Gear up for YouTube success
Forget expensive equipment, all you need is fresh content and hard work to create a successful video channel. Savio D'Souza and Ashutosh Desai talk to four YouTubers who've made it big, but record their episodes with smartphones, DSLRs, and even use free apps and software to edit them...
Pey Doma Lepcha aka Peggi has been on YouTube since June, 2013. Her channel ‘MyInDulzens’ is where she posts DIY tutorials on how to craft satin-ribbon and fabric flowers. “I used to watch videos uploaded by other artists and my initial intention was to just share pictures of the flowers that I created,” she says. “After uploading a few videos, I started getting requests for tutorials from viewers.”
Peggi’s videos are simple to follow; they use text overlays to describe the materials she uses, and instrumental music for ambience. “Be unique and original,” she advises. “Your video should have a little something that differentiates it from the others,” she adds. Peggi knows what she’s talking about: her second video, ‘D.I.Y. Handmade Satin Rose’ currently has over 2.8 million views.
Stats: 150+ videos | 1.7 lakh+ subscribers
Equipment: Started recording with a 16MP pointandshoot FujiFilm camera, after which she used the Nokia Lumia 720 smartphone. She currently uses a Samsung Galaxy S5 to shoot.
Software: Started with Windows Movie Maker, but later switched to a licensed version of Camtasia, and now uses iMovie on a MacBook Air to edit her videos.
Nisha Madhulika’s highly successful cooking channel is dedicated to vegetarian recipes, which are easy to cook and wholesome. “Lack of equipment will not stop you from being successful,” she believes. “You can start shooting on a smartphone, and soon you will find a set of tools that you’re comfortable with.”
In her videos, she runs through her step-bystep recipes in Hindi, with close captioning in English, as well as text overlays that allow viewers to write down the ingredients as she displays them on screen. “Just take your time,” she advises. “Try to keep improving with each video. If you grow with each step there can be no stopping you.” And it’s true: Nisha’s channel has over 38 crore views and this number keeps increasing with every new video that she uploads.
www.youtube.comuserNishaMadhulika Stats: 1,100+ videos | 12 lakh+ subscribers
Equipment: In 2011, started recording with a Panasonic TM700 digital camera, and has now graduated to a Canon 60D DSLR.
Software: Her early videos were edited on Windows Movie Maker, but she now used Vegas Movie Studio, which came bundled with her Windows-based laptop.
Kabir Singh started his channel ‘Acoustic Singh’ in August 2016. “My videos are recorded using a smartphone,” he says. “But I wanted my viewers to have a good listening experience, so I pre-record my vocals in a closed room with the fans turned off.” Kabir then plays his audio recording on his cellphone and lip-syncs to it when shooting his videos. He finally merges the track and vocals using software. In just five months, the cover songs Kabir has posted on his channel boast of over 6.5 million views.
“I think people should just keep it simple,” he says. “I never thought my ‘no frills’ style of presenting a song – no frame changes, no noise reduction, et al – would be viewed by so many people, so I’d like to thank all my supporters. Folk who want to get onto YouTube should simply keep uploading videos; if you have good content, people will watch.”
Stats: 15 videos | 83,000+ subscribers
Equipment: Uses a Samsung Galaxy J7 handset.
Software: Began with smartphone apps, and now uses Windows Movie Maker to sync audio over his videos.
Debasree Banerjee joined YouTube in 2009, but found her true calling in December 2013 when she started publishing makeup, beauty and lifestyle videos. In one of her posts, she admits that running this channel – now with over one crore views – is her dream job. And if her meetandgreet video is anything to go by, her die-hard fan following spills into the real world too. Her mantra for success, “Start today, don’t over think, be ready to work really hard, and have fun.”
Stats: 320+ videos | 84,000+ subscribers
Equipment: Initially shot her episodes with an iPhone; now uses a Canon 60D DSLR, and a Zoom H1 recorder for sound capture.
Software: Edited earlier videos with the iMovie app on an iPhone, but has now graduated to Final Cut Pro.
Windows Movie Maker: If you run Windows 7 or 8 on your PC, you probably have this software installed. It allows for direct camera capture from your web cam; supports HD videos, and even video transitions between multiple clips.
