❼ How to Make a YouTube Video – the Fast, Cheap & Easy Way

PS: there’s a better, updated version of this post available here – How to Start a Vlog: The Complete and Really Practical Guide

So you want to make a video for YouTube but you haven’t done it yet because you don’t know where to start or what to do. This post is for you.

I think by now I have close to 100 videos posted on YouTube…so I might have a tip or two to share about making videos :)

I’m going to be taking you behind the scenes to see exactly what you need to make a video for YouTube – quickly, cheaply, and easily.

There is no complicated anything here.

Mainly, I’ll cover:

  • The technical stuff (i.e. the equipment I use to make my videos for YouTube)
  • Editing software (the four that I use)
  • Tips and tricks and such

Camera I use to Make Videos For Youtube

With the exception of my India video, I use my iPhone 5 to record all of my videos.

Surprised? Don’t be!

I hope this goes to illustrate for you that you don’t need an expensive DLSR camera to make a decent quality video for YouTube.

Keep in mind that after the iPhone 5, there is the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 6. So my phone isn’t even the fanciest in the iPhone family.

As you know, the iPhone 5 has two cameras.

There’s one camera on the front (the one people use for selfies) and there’s another camera in the back.

The back camera is of much higher quality than the front camera but I prefer to use the lower quality front camera.


If I record with the back camera, I can’t see myself while I’m recording.

This is a huge problem because it means I’d have to get up several times before and during my recording to make sure I’m in the frame.

No bueno.

Not good.

I’d rather just use my front camera and know that everything looks good on the first try.

There’s nothing worse than recording a whole 10 minute video only to find out that your face wasn’t even showing.

Tripod I Use When I Make a Video For Youtube

The second thing that I want to share with you as far as the tech side goes is my tripod.

I use a very basic tripod that I bought from Frys, our local electronic store.

Total cost? $18 + tax

You don’t have to go buy a $75 tripod (unless you really want to).

As for me, I made some mistakes when I was trying to get this tripod.

It’s actually kind of a funny story.

I went to the store to get my tripod, right? but when I got there I saw this thing called a monopod.

I’d never heard of a monopod before.

BUT the monopod was $12 and the tripod was $18. I thought: “these things look the same to me. I’m getting the cheaper one!”

So I took the monopod home and I took it out of the box and was like

‘Wait, where’s all the legs? Who took the legs off of this tripod’??!!

So yeah.

Lesson learned. Don’t get a monopod. Get a tripod.

If you don’t want to get a tripod, you probably have a stack of books in your house that you can use.

I put my phone on a stack of books for a long time before I finally got a tripod.

And I didn’t even get my Frys tripod right away.

I got a little tripod from the dollar store first.

Total cost? $1!

Let me say it again.

If you want to make a video

…if you want to share your story

…if you want to help other people with what you know,

don’t let technology or money be the thing that gets in the way because you can keep this thing very simple!

Brackets When I Record Videos For Youtube

There are two brackets that I have attached to the tops of both my dollar store tripod and my big tripod.

These brackets hold my phone in place on top of the tripods.

Both came from eBay and cost a total of $3.50 a piece.

It took about a month for me to receive them because they came straight from China. But hey, I wasn’t in a hurry. I was happy to wait, no problem.

Software I Use When Editing My YouTube Videos

The four main pieces of software that I use are:

  • Windows Live Movie Maker (desktop)
  • iMovie (iPhone App)
  • Sketch Guru (iPhone App)
  • Video Fx Live (iPhone App)

Windows Live Movie Maker for Editing Videos
This is the standard video editing software that comes with any PC.

It works great and is incredibly intuitive to use. This software is definitely great to use if you’re just getting started.

What I like most about it is that it allows you to put text in your videos very easily – like I did in my video about saving 5 figures.

iMovie (iPhone app) for editing videos
I know this may sound crazy but I actually have a lot of videos that I record and edit on my phone using the iMovie app.

The iMovie app is great because it allows me to do overlays in my videos

an overlay is when you superimpose one video on top of another so you get sound from one and visuals from the other

I promise, it’s not as technical as it sounds. Watch the video for this blog post to get an idea of what I mean.

Total cost? $4.99.

My recommendation if you’re just starting out is: stick with the free stuff that comes with the computer and get comfortable with it.

Then when you start having needs that your free software can’t meet, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about whether you should get the iMovie app like I did or something else.

Just don’t try to do too much at first because you might become overwhelmed.

Sketch Guru for Videos

Sometimes, I get a little carried away and I decide that I want to draw pictures in my videos.

Like this one about when my sister raised $20,000 for HIV research.

To do that, I use Sketch Guru.

Total cost? $0.

VideoFX Live for Video Effects and Enhancement

Have you noticed that when you record videos with the regular camera of your phone, you can’t pause in the middle of your recording and then continue with the same recording?

If you’re just casually recording stuff, then this isn’t a big deal.

On the other hand, if you’re trying to record a video, it can be very annoying to end up with 7, 8, or even 9 different video files to edit if you keep starting and stopping.

This is where my beloved VideoFX Live app come in!

VideoFX Live solves this problem by allowing me to pause in the middle of my recordings and then pick up where i left off.

Also, VideoFX Live does a beautiful job of adding subtle effects to my videos and makes them look like I used an expensive camera.

This app was a lifesaver for my book promo video and the video for this blog post (below).

I love this app!

Total cost? $0 – $2.99.

Now you know everything I use to make my videos.

If you want the next post where I talk about things like

  • How long your video should be
  • What you can talk about your video
  • How to make your cheap camera look expensive
  • Tips and tricks of the trade etc. etc.

Then make sure you’re subscribed to receive my weekly email updates.

I share something new every single Monday.


14 thoughts on “❼ How to Make a YouTube Video – the Fast, Cheap & Easy Way

  1. Good tips. I like the fun part about monopod because I nearly made the same decision due to the same reason but for the timely intervention of a nearby worker who educated me on the difference between mono and tripod.

    I should have known better – it’s “mono” but the price difference was just too tempting!

    Thanks for the details.

  2. oH MY GOSH~this came to me just in time (even though it’s an older vide) My imac drive crashed and I needed to get a video up and I miss making videos. So I needed an easy way to start over. This video was PURFECT! yeah! thanks Kola!

  3. Hello Kola, nice write up..
    How do you get to edit your video,or what editing App do you use..?Can I use any other phone apart from Iphone.?

    1. Hi Yemisi! Thanks so much. I use the iMovie app on my iPhone and / or the Free Windows Live Movie Maker software on my PC :) I’m sure you can use other phones as well – i just spoke specifically about the iPhone because that’s what I use. Best of luck!

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