How To Record A Video For YouTube?

how to record a video for youtube

You might ask, why should you learn how to record a video for YouTube? What has it to do with this blog which apparently has to do with money making online?

Well, when I decided to write this blog post I had three groups of people in mind:

  • Retired people, as because of my chosen niche for this website is to help people wanting to find their financial freedom to enable them to retire early, like I did many, many moons ago.
  • A much larger group that includes anyone looking for ways to earn some money online, from a few dollars a month to make the ends meet, to a few thousands in view of replacing their day job; at home Moms desiring to earn an income to be able to stay at home to take care of their little family; disabled people who, due to their disability cannot find a job, but could still make money online; those who hate their job, their boss, their daily commute, their long working hours with no hope for promotion, etc., etc., etc.
  • Then, those who simply would like to pick up video making as a hobby.

In any case, the above 3 groups could use YouTube as platform to record their video and earn as much or as little money as they want depending on their degree of ambition.

Making money with YouTube is not something that we are going to ignore, as it is, for the majority of us, the ultimate goal. For that, I recommend that you subscribe to my free Internet Marketing course, where you will learn how to monetise your videos. Click on the banner below and get started now …

What is search engine positioning?

But, for now, in this article, we are going to learn …

How to record a video for YouTube?

If you told me a couple of years ago, I would not have believed that, first I could record a video and upload it to a YouTube account.

And now, you can often see people on the street with a microphone in hand, camera fixed on a tripod, filming historical buildings or monument. Others, in the countryside capturing images.

Also, there are some who have transformed a room in their apartment into a recording studio.

That’s right, all of these people are doing this for a reason. Either to make some money at some stage, or just as a hobby. But in any case, all of them will need to learn this unique skill, and what sort of equipment will suite best their needs.

The purpose of this post is to just that, and at the same time that you do not need a large investment, or a great technical knowledge to record a video and to upload it on YouTube.

You only need you, a lot of desire and a little practice. So then, let’s get started …

3, 2, 1, Camera … And action…

What camera to use to record a video for YouTube?

And I am not forgetting my promise: “without spending a fortune“. I am not saying for free, but I’m going to show you how to record the best video with the least initial investment, or even, using what you already have, so that you can upload it to YouTube.

First thing I want to be clear on is that you have to record in HD. The High Definition Wow!

As I do not want to be too techie, what I mean is that you just have to pick the right equipment, starting with the right camera. And what you want is to fall in love with the camera, I will go straight to the point …

What you need is at least a quality of 1280 x 720 pixels. Get to the idea that less, implies a considerable drop in quality. And if you strive to create quality content, I say that you will also be concerned about offering good quality in your videos.

Well, to record you have have two options …

  • either you use a camera or
  • a mobile phone

If you’ve considered buying a camcorder, I’ll tell you right now that I think it is a bad option!

When you start you do not know if you are going to feel comfortable with the format or if you are going to get the results you expect. Therefore, it is better to wait a bit before buying such a specific equipment.

This is one of the reasons why I have also decided to create this post. In addition, today, almost all mid-range photo cameras can record videos in HD. And you still have the option to take pictures.

Yes, photos: Have you considered that for your blog you need many images?

As most of us here are most likely to be writing content for a blog, either to earn some money, or as a hobby, you need good quality photos.

In fact, many of the images I use on my blogs and websites are from free stocks. But I do my own photography too, which is far better.

And if you want to learn more about blogging for money, join my free Internet Marketing classes by clicking on the image below …

What is search engine positioning?

So, that said, let’s see …

What requirements does your camera must have to be able to record a video for YouTube?

Basically, what you have to look for when choosing your camera is …

  • Record in HD (1080 x 720 pixels)
  • Input for a microphone. It is a mini jack input (that of normal headphones)
  • Support for tripod. As we will see later, it is not an essential requirement since we can save it with a trick.

Reflex, EVIL or Compact Cameras

Many of us already heard of these types of cameras, but for the novice, let me briefly explain the differences in plain English:

record a video for youtube
A Reflex Camera
  • Reflex cameras are cameras that allows to view the image through the lens, permitting the photographer to see exactly how it will look like.
  • The EVIL camera, contrary to its name, has nothing evil. It simply stands for “Electronic Viewfinder”. It is in fact a very professional camera.
  • Compact cameras, also known as “point-and-shoot” or “P&S” cameras, are, as their name suggests … compact. They are very easy to use with all their automated adjusting systems. Very popular now for these reasons, if you are not using your smartphone.