UsingWindows Movie Maker, you can playback your footage on your PC in full-screen mode; you also get a ‘Storyboard Display’ that lets you arrange and reorder clipsphotos, and add cool effects and music. Its ‘Timeline Display’ provides a linear presentation of every second of footage allowing you to fine-tune your production, and you can even create text captions that can be placed over your video.
VSDC Video Editor: Sadly, Microsoft stopped support for Windows Movie Maker on Jan 10, this year. Instead, you could try outVSDC. It contains all the tools you would need to crop, resize and import pictures, music and multiple videos. Besides, VSDC is packed with effects and transitions; you can auto-adjust colour contrast, flip the video, fade in and out, add special effects, normalize volume, change audio tempo and pitch, add charts and more. | www.videosoftdev.com
iMovie: If you shoot your videos on an iPhone or own a MacBook, then using the free iMovie appsoftware is an absolute ‘no brainer’. It lets you select from dozens of styles to add animated titles; you can choose from 10 video filters and add a broadcast feel to your videos with picture-in-picture and split-screen effects. You get a built-in music and sound library, while voiceover recording makes it easy to create dubs. iMovie comes with multiple templates that make videocreation extremely simple.
And when you’re done, you can publish directly to YouTube. | www.apple.cominimovie
You can use your digital camera’s or smartphone’s mic when recording your episodes. However, a dedicated microphone will help improve sound quality to a great extent, especially if you’re recording video logs and songs. These come in two designs: omnidirectional and cardioid. The former can pick up sound evenly from all directions and are ideal for group discussions. The latter’s “capture area” is more focused, when only one person is sitting in front of it.
Consider the Samson Go Mic USB with switchable cardioid and omnidirectional pickup (`4,700),Blue Snowflake cardioid USB mic (`5,500), Samson C01U Pro Studio cardioid USB (`6,500). These are “condenser” mics, which are more sensitive and are capable of higher output levels. They are better suited in a sound-proofed room.
Then, there are the cardioid mics: the Shure SV200 (`1,600), the Behringer XM8500 (`3,100), and the Samson Q2U USB with headphones (`5,200). These are “dynamic” microphones, which are less sensitive than the condenser type.
For situations where you have to move around, try the portable Zoom H1 (`8,500), which is powered by a single AA battery and is equipped with two unidirectional mics for stereo recordings, a line-in for an external mic, and a microSD slot for storage
If you own the OnePlus 3T (`29,999),Huawei P9 (`39,999), Samsung Galaxy S7 (`43,400), Apple iPhone 6s7 (`50,000 onwards) or Google Pixel (`57,000 onwards) then you are set as far as cameras are concerned. All these devices allow for Full HD video recording with audio. In the lower range, the cameras on the Redmi Note 3 (`12,000), Moto G4 Plus (`13,500), and Oppo F1s (`17,000) work just as well.
Alternatively, you can use a digital camera to record HD footage. Here, you can consider the Nikon Coolpix A300 (`7,800) and the Sony Cybershot DSC-W830 (`8,300). You can also check out the Nikon Coolpix S7000 (`10,000) and Canon Powershot SX720 HS (`22,000) which can shoot Full HD videos and support stereo recordings. All four devices boast of optical image stabilisation to offset blur caused by shaky hands.
For almost professional-quality audiovideo footage, you could try entry-level DSLRs like the Canon EOS 1300D (`25,000) and the Nikon D3400 (`30,000). Both come with an 18-55mm stock lens.
For outdoor and adventure shots, look at rugged options like the Polaroid Cube (`9,100), SJCam SJ5000 Plus (`15,000), GoPro Hero Action (`19,000), Hero5 Session (`29,000) and the Hero5 Black Action (`36,100). These devices are capable of shooting Full HD videos, and are dust and water resistant.
In any case, try using your existing smartphone or camera to record. You can always upgrade to better hardware once your channel gains some traction.
Note:Make it a point to use a “Class 10” memory card, whether it is an SD card for cameras or microSD for phones. This type of memory is capable of higher readwrite speeds, which is necessary when shooting high-definition content. Here, you can consider brands such as SanDisk, Samsung, Transcend and Strontium.