but just as important is to look at the thumbnails that you DON’T like and avoid that.
If clickbait, flashy images with funny facial expressions are not for you, then stay away from creating such images. Your style will evolve, but you also don’t want to cringe every time you look at your work.
Part IV: Organization
If you make only one video, you won’t need a process to keep yourself organized. However, even a new YouTuber with under 20 videos can start to compile a massive number of supporting files, which, if unorganized, can quickly become in disarray. So it is crucial to keep yourself at least semi-organized.
Tip 22: Create an Excel Tracker
Use Excel or Google Sheets to keep track of your videos. You can start with the details below and add as you see fit:
- Draft Date
- Published Date
- Video Link
The purpose of the tracker is two-fold. The first importance of having a tracker is a quick summary and access to your videos.
The second reason why having a tracker is beneficial is the ability to analyze your content. The tracker can help you see trends and what does well and plan future videos. It can help you spot what topics do well, what length seems popular, how long it takes you to post after recording, etc.
Tip 23: Organize Your Video Files
By the time you have ten or more videos, there are typical items you know you will need for each recording. You may have the following files:
- video file
- transcript for closed captions
- files used for tutorials
If you don’t start organizing yourself from the get-go, your folder structure will become cluttered and disorganized. In addition, you will end up re-doing things from scratch rather than re-using what you already have created, which is inefficient.
You can start organizing your folder by labeling them with different colors and tags to separate the ones you have already published, drafts, and future work. That can help you quickly identify what is currently in the pipeline and what you should record next.
Tip 24: Establish Fast & Efficient Processes and Improve Them as You Go
After few videos, try to incorporate the most efficient processes for yourself. For example, maybe recording multiple videos at once and then editing them as you have time is the way to go. Perhaps creating numerous thumbnails at once is more efficient than one at a time as you need them.
If you liked a video you created, put together a checklist of what you used (i.e., added transitions, intro, pointer color, zooms, etc.) so you can apply similar elements to your next video. Or, if you are using a recording software such as Screenflow, you can copy over the main set-up file and then replace it with a new recording, making it faster to apply similar fonts, transitions, etc.
Tip 25: Repurpose Your Videos on Websites, Blog Posts, Social Media, etc.
After all the work of preparing, creating, editing, and posting your videos, try to think of other ways you can re-use them. For example, you can repurpose your videos on websites, social media, blog posts, etc.
Various audience members like consuming their information differently. Some like to digest information in an article or listen to audio, while others like to watch it as a video. Many people cross-consume on different media, and it is valuable to repurpose and repost your content on various platforms to cast a wider net.
Tip 26: Solve One Problem at a Time. Spend $ as You Need To.
Don’t be that guy with the finest skiing gear who doesn’t know how to get down the mountain. ┗(^o^ )┓三 You are a new YouTuber. Don’t spend too much money on anything until you absolutely need to.
Solve one problem at a time.
If your lighting sucks, get a light ring or record in a different place. If your audio is horrible, get a better mike. You don’t need a fancy studio and equipment to create good content. Preparation is key. With each recording, fix one thing, improve on that and keep going.
Part IV: What Are Your Goals for the YouTube Channel?
From time to time, re-evaluate why you want to have a YouTube channel? Of course, you don’t have to have all the answers, and your goals can change over time. However, consider your purpose and re-adjust how you produce and present your content depending on your goals.
What are your goals for your channel?
- Enhance your brand.
- Document your work.
- Create a portfolio.
- Get a job.
- Become an industry expert.
- Teach online.
- Create community.
- Make money.
- Express yourself.
- Build a path to other things.
Final Tip 27: Best Way To Learn Is By Doing!
You can do tons of research, watch 100s videos, and read numerous books, but nothing will teach you as much as making a few videos and posting them on YouTube. Practice trumps theory every time.
It is super rewarding that you will become a pro and have your own tips to share before you know it. Another thing that may surprise you is that you can gain more confidence by putting yourself out of your comfort zone. You will soon realize that you are very much capable.
Even if you eventually decide not to continue with YouTube, you can say you tried and know what it is all about. It is better to regret not working out than not even trying.
Now it is your turn — share where you are in your journey? How long have you been posting on YouTube? What are your biggest challenges? Can you offer any other tips to other New YouTubers?
Aki ( ＾◡＾)っ ♡