Essential Tools for YouTube
To make high quality YouTube videos, you'll need a few things:
Let's look at each of these
- Good content (that's you!)
- Good hardware (microphone, PC)
- Recording and editing software
Think about what kind of videos you want to make. With so many
YouTubers out there, you probably already have an idea. Watch videos
with a critical eye, think about what makes them fun, and what makes
you want to switch to something else. Then apply those to your own videos!
Once you start, try to make at least one video a week. It's important
to get in the habit for two reasons:
- Get practice! The more you do it, the more comfortable you'll become.
- Keep your audience engaged. At the start, your audience might
be small, but if you get in the habit now you can keep up the pace
when your audience grows and it becomes more essential.
Fortunately, it is possible to get started with modest hardware. In
this article we are focusing on essential tools, the minimum to
make good quality YouTube videos.
This is one of your key tools. Unless you choose to just use music on
your video, your voice will be the main thing people hear. Most
built-in or freebie microphones have bad sound quality, easily
noticeable and a big turn-off for viewers.
Technica AT2005USB is a good starter microphone. It sounds good
and won't break the bank. You have to place it close to your mouth
while recording, but that same short range means it won't pick up
other sounds around the house. That can be important if your
housemates aren't taking your YouTube career seriously yet.
If your PC is less than 3-4 years old, there's a good chance it can
handle the demands of recording. If it's on the slow end you may need
to be patient at a couple stages, but don't rush out to buy a PC just
to start making videos.
Try setting up OBS (described below in the Software section). It will
tell you if your hardware can record at high enough quality to make
decent YouTube videos.
As with the hardware section, this article is dealing with
essentials. For software, the good news is that the basic software you need
to make YouTube videos is all available for free. If you start making
a lot of videos, you can consider upgrading later, but when you are
starting out you don't need to buy any software. Just install the
If you are going to be making gaming videos, or other videos where you
share your screen, you'll need recording software. OBS Studio is the choice of many
YouTubers, and is the one we recommend. It can record your screen,
microphone, and more. It can save in the MP4 format. It has lots of
options, but more importantly for someone starting out it has an
automatic setup mode.
If you can record a perfect video without any mistakes or regrets,
you can skip this section. In reality, most of us need to edit out
parts of the recorded video, or make other changes. You may want to
add credits, sound effects, or images with more information (or just
for fun). To take the raw footage you recorded with OBS and turn it
into your finished video, you'll need video editing software.
We recommend a program called OpenShot. OpenShot is a free
video editing program that is pretty user-friendly. There are fancier
programs out there, but none as usable for first-time users.
GNU Image Manipulation Program
A surprisingly important part of your channel is the thumbnail, the
small image shown when people are searching or seeing suggestions at
the end of a video. If the thumbnail isn't eye-catching, people will
just move to the next video.
While there are many editing programs, the most powerful free one is GNU Image Manipulation Program. It
has a learning curve but it has a ton of features.
With a few tools, you can start your YouTube channel without breaking
Last modified on 7 Sep 2020 by AO
Copyright © 2020 Andrew Oliver