Recently, the Immortal Wordsmith team had a discussion about expanding our voice onto the YouTube and Patreon platforms. This had been something that had long been on the cards for myself and Chris, but we all wanted to get the blog rolling first.
Now, with blogging in full swing as well as a few partnerships with some well-known names we have decided that the time is right to branch out. But we were in for a surprise and days of wasted opportunity as we got to grips with creating YouTube videos.
Here are the 5 big mistakes we made;
Equipment wise we had a plan, start off with cheap but well-reviewed products and then upgrade and grow our video equipment until we had a complete and powerful arsenal. Our video camera selection is great except it doesn’t pick up sound at all well. In fact, for some reason, smartphones and tablets have much better audio recording equipment built into them than most video cameras, even the expensive ones.
Our first mistake was expecting camera tech to be as good as phone tech – which it isn’t unless you have a fortune to spend. Our recommendation is that if you are wanting to make low-budget, reasonable quality videos to put on YouTube, then use your phone and then use a video editing app. This combination can be surprisingly powerful if done correctly.
If you want to get into videography properly move to mistake two…
Now you will have to make a choice, do you spend a lot of money on an all in one camera that has the ability to record high quality video and audio. Or do you opt to record sound separately from audio?
If you have the budget to buy an all in one and you think that you will get the desired quality level from an all in one then you may get off the mistake train now.
If like us you preferred to record audio separate to video for any number of reasons (ours being complete control over the different sounds we were incorporating into our videos and overall flexibility advantages) then move to mistake three.
Type of Audio Recording Device
Our next issue was that we had nothing to record sound with. I realised a lot of YouTubers were using lapel microphones so we opted for an iPhone specific (pin) lapel mic and planned to record the sound using my iPhone. So far so good…
Lapel mics are a good investment for any video-er. It’s not hard to find a good quality one for a decent price, like this one.
Then as a second sound recording strategy with the motivation to pick up a more rounded audio (background noise) we opted for a shotgun microphone that attached to the foot on our camera.
This was hot foot (camera) to cold foot (mic) so the shotgun mic needed a separate device to save its recordings to. Another phone (this time android as we needed the headphone jack).
Because of this complicated setup it led us to mistake number four…
Now we had a nice little stash of equipment that cost about £150 if you take out the phones. All in all – we were feeling pleased with ourselves, felt we had the equipment to make a decent first video and that we would not have too much stress doing so. If you wanted to learn from our mistakes and select a camera and mic duo (from the same brand we use) that’s great from the start, we recommend this.
Kenuo 4K Camcorder with external microphone, night vision, wide angle lens and pretty much every video cam feature you’ve ever dreamed of. Just click the image to check them all out on Amazon.
When it came to deciding what our first video should be, we fell into a huge trap.
First, I am very creative and I came up with an elaborate travel video that would be filmed on location (multiple), in car and also make use of voice-over to fill in the narrative.
This is something we went in on at full steam, and it all got a bit chaotic.
Firstly; filming and having to press three things, then clap (we will get to that shortly) then do your take and cut all three is a hassle. Saving all three files as a unit is time consuming. At the end of each day you’re left with hundreds of files.
Secondly; Izzy isn’t yet camera comfortable and that means that in order to capture me in the car and not catch her in the passenger seat is tricky. Then her hands are full with phone and camera, meaning I am left to clap at intervals while driving. It is also impossible to set up my lapel mic while driving so we are having to rely on the shotgun mic… which isn’t amazing unless all the windows are shut – and we are in the middle of a heatwave.
Lastly, we tried to buy a mount to install in the car (we also purchased a tripod which is awesome for outdoor shooting) but car mounts are pretty rubbish unless it is a go-pro or something light.
Camera equipment with shotgun mic and phone attachments are not light.
This is the tripod we invested in. So far, no complaints!
This has meant that we are doing two things, first we are simplifying our first shoot to walk before running. And, we are buying bespoke audio recording devices what work with mics and are much smaller with a simple record/stop feature. Swiping at phone screens while juggling a camera is a pain.
Our last mistake is again sound related but more the end process…
Editing can be straightforward if you have hardware that matches software. Example; if you have a phone that works with an app. Editing can also be made easier if your sound is already linked to your visual.
If you’re recording sound separately then you will need specialist software. In fact, we could only find Adobe Premier Pro which does this automatically by aligning the audio files. This costs a whopping £20 a month… but it is a cost we are happy to stomach because we will be making lots of videos/podcasts. And, it makes our lives a hell of a lot easier.
Editing on apps is decent once you have aligned your sound (you can do this manually with other software) but editing apps are still a long way behind bespoke editing software that is available on Windows and Mac. This annoyed me a lot as my current weapon of choice is a “tabtop” two-in-one laptop and tablet that has an android OS.
Anyway, we are now slowly getting to where we want to be and our first video should land in August! Our advice to others looking to get in on creating YouTube videos, make sure you take your time, have your process mapped out before you buy equipment and remember – Rome wasn’t built in a day – start bite-size and work up. If you’re not happy with the results of the simple content, then don’t publish it – it can be your new dirty little secret!