You can buy your camera from Amazon and have exactly what you are looking for. Your investment will vary according to your long term plans in the future, and your budget of course …

Mobile phones or smartphones

The arrival of mobile phones has changed the panorama a lot. Now, the person who has a high-end mobile has in his possession a camera of photos and video of very good quality. Also, although I’ve never done it, I know that there are people who edit videos with their phones.

Using a mobile has two advantages:

You have a secure microphone input (that of the headphones) you can get good quality terminals at affordable prices. If like me, you wish to go the second hand route, you will reduce the investment very much.


You need a special tripod for mobile. Although I have not done an exhaustive search, all that I have seen are short, usually have about 20 cm / 8 inches. 

That forces us to look for a place where we can support the tripod with the height we need. But if you do a bit of research I am quite sure that you can find taller tripods.

What do you need to record video sound?

I’m sorry for your pocket, but you need a have a good microphone as a poor quality sound is most annoying to the video viewer.

The microphone I am using cost me less than $20 but I am having a problem with it: the size of the cable. It was too short, therefore it was uncomfortable which resulted in me buying an extension for it.

Although it didn’t cost me too much, as I just went on Amazon and ordered a second hand extension for a couple of bucks. But it is something that you might want to remember.

The stand or tripod

How to record a great video for youtube
Use the right tripod

How to hold a mobile phone or a camera without a tripod stand?

Necessity sharpens ingenuity. Depending where you are filming, be it indoors or outdoors, there hundreds of options. You could use a book, a brick, a branch, a tin can, etc …

Audio duplicator

A silly accessory, but a very useful one. It’s just a cable or plug that will allow you to have two mini jack inputs, instead of one.

And why do we need this?

Every time you finish recording a scene, you will want to see yourself and hear yourself on your mobile. Your mobile only has one entry and it is the one you are using to enter the microphone. This causes the smartphone to not reproduce the sound through the speakers. As you’re going to want to hear (I’m telling you, you cannot avoid it), you’ll have to remove the microphone from your mobile phone.

Do you deduce what is going to happen?

Yes, the plasticine holds a lot, but not so much. The mobile is going to move and that means replacing it and framing it.

With this duplicator, we will have an input for the microphone and another for the headphones.

Not to mention that you save a lot of time putting and removing. Do not be scared, I already know that life is very expensive. The gadget is worth less than $3.

How to record your video for YouTube without spending a lot of money

Here is your shopping list:

How to record a video for youtube?
Your Shopping List!

Second hand mobile: between $50 and $80. But you probably have it already.

New mobile: the mid-range already record in HD. Prices are around $150.

Microphone cable: at Amazon they cost between $2 and $3, and going through the reviews, the quality is acceptable. 

Within some limits, if you give me a choice between sound quality and image, I prefer to preserve the sound quality. As I told you, mine costed me less than $20 and the quality is fine.

Tripod: I would tell you here that you save your money. If you are only going to make videos from time to time or if you do not know if you are going to feel comfortable doing them, do not invest in a tripod.

The mobile is essential and you can resell it to recover part of your investment. You should only buy a mobile tripod if you find one that allows you to put it at the height you need. 

The place where to place the tripod will depend on how the site where you record is and what is your position and height. A mobile tripod costs about $6, a cheap camera tripod is around $12.

Plasticine: do we add it to the budget? Okay then, $2

Duplicator:  $2.50

TOTAL (doing it on a shoestring): about $100

The staging of the video

The framing

The framing or composition is what will be seen in the image. When you put yourself behind the camera, you must decide what you want to see, what not and where you will appear in relation to the other elements of the scene.

Although YouTube already allows the reproduction of videos in vertical, the most normal are the horizontal videos. Never get to record first. Before you always have to frame. Believe me, you will save yourself from repeating many videos.

How to frame?

I rely on two parameters:

1. The rule of thirds:

With the image below, you will understand it perfectly. 

How to record a video for youtube
The rule of thirds by courtesy of Wikipedia

The four points that are created from the union of the four lines are the points where we must place the main element of the video. 

Be careful if you sit in a chair with wheels or you get up frequently (as it is my case that I do not stand still) it is very easy for the frame to be lost.

