YouTube Success: Script, Shoot & Edit with MKBHD | Marques Brownlee | Skillshare

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YouTube Success: Script, Shoot & Edit with MKBHD

teacher avatar Marques Brownlee, YouTuber, Podcaster, Tech Head

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Starting Your Next Project


    • 3.

      Researching Your Topic


    • 4.

      Writing Your Script


    • 5.

      Planning Your Visuals


    • 6.

      Hooking Your Audience


    • 7.

      Shooting Your Video


    • 8.

      Editing Your Footage


    • 9.

      Posting Your Video


    • 10.

      Growing Your Channel


    • 11.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Turn your dreams of YouTube stardom into a reality with Marques Brownlee, the self-taught creator who grew his love of tech into a channel with 13M subscribers and counting!

Today Marques, known on the internet as MKBHD, draws millions of views with his tech review videos. But it wasn’t always that way: he started out in his parent’s basement, creating videos on his computer’s built-in camera, and slowly building a following on YouTube. If you’re like Marques—you have an itch to share your passion and opinions with the world—then this class will help you translate that point of view into engaging, authentic, and wildly watchable videos. 

Drawing on a decade of experience as a YouTuber and gear-head, Marques opens up his process like never before, guiding you step by step through every stage of content creation for YouTube. From scripting and storyboarding to shooting and editing, you’ll learn how to create videos that connect, whether you have one follower or one hundred thousand. 

Hands-on lessons cover:

  • Planning a video that’s true to you and widely appealing
  • Shooting compelling content with whatever gear you have
  • Editing your footage to grab and keep attention
  • Growing your channel strategically, while still having fun

Plus, see exactly how Marques and his team apply these steps to a MKBHD video, with a behind-the-scenes look into the making of a Galaxy Note 5 tech review. 

Whether you aspire to YouTube stardom, want to level up your production quality, or just want to connect with a like-minded community online, this class will give you the ingredients to achieve your version of YouTube success. The only thing missing from YouTube is you and your voice—so get started!


The lessons in this class are designed to apply to all YouTubers and content creators, with tips to level up or down based on your equipment and experience. Marques edits in Final Cut Pro, but you can follow along using your editing software of choice. 

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Marques Brownlee

YouTuber, Podcaster, Tech Head


Marques Keith Brownlee, also known professionally as MKBHD, is an American YouTuber and professional ultimate frisbee player, best known for his technology-focused videos as well as his podcast, Waveform: The MKBHD Podcast. Marques posted his first YouTube videos while in high school, breaking down the inner workings of a HP Pavilion laptop he purchased with his saved allowance. His channel took off, and he's since made YouTube videos on smartphones, headphones, camcorders, smartwatches, tablets, speakers, Nike's self-lacing boots and Tesla's Cybertruck. More recently, he's interviewed thought leaders like President Barack Obama, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.

