Making Movies for YouTube

Step #1 – Shooting your video: We’ll assume that you have already shot the video for your project. However, YouTube has some good resources for shooting video, using lighting, and getting good sound at their “toolbox” site. Also a good starting point is their Making Videos page, which is part of their help pages. The UMW New Media center also has some helpful tips on shooting video.

Step #2 – Getting your video on the computer: Depending on what you used to shoot your video, you will need to get it onto your computer. If you have a camera that uses mini-DV tapes, you’ll need a firewire cable to transfer the video. If you are using a PC, Windows Movie Maker can be used to transfer the video from your camera. iMovie will be the software you will use if you’re on a Mac. If you are using a camera with a flash memory card, a hard drive, or using a digital still camera that has a movie setting, you’ll need to use a USB cable. If you have a camcorder that uses mini-DVD, follow the directions that came with your camera to get video onto your computer.

Step #3 – Editing Your Video: Assuming you will take the raw footage from your camera and add titles and transitions, you will need a video editor. Again, if you use a PC, then Windows Movie Maker is the program that is included with the Windows operating system to edit your video. If you’ve got a Mac, iMovie will be what you use. When you have a final edited version, complete with titles, transitions, and any additional audio, you will need to save the movie for uploading to YouTube. YouTube can accept many different formats of video as long as the length of the video is 10 minutes or less, and as long as the file is less than 2GB (gigabyte). If you are using Movie Maker you can save the file as a .wmv file. This will be a compressed file that will be decent quality and be much smaller than the 2GB restriction. If you use iMovie, you can save the file as an MPEG-4 file and again it will be compressed to a much smaller file. If you are using iMovie ‘09, the program has a built in uploader to YouTube. If you want a similar capability on the PC, then download a free video editor called VideoSpin from Pinnacle Systems.

Step #4 – Uploading Video to YouTube: If you are using VideoSpin or iMovie ‘09, then you will upload the movie directly from the program. Look in the help file for specific instructions on how to do this. It’s fairly intuitive for both programs. If you are using Movie Maker or a previous version of iMovie, you will upload the compressed video file that you saved onto your computer from the editor. A .wmv file from Movie Maker and a MPEG-4 file from iMovie. If you haven’t already, you need to sign up for a YouTube account. You then sign in to YouTube and look for the “Upload” button in the upper right corner of the page.

YouTube upload

You will then need to provide a Title, Description, a Category, and include at least one “tag” (a keyword) so that people can search for your video. There are other options that you can choose, such as making a video private or public (they’re public by default), as well as date, mapping, and sharing options. It will take a while for the video to upload, depending on the size of the file, your connection speed to the Internet, and how busy the YouTube site is. Once your video is done uploading, additional time is needed to convert the video to the format that will play on the YouTube site (flash, also known as FLV). Again, depending on how busy the site is, your video will be available generally within an hour. You can now tell people about your video by linking to it, or by embedding it in your own web page. Congratulations, you are a YouTube video producer!

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