Camera / Editing Tips for Shooting Online Video

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I won't even pretend to be a guru when it comes to cameras and shooting online videos. I am self taught and have learned enough over the years to produce decent quality videos on YouTube.

Since I receive so many questions about this subject, I'm happy to share with you what I have learned and products I use.

My Camera -- Sony HD Handycam

I've always been a Sony user when it comes to video cameras, so I chose this camera for no other reason than brand loyalty. It has a 120 gigabyte hard drive so I don't have to worry about purchasing CD's or tapes. All video clips are stored right on the camera's hard drive.

I can conveniently plug it into my Mac and download the raw video clip for editing into Final Cut Express (video editing software) after I'm done recording.

Yes, I went high-end when it comes to price because quality was important to me. Nevertheless, you don't have to spend an arm and a leg. You can get a decent quality video camera for under $200 these days.

Screen Recording

For my screen recording videos, I use Camtasia. The version for Windows is much better than the one for Macs, so I still use my PC for many Camtasia videos.

If you don't want to pay for screen recording software you can use CamStudio or Jing.

Digital Cameras With Video Option

Not interested in spending money on a video camera? You can definitely use a digital camera with a video option or a webcam. I personally prefer the quality of a true video camera, but as long as the quality is decent and you have adequate lighting, a regular digital camera may work just fine.

Maintaining Video Quality

In order to maintain the quality of the video when you upload, it's best to import the raw file into your editing software. If you have to convert it into another format to edit or upload, you will lose some of the original video quality.

That's why it's so important to record in the resolution you plan to use when uploading.

Camera Resolution

Before you record your video, you should always consider where you're going to be uploading. Make sure you check the site's specifications and requirements. For example, YouTube's widescreen format recommendation is 1920x1080 or 1280x720 (16:9). So before recording, make sure your camera is already set to the appropriate resolution.

The same goes for your screen recording software. If you want your final output to be 600x480 then you need to record in that resolution.

I always record my videos in 1280x720 because that's the resolution I use for YouTube. Even though my camera is capable of 1920x1080, sometimes it makes the file too large for YouTube.

Video Editing Software

I edit all my videos on my MacBook Pro, and I use Final Cut Express. iMovie is another great alternative, and it comes free with all Mac computers. The reason I switched to FCE is because you can do much more precise editing.

Notice the intro in this video below. I was able to control the animation of the opening to the point where the text stops rotating on the downbeat, thanks to the editing controls of FCE.

If you're a Windows user, Windows Movie Maker (free), Adobe Premiere Elements and Sony Vegas are popular solutions.

If you happen to use Final Cut Express, I would highly recommend checking out the Izzy Video tutorials. They are free and absolutely amazing. I was so intimidated by Final Cut Express when I first bought it. It looked nothing like any software I had ever used.

But after spending 20-30 minutes with the Izzy Video tutorials, I was ready to edit my first video and had no problem.

Royalty Free Music

Another benefit of using a Mac is you get all the royalty free music loops that come with Garageband. I've even purchased additional Jampacks because I was tired of using the same loops everyone else uses. I wanted to have more original music. The jingles that you hear at the beginning and end of my videos are a series of Garageband loops I put together.

If you're a Windows user, you can go to Incompetech. I used to use their music until I discovered Garageband loops. They are also royalty free for commercial use.

Note: Royalty free does not always mean you can use music for commerical products. Make sure you read the terms of the site before using music labeled royalty free.

Behind The Scenes of My Videos

I recorded a video awhile back that explains more about my video editing process. Enjoy!

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