2. The middle plane:

I like to use the medium shot since it seems to me the ideal proportion. Not very far, not very close. However, it is very common to see videos in which the person has been recorded in the foreground.

I can understand this if you are making a video about makeup and it is very important that you see the face of the person; but if it is not the case, it seems excessive to me.

In my opinion, the use of the foreground in a video is like when a person comes very close to your face to talk to you. It is overwhelming.

Also, with a medium shot you place the person in a context. This type of plane is also more useful to be able to put annotations. As a recommendation, I would tell you to use the medium plane or the short medium plane. Although with that I do not mean that you do not use others, it is also nice to play and try different options.

3. Respect the air:

Remember to always leave “air”. That is, a space between the upper limit of the image and your head. As I comment in my videos, if your head matches the upper limit of the frame, the feeling it gives is strange.

4. Gestures:

When you do the framing tests, calculate the space you have to move. Thus, although you gesticulate a lot, the hands will not leave the scene. On the other hand, I recommend that gesticulate (but without going over). It gives a feeling of naturalness. Unless you get like a helicopter, it will look more unwieldy.

In my case, it relaxes me. Since I am very nervous, I never know what to do with my hands. Gesturing helps me not to see myself as stiff as a stick. Also, it serves to emphasize certain points.  It helps if you are doing an enumeration, to highlight if you go from one idea to another, to reinforce that the idea you are mentioning is very important…

The background, what do you want to be seen behind you?

White background:

A white background favors the brightness of the scene. It is also useful in editing. For example, I usually introduce enough annotations during the video to favor comprehension. With a white background you do not have problems that the letters do not look good with the background. Also, being a neutral background, you favor that the concentration of the person is directed only towards you.

Background color:

Now it is usual to see colored backgrounds. I like them a lot, but I also have some fear for them. Especially with dark colors. In fact, I still remember a video that I saw with a black background and one of the two guys was wearing a black shirt. Result? I’m sure you guessed.

Also, do not use very bright colors. Think that in a video, you will have a person several minutes looking at that image (almost without blinking how good the video is). With a strident background color the most likely is that the person ends up seeing a everything in red.

Has that ever happened to you when reading a website with a black background? I hate it.

Custom background:

You let part of your desk or room be seen. This is the option that I have chosen, for now. The advantage of a background in which the room looks is that you personalize. You look closer, more familiar. Also, people love to get close to “gossiping” a bit.

Have a look at the video below, it was recorded for me by this nice lady. Her name is Laura. I think that it is very well done. What do you think?

It is always beneficial to record in a friendly and warm environment, like Laura who did it in her beautiful living room.

Remember to avoid having too many things in the background. It can distract the viewer’s attention.

A trick: if you choose a custom background, when you frame the first time, fix references you can remember. For example, when I record in my home office, I usually take my favorite West African artifact placed at the left corner of my desk to give me the reference of the left border of the frame.

The lighting

It is one of the most complicated points and that most headaches usually bring. The ideal is to buy spotlights. In the ideal of ideals, three.

  • Main light: Never placed frontally. You have to put it at about 45 degrees, to one side and above. The light points towards the face.
  • Fill light: used to blur the shadows generated by the main light. It is placed on the opposite side to the main light, a little above the camera
  • Contra light: serves to give more volume to the subject and thus differentiate it from the background. It is placed behind the person.

It scares a little, doesn’t it? But …

Do not worry, we’re not going to be so complicated. Also, as I said at the beginning, it’s about being able to record videos without missing a pasture.

How do I do it?

Record a video for youtube
Why not?

First of all, I must say that my videos are not perfect in terms of lighting. But they are the proof that you can make a video of the correct quality without having to spend a lot of money on professionals.

I do not use spotlights, I prefer to take advantage of natural light. If you are lucky and where you are going to record, if it has a good natural lighting, you do not need more.

Of course, be careful with the following:

The sun, our super and free focus, does not have a binding contract. With this I mean, that when you least expect it, it is likely that it will go for a coffee and leave you in the greatest of gloom.

And what about our friends the clouds. They are so cool and pestles that they are planted in front of the sun in the middle of the recording. Try to record in the morning, since you will have more hours of stable light. The lighting conditions have to be the most similar at all times.

Beware of the shadows that generate blinds, curtains and others. You do not take that into account and then you have a striped face. If this is going to be your strategy. You must be very organized in everything you are going to do, in order to make the most of every minute.

