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Hints to Help Make a Good YouTube Video for Beginners

Updated on November 30, 2013

Different Types of YouTube Videos

Do you have a YouTube channel? or are you thinking of making youtube videos but don't know exactly how to solve a few problems. I first put some personal home videos (of cute kids) to share with family members. Family members are very forgiving about shaky video or background noise.

Recently, however, I started making videos for a more general audience. I had some footage of my geckos that I thought would be fun to put on YouTube. I'm always looking for ways to showcase my fractals, or advertise my Zazzle store. With these I felt I needed to take more care so as not to disgust the odd searcher who would happen to land on my work.

One of the things that annoys me when with many of the videos I watch is the lack of attention to the soundtrack. Many people put "silent" videos on, I completely understand that, I hate hearing my voice recorded myself. The problem is these videos aren't really silent, there is a lot of hissing in the background. But, I knew I couldn't just slap a track of music on them, even if I knew how to, violating copyright law is never a good idea.

How to Add Public Domain Music to Your Videos?

I was very happy to discover that Google makes it very easy to add a public domain music track video to your video. On the site itself there is a huge list of tracks from which you can choose something that will fit with your movie. The site itself takes care of adding the track to your movie, there is no need for additional software and the track will substitute the background noise on your "silent" movie.

After you've uploaded your video, open up the video manager, which can be accessed by clicking on your avatar at the top of the page. This will show you a list of all your videos. Clicking "edit" next to a video will open up a drop down menu, as shown in the image below. Selecting "audio" will take you to a page in which you can choose the music track for your video.

As you can see, the video manager also allows you to add annotations and captions to your movie, which definitely enhance certain types of content.

To the right an example of one of my "gecko movies" with a completely free soundtrack. Believe me, the music really enhances it.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
To add a music track to your video, choose "audio" from the drop down menu under "edit" in the "video manager" for your channel.
To add a music track to your video, choose "audio" from the drop down menu under "edit" in the "video manager" for your channel.
To add a music track to your video, choose "audio" from the drop down menu under "edit" in the "video manager" for your channel. | Source

Google gives you a short list of the most popular tracks, or you can do your own search if you are more picky. Notice the two small boxes under the list featured tracks, in the second image. If you check the "show ad-supported songs" a much bigger selection will be available to you. However, these tracks are not copyright-free. You pay for using them by displaying ads on your video. You will not earn anything from these ads.

You can choose from the most popular tracks, or search for something more specific.  If you don't want ads, make sure you you deselect the "show ad-supported songs" box.
You can choose from the most popular tracks, or search for something more specific. If you don't want ads, make sure you you deselect the "show ad-supported songs" box. | Source

Turning Photos into a SlideShow Movie.

Sometimes, you really don't want to upload a movie, but rather you want to show a slide show of photographs. They might be your holiday photos, or you might want to showcase some products, for example from your Zazzle or Etsy stores.

Youtube makes it extremely easy to do this, you can create the slide show within the program itself. Just hit "upload" on the youtube main screen, like you do when you want to upload a video, and you will be taken to a screen where you can upload your photos.

If your images are already "in" Google, for example if you've uploaded them to picassa or you used them in your blogger blog, then you just have to choose them. Otherwise you need to upload them from your computer. You will be able to choose a few options, such as how long each photo is on the screen, transition effects, whether to use "zoom and pan" (you can see the effect in the video below), etc. You can also choose a soundtrack. Then you just publish your video. It is as easy as that.

Remember that to fill the screen, your photos should have an aspect ratio of 16:9. It is best to prepare your images to those dimensions before you start on your video making.

I made the video below using the youtube slideshow creator.

Using iPhoto to Make Better Slideshows

Although the YouTube Slideshow creator makes nice videos, I actually prefer to prepare mine in iPhoto. Of course this is only applicable if you own a mac computer.

The main advantage is that iPhoto provides you with a few more options and effects to make your videos more interesting.

You need to have all your photos in the same "event" folder in iPhoto. Open the folder then choose create, and slideshow from the menu at the bottom of your screen. Check out the different themes available to pick one you like. The scrapbook theme looks really nice with personal photographs. Go to settings and explore the different options, you can pick how long a picture is on the screen individually for each slide. You also have a better selection of transition effects.

By default the first slide will be the title of your show. This will be the name of the "event" in iPhoto, so make sure you rename it to something sensible. Preview your slideshow, then export it. In the export screen, go to advanced settings and choose "quicktime movie" as the format. Once the movie is exported to your drive, just upload it as you would do with a normal video.

Below is a slideshow I made to showcase my Zazzle products using the "reflections" theme.


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    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 

      5 years ago from California

      Very useful and informative hub. Voted up, interesting and useful.

    • aa lite profile imageAUTHOR

      aa lite 

      5 years ago from London

      Thanks DreamerMeg, Google does try to help people make youtube videos, I guess there is a lot of money in it!

    • DreamerMeg profile image


      5 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Thanks. I never knew that Google gave you the opportunity to use music on your videos before!


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