Remember that MTV music video – it acted as anthem, then officially started MTV by being broadcast as the cable channel’s first video? “Video Killed The Radio Star” is a catchy pop tune, but also proved neatly prophetic. Text will never die, yet more of us are morphing our love of personal expression into shooting videos, rather than writing old school text articles. Indeed, the digital video revolution has been here for awhile. It’s never been easier to participate, especially by joining video titan YouTube.
Digital Video Revolution
How to start? Like much in life, a playful approach serves well. I’ve shot hundreds of videos. While my early ones are no masterpieces, they gave me a valuable education. Those seminal clips were experiments. Carefree experimentation allows practice. Since then, I’ve produced serious work. Shooting fun, even downright silly skits, or home made music videos, encourages a whimsical feeling, but also educates.
Process a few home videos with an editor. Windows Movie Maker or Mac’s iMovie are starter editors. Pretend you already have a YouTube channel. Now shoot a video for it. A high school graduation can act as practice promo for an item to promote for real later. Maybe you make jewelry or fashion accessories. At the end of the footage, insert a close-up shot of a bracelet or ring – something a well dressed grad would wear at a graduation ceremony. Record an energetic voice over, as a digital sound file like a WAV or MP3, then layer over the photo. You’ve created a practice ad for something to actually promote on YouTube, and learned to make more polished videos.
What if you want a YouTube Channel, but have no clear theme? There are tons of possibilities to explore and offer viewers: Music videos, tech advice, product reviews, motivational talk, comedy skits, sports, Hollywood gossip, video blogging, acting, dancing – etc. Sky’s the absolute limit for content, but it should be tailored to your likes and talents.
Don’t wish to be put in a box, or bogged down by specific focus? Put up a variety channel, so viewers find anything. That potpourri may be hard to pull off, but at least gets you started. You can always sort out a “theme” later. Just dive in, there’s no penalty for beginners.
A guy who answers questions dressed as a Ninja created a YouTube sensation. Ask A Ninja isn’t anyone’s idea of high art, but it’s proven incredibly popular and profitable. Look at singer, songwriter Rebecca Black. She got so much attention for her self produced song, ‘Friday’, everyone from Conan O’Brien to Stephen Colbert are singing – and gently mocking – her musical praises. This once nobody is now a real somebody courtesy of YouTube. It’s different for everyone, but whatever you create, make sure you love it – or at least like a whole lot. Write, or in this case, film what you know.
Production Nuts & Bolts
Digital camcorders have never been cheaper. Models from Sony, JVC, Kodak or Panasonic are loaded with bells and whistles, at incredibly low prices. Pocket cams like Flip provide great video for a fraction of a full blown camcorder price. Even cell phones or gadgets like iPod or iPad offer real video camera power.
You’ll probably want a dedicated camcorder. Not only can they be tripod mounted, but recording time, video quality and general logistics prove easier for dedicated YouTube videographers. Start small for now. If things prosper, invest in more professional gear.
YouTube’s great strength is the community itself. Sure, many people don’t sign up. They merely browse viral videos of the day, but for millions more, YouTube is a daily sign-in. It’s a real secret weapon.
Reach out to colleagues. Email them. Friend them. Subscribe to channels. The more you invite fellow YouTubers into your creative domain, the more your own ratings, fun factor and satisfaction will increase. Sadly, you’ll encounter insecure types who’ll challenge you, or even criticize you savagely. It’s all in the game, my video vixen. Be strong, creative, and move forward. For as many pathetic, cringing critics, you’ll get as many or more supporters and cheerleaders to encourage you onward.
Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and others spread YouTube Channel goodness. Don’t discount them, just because YouTube is so big. A Facebook page dedicated to your particular video magic is a place to start. If you tweet regularly, include updates about your videos, or open a Twitter account devoted entirely to the YouTube Channel.
Good luck with YouTube. Remember to have patience on your video journey. Many wildly popular YouTube stars needed years to make a vibrant video name. Don’t quit after only a few short weeks. Even the biggest Hollywood movies or TV shows must build ‘brand’ awareness. That doesn’t happen overnight – for anybody.