Be clear before, where are you going to sit, the background, have the texts prepared… Try to have everything as prepared as possible.

But what do we do if we do not have natural light?

Well, I know that in some parts of the world there is not as much sun as in the south of France where I live. In the UK for example, it is often cloudy and rainy, so if it is your case, you will just have to deal with artificial lighting.

Ceiling lamps are the worst option, but by playing a little it can serve you. At first, the bulbs that I had at home were normal and current. And of course, they gave a terrible yellow light. 

What I have done is to replace the old bulbs with LED bulbs. The light that the LED gives you is much whiter. If you have space, you can play with bedside lamps, or these lamps that are sold with a clip.

Play to create the main lighting and fill in with two or more extra lamps. If you have the space, you can arrive to a very good lighting that way. And if you want to become a pro of the videos, it would not hurt to learn to blur or soften the light.

The light you get from a bulb or lamp is hard. That kind of light may be fine if you want to create a dramatic effect, but it’s not going to be our case (well, if you want to put yourself in drama mode, I have no problem).

How do we soften the light?

A simple solution is to move the point of light away, the farther, the softer the light will be.

Create a home diffuser. Here there are multiple options and your imagination will surely find a good option. From a white umbrella, a piece of translucent plastic, an egg cup… 

So here we have arrived to the end of this tutorial. I hope that you enjoyed it and that it will help you to record your first great YouTube video.

Again, you can find more information on the subject in my free Internet Marketing course. Simply click on the banner below to get started …

What is search engine positioning?

Thanks for reading this tutorial

Easy to Retire

Should you have any experience on how to record a video to be uploaded on YouTube it would be a pleasure to hear it from you. Also, if you have some questions, please use the comments’ area below. You will normally receive a reply within the following 48 hours.

If you liked this article, please do share it socially. Also post a comment with us here below, I will be very grateful!

As a Premium Member at Wealthy Affiliate, I learned how to share my passions with the world. You are very welcome to become part of my team of very successful netpreneurs. You too can become a successful business owner and live your laptop life. I will be your personal mentor for FREE. It is 100% FREE to join, learn and earn! Click the button below and let’s …

Join Free Here
Sharing is caring ...


  • RoDarrick

    Hey John! Thank you for giving this golden piece of information to the world. My kid has been on my neck to help him get started with his YouTube channel but I was close to being an illiterate on the field. However, this post has enlightened me on a couple of things and I know just the right kind of gadgets and how to use them without going too much out of budget. I personally love the idea of saving cost by going for second hand materials. That would be a huge account saving move for me. Thanks

    • John

      I’m glad that you found a few useful tips in my guide to record a video for YouTube. I guess your son will be delighted to know that you can give him a good start with his channel. And who knows it could be the start of a great career for him (and yourself).

      Once you have done it, I would appreciate it very much if you would come back here to share your results, and perhaps, give us some tips too.

      Best wishes of success for your new entreprise.


  • 鄭惠姍

    Hi, John! I’m working on a video recently. I like the lighting part you mentioned in this post. Originally, I thought it’s better to get some lighting equipment to have a better quality video. I never give natural light a thought since I was afraid that it would ruin my video.  Thanks for your helpful advice on it! I can still make good quality video without spending much money on buying professional stuff!


    • John

      Hi Sandy,

      I am glad to know that you are already recording great videos without having to spend too much on professional equipment. You are the living proof that it is possible, so thanks for sharing your experience.

      Perhaps you could share one of your videos with us here. This way you could have some useful critics and recommendations.

      I look forward to hearing from you soon.

      Best regards,


  • akborm

    Hello John!
    Happy to see another nice article from you and it is of a very nice and different topic. Yes i agree with you that it can be a question that why should I learn how to make a youtube video.. But it is of a very important matter for thinking that how I can make an attractive video. so I have to learn this. Though The arrival of mobile phones has changed the panorama a lot, easy input for headphone, price is less but making videos with a good camera is far better than phone I think.

    • John

      I am glad to know that my article encourages you to record your own videos for your YouTube channel Akborm, and thanks for the compliment on my blog posts.

      As mentioned in my report, you can create very good videos without investing a penny to start with. Some very popular YouTube channel owners are only using basic equipment that they already owned, some are only using their mobile phone. It really all depends on the niche you are trying to work on.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I wish you a very successful first recording. Once you have done your first video, you could share it with us here. It will already give you exposure and some great suggestions for improvement.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *