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Essential Tools for YouTube

To make high quality YouTube videos, you'll need a few things: Let's look at each of these


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:


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.

The Audio 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 tools below.

OBS Studio

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 the bank.
Last modified on 7 Sep 2020 by AO

Copyright © 2020 Andrew Oliver