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1. Introduction: I think a lot of YouTubers get the question, how do you stay motivated or stay inspired, or why do you keep doing this? Hey, what's up? I'm MKBHD here and this is a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. I've made 1300-plus videos at this point. For me, the answer is, I make videos about a topic I care a lot about. Hey, what's up? I'm Marques Brownlee, aka MKBHD, on the Internet. I make YouTube videos about tech products. I'm excited to share my process, which I haven't really done before, because I identify as a self-taught filmmaker. I didn't go to film school. I think a lot of people look at the content creators they admire or watch the videos of and think, if I got to get started today, I got to do that, which involves all this fancy gear and equipment. Our camera robot is definitely not necessary, and to an extent, that stuff helps a lot. But if you look back at the beginning of any of those people, including my own videos, it didn't start that way. So with this class, we're going to go through the production, the creation from start to finish of one of my tech review videos. We'll go from the scripting to the shooting, to the editing, the whole way through. This is how an MKBHD video gets made. This is again something that can apply to anyone and any genre. I happen to love texts. I'm making videos about tech. But it can be about whatever you're passionate about. Some people, it's makeup. Some people, it's clothes and fashion. Some people, it's cars. For me, it's tech. For you, you already know what you like. Without any further ado, let's get started. 2. Starting Your Next Project: Welcome. Thanks for joining. I'm excited to get started and to walk through this with you just because I was self-taught. I am self-taught. This whole process for me started with just me watching a bunch of videos, sucking up as much information as I could, and then applying it to what I wanted to do. There was no guide for how to make tech YouTube videos, but you adapt the fundamentals, turn it into your own things. That's what we're going to get start with. As you may or may not be familiar, my channel has always been about tech in some way, minus the early golf videos. But I started by just making all these videos about the laptop I'd just gotten for high school because I'd seen some things that I didn't see in the other videos, so I just turn the camera on myself and made videos to cover those things. They're pretty useful. But eventually, I got to the cooler for the laptop and made a video about that, and this free software for the laptop and made a video about that. This built up as this little fun community thing where there's an occasional comment and I can make a video for that comment. A good time, early days of YouTube. But eventually, it snowballs into just the fun of making videos about any tech, whether it was, I just got an iPod Nano and I just want to talk about it, so let me just share it with these people. It grew because I was doing so many videos and because I was consistent with it all the way through high school. I went to business school thinking I was going to be on the other side of this eventually, I would be in that building in New York City, writing the emails, talking to the YouTube reviewer. That was someone I talked to a lot when I was making these videos. So I went to business school. But by the end of business school, I was still making YouTube videos. I was still having a lot of fun with it and it grown enough that it could actually support as a business and an income full-time. That's what it became. It's a lot simpler the way it's explained there than it actually happened. But bottom line is, consistency was pretty key. At this point, that's the bread and butter, just making tech videos. The process for this is going to be pretty, I think, useful. I'm going to take you through an actual project of mine. It's already on YouTube. It's called the Galaxy S21 Ultra Review. It's a new phone that happened to come out recently. We're going to go through how that process actually happens. The note-taking, the drafts, the story-boarding into writing, shooting the phone itself, editing, and publishing everything on YouTube. We'll walk through the whole thing. By the end of this class, I'm hoping you'll have a better idea of not just how an empty VHD video gets made, which of course is going to be the main thing you learn, but hopefully an idea of how to apply what I do, some of the specifics of it, but also the generalities of it to what you might want to do. Maybe that's, you're already starting a channel and you want to make it better. Maybe that's you've been thinking about making a channel and you just want to get started. All of that can help. I would actually encourage you to use the project gallery to share stuff that you're working on. It doesn't even have to be finished. But if it is, that's all the better. But you can share the work, whether that's your script or your finished video or anything in between. The beauty of it is you can actually check out the rest of the project gallery to see what other people taking this course have also shared and stuff they're working on. You can give feedback of it. That's the beauty of the internet, is you can talk to people you've never talked to you before and that's community gets built from there, so you can help people out, other people will help you out, it's all good time. The first, earliest step, as you can imagine, is choosing a topic. Like I said, I'm walking through something I really cared a lot about. I happen to make tech reviews. So for me, I'm using a new phone that at the time that we shot this wasn't even out yet. So it's the Galaxy S21 Ultra. My writing process, my idea process is, how do I share this experience I'm having with this phone with the world? That's the basic fundamentals of a review. But for you, it might be some idea you want to communicate, some experience you want to share, some story you want to tell. Whatever it is, it's the same idea. It's just my example for me, for an VHD video, happens to be this suite matte black phone. I think ultimately for me, the philosophy that I've had since the very beginning, and I guess this is something I'd come up with before I even started making videos, but it was to make something that I would want to watch. If you go back to the first-ever tech video I made just reviewing the little remote that came with the laptop, I made it the way I did because if I was in my shoes watching videos by laptops, that is the video that I would have wanted to see to be able to better understand that remote. So just keeping this in the back your mind the whole time throughout this whole lesson, the whole point of what I'm doing, and what you might want to do too, is to make something that you'd want to watch. The first thing you're going to want do, my little call-to-action for this first lesson is to pick your topic, pick the topic for the video that you're going to make. The next thing we're getting into is scripting. 3. Researching Your Topic: All right. So the next step here is scripting/writing. A little known fact, and this wasn't always the case, but I do write 98 percent of what I actually say on camera. This is something we've evolved into. I usually was just freestyling and just going off the top of the head, but as information density became more important in a tech video, I want to be able to say as many useful things as possible in as short a time as possible, so I end up basically scripting the entire video. Before any of the actual writing happens, a lot of the process for me is researching and planning. This comes from who I want to be talking to. Again, back of the mind, making a video I'd want to watch. I'm making a video that's trying to bring as much information from as high level points and technicalities as possible, and bring it down into the most effective, digestible version in text and speech. So a lot of this is knowing your audience, knowing who you want to speak to. Again, if I'm using this phone video as an example, a lot of this is coming from me actually using the phone. This has come from days or weeks of me taking a lot of pictures, playing lot of games, enjoying the piece of tech, but also taking a lot of notes on the things that I eventually want to say and communicate in this review. Now, I like to think of the audience watching a tech review or any product review as two buckets. I mean, there's a bunch of ways that I've broken this down. But the person watching the video, what they want to see, it can either be for pure entertainment, maybe they subscribe to a YouTube channel and this is the new video on their sub box, or they're specifically in the rabbit hole of a purchase decision, where they're trying to get information, they're trying to actually decide what to buy. When I'm writing and researching and planning for a video, I'm actually trying to speak to both of these people. I'm trying to engage, I'm trying to keep the video fun and interesting, but I'm also trying to give you as much information technically as possible, a fun education hybrid-type thing happening, that's by design. For the people who are actually just, "Hey, new video in the sub box," I'm thinking about the first few seconds of the video, hooking them in, introducing some sort of a storyline or something that they can follow the whole time. Then a conclusion or a landing or an ending, where they're like, "That's why I watched this video." The other pro tip or hack for me to make this work is to find a motif, or a common thread is what it's called, that can persist throughout the entire video. Sometimes it's a negative one, sometimes it's a positive one. I happen to really like this phone, and the theme for this phone was its redemption versus last year's version. So every time I talked about something, I gave a little bit of context versus what went wrong last year. For this it might be a bad phone, has a poor use of space, it might be a pixelbook has a bad screen, whatever you can find as that common thread, whether it's good or bad, is useful for entertainment value. Another example of a motif or common thread that can be useful and applicable in a lot more places is a guiding question. Again, it really helps to land on something near the end of the video where you've answered that question. For a lot of reviews it's, should I buy it? Is it worth it? Is it good? Is it bad? Is it better than last year? If you can keep answering this guided question throughout your entire video, it really gives a sense of usefulness and purpose to the video, which I think is really important, both in the shopping world and the entertainment world. Then lastly, the person who's shopping, the person who actually needs to know what to buy I want to include as much useful information as possible. Battery life, camera quality, performance, how long I think it'll last over time, how long the software updates I think will last. Some of this comes from research, you hear it from the company. That's just in my case for a tech review. Some of this is just me taking pictures and, how do I like it? Some of this is me playing a game, noticing some dropped frames. So all of this is combined into the researching and planning section. Now something that happens, because I've been doing this for a long time, is sometimes I'll notice something but then not write it down, because I feel like it's so obvious. I took a photo and in the ultra-wide, the edges were fringed, but they're all fringed. Everyone knows that. But not everyone knows that and not everyone shopping will actually have that information. Sometimes it's even contexts from the last few videos of, you just glaze over something because you mentioned it in the last video, but not every viewer or every shopper has seen that last video, so you have to actually be careful to include those things you might not think you have to include. When I'm taking notes on these phones, I'm literally using the phone and opening up, I use Google Keep so I can just keep these documents organized. But I don't take the neatest notes. I'm really just jotting things down as soon as I recognize what's happening. So in these I have a lot of the official specs up here. But then as I start to use them, I notice more things that are useful. Sometimes I drop frames in a game, sometimes I take a picture and I want to remember that this is a picture I should use to talk about in the review, so I'll write this stuff down. A lot of these are useful numbers because it's really hard to keep a lot of numbers in check when there's dates and CPU specs and RAM and prices all to keep in mind. But that's basically what I'm doing as I'm taking notes over the course of using the phone. Just for the technical details, this is something I've been doing for a while. I use Google Keep for my note-taking. It's designed for that, but it's multi-platform and it's cloud-based, so anywhere I'm at, if I want to take a note, I can pull my phone out of my pocket, I can pull my laptop out, I can hop on a browser and just write something down. Then the scripts all happen in Google Drive because it's just a cloud-based drive. You can share it with people, they can look at it, they can edit it, they can fact check and put more things in if you want. But if it's just you, you can just put it anywhere you want. You could use a Microsoft Word doc. But I think it's important for the note-taking, for me anyway, is anytime I just think is something or find something, I just want to quickly be able to write it down. So Google Keep for that, Google Drive for the script. This might be, for you, akin to the research process. If it's a topic you don't know as much about, you're taking those notes, you're collaborating, bringing it all in one place. It's not neat yet, it's just an information dump. 4. Writing Your Script: Once you've gathered all of your information, all your research, all your notes like I have in Google Keep, then it's time for turning it into a video. For me, that's scripting. That's for me literally writing down from beginning to thanks for watching, everything I want to say in between, that gets you to that conclusion, and that draws you through and keeps you engaged the whole way. A lot of this, it's structural. It's knowing that I want to talk about the camera, and I want to talk about the price, and I want to talk about the battery life, but how do I properly segue between these things? How do I order them in importance? Maybe there's a lot of really important front-loaded stuff to get off your chest at the beginning, and then the less important stuff comes before the conclusion at the end. There's no real hard first rule for this. In tech, you'll see it all over the place, but I think the general rule is you want to make sure you're respecting your audience's time and attention. If you're not answering the question for the first five minutes of the video, they might leave. They might get bored or get frustrated and click to another video that might answer it faster. Some of this also comes from your title and thumbnail, which we'll talk about later in this. But you're eventually going to have to deal with the fact that you've named a video or something and you have to address that name. So make sure you tackle that earlier in the video for a better sense of audience satisfaction. Lot of things to consider. I can go on for a long time about this, but I think the bottom line is, well, it's that thing I said at the beginning, make what you'd want to watch. Think about if you're watching this video, what would you want to see? How would you want it structured, and build it based on that. Now, my business school did not go entirely unused, I do have some useful advice. I had a professor, and I think my junior year in a finance class, he told the whole class this, a really good piece of advice, which is, anytime you're presenting some number, some information, never give that number without context. For him, context was either how it compares to the competition or how it trends over time. If you were to put just a number in your presentation, he would fail you because that's not useful. If I just said, the market cap of this company is 10 billion, you got to have some reason for giving them that information. Is it because it was five billion last year, oh now I have this reason for telling you? Or is it because the competition is at 50 billion? It becomes much more useful when you give it that context. I've applied this pretty much consistently the entire time I've made videos. If you give some information or number, it's very useful to give context for that number. If it's the speed of something, you might take for granted that they know it's fast, but if you can tell them it's faster than last year, that's better. If you give the performance number for a benchmark, this is very common in the tech world, the benchmark by itself, you almost never see that without some comparison to other benchmarks of competition. That applies pretty much for anytime you give any number or fact in a video that you want to be useful, contextualize it. Also find it useful for talking to, especially in the first half of people, the people who are just being entertained by tech a little bit, to just keep the tone in mind as if you're just talking to a friend. It's harder for some than others because let's be honest, talking to a camera isn't the same thing as talking to a person. This is something you learn over time, is how to speak to a camera. Watch my old videos, for example, you'll find that too, and then watch the latest videos, for example, of delivering a little more naturally. But I think keeping your tone in mind for emphasizing certain things that are important, and speaking negatively about things and speaking positively about things, you end up learning over time with repetition, how to do that more effectively. This here, this is literally the script for the Galaxy S21 ultra review. This was me taking all of those notes that I took over the week of using the phone, putting them all in here structured. It's in a Google Doc, so literally, we'll have other people at the studio take a look at the doc, fact check it, make sure everything's good. Another thing you'll notice when I just scroll through this briefly is some of this is in bold, some of this is not in bold. That's just something I just decided, is I put the things that I deliver to camera in bold, and then everything that's going to have B-roll of what I'm talking about over it is not in bold. That's a consideration just because it's useful in communicating certain things to actually show the thing. If I just want to say, this has been my favorite phone of the year, let's just say I hypothetically said that. I didn't, but what if I did? I would probably say that to the camera. This is my favorite phone of the year. It's not useful as communication to not say that to your face. But if I'm trying to tell you, this phone has a little bit of shutter lag when I click the camera button, well, that's going to be a space where I want to show you that happening. I want to show you my finger pressing the shutter button and they're being a little bit of a lag there. That'll be something that's not in bold. As I go through this whole script, pretty healthy mix of talking to camera and not talking to camera. Different channels have different ratios or balances of how much they talk to camera versus how much they show B-roll. Some people can just talk to camera and deliver things effectively, and I'm very jealous of that, and that's awesome. But for me, knowing my style, this is how I broke it down. I think this breakdown is helpful for me in the scripting phase, mostly as a time-saver, because if I didn't break it down, I would deliver everything to camera and then decide in the edit what I think needs to be shown, and then go out and get those shots. Because in the scripting phase I'm already deciding what's going to camera and what's being shot with B-roll, we already now have a shortlist, and we know how to shoot the video and edit it just a little bit more efficiently. Now, something a lot of people think a lot about in the YouTube world is the length of the video, for many reasons. Over time, my videos have gotten longer, and I think that's just because I have more to say, but also I've gotten better at holding attention for a longer amount of time. But this is important for a number of retention reasons, YouTube analytics reasons, and just entertainment reasons. Shorter videos are easier to make entertaining. That's just facts. People lose their attention over time. When I'm scripting, I am thinking a little bit about, is this too long? But generally, I just make them long anyway. Your next step is I want you to plan and script your video. It's a loose definition of script. You could have a bullet point list, you could have the full, everything you want to say. But the idea you want to keep in mind is try to have that common thread I talked about. Try to find that common thread that makes the story, that makes the flow, that makes the segue, that makes the whole thing one long common thread video. I think that'll be super useful. Next up, we're going to talk about planning your video and developing the visuals. 5. Planning Your Visuals: Developing your visuals. This is maybe my favorite part, but don't tell anyone. The theme for me for this has always been realism. There's a number of ways you can think about developing your visuals. We're already ahead on it because we've decided what's going to be two camera and what's not. But basically, as you go through and decide what you want to shoot and how you want to keep your theme in mind. For me, that's making as realistic the video as possible. I'm reviewing a thing. I want you to know what it's like to own and feel and hold that thing. A lot of my shots are going to specifically be designed to help you feel like you can see what I'm talking about. You can feel what I'm talking about. You can hear what I'm talking about and that's all kept in mind during this process. I think realism specifically is important for the type of videos I'm trying to make. Because again, when I'm going back to what video, would I want to watch, I would want to know what that product is going to look like once it's in my hands and once it's in my environment. There's lots of channels that do a really great job with lots of fun footage, really dramatic lighting and colorful shots, all this stuff and that's fun. But if I watch that, I don't actually yet know really what that looks like once it's in my environment. Again, focus on the realism of lighting and outdoor environments and things like that to help the viewer to better understand what they're looking at and how it actually looks. I think that's pretty important to literally adding value to the video. If you're keeping in mind, how's your video valuable to the viewer? For those two groups, I was talking about before, it's very valuable to get that out of watching the video. I feel I've always been on this realism thing as far as video goes. I remember if you go all the way back to the very, very beginning of my videos, I was doing what's called screencasts. It's recordings of the screen, delivering tutorials and information, how to do stuff with software. I would just obsess over the highest resolution and frame rate, so you could see the cursor moving as smooth as possible and see exactly where I clicked. That type of stuff, not a lot of 14-year-olds care that much about that type of thing, but that is a common thread. I've always cared about delivering that realism. Ever since I got a camera, ever since I started doing videos of hardware, that's always been what I've been trying to do. But anyway, the theme is realism and so there's a couple of different fundamentals I like to keep in mind for achieving that realism. One is lighting. There's a lot of fun we like to have and maybe the first few seconds of an intro video, something like that with all sorts of crazy moody fun lighting. But at the end of the day, if you only see it in that moody lighting, you don't really quite get the feel of actually what it looks like. Showing a well-lit, sometimes outdoors, sometimes indoors shot of the thing is very important. Then just the fundamentals of the lens choice and the cameras you use. We have a couple different shots we like to be able to show different things. Something like a wide-angle, which is an 18-24 millimeter lens on this big sensor camera. Then a medium telephoto where you're punching in showing a little bit more detail and the 100-millimeter macro is great for showing anything super close up. I talk a lot about buttons. I talk a lot about ports and screens and things like that on devices and those honestly benefit a lot from being able to show a macro here and there. We have a couple of different named shots that we talked about here at the studio. We've made our own lingo for it. One of our favorites is the first-person shot, where you'll see a phone in my hand as if you're holding in your hand. That's literally me holding the camera right in front of my face, focusing it, and adjusting and making sure I get that first-person view of how you would hold the phone. We also have what we'll call third-person shots, which are shots of the outside perspective of me using the phone or the tablet or whatever it is. We mix those in some times when it's not as important to see it from your own perspective. Then we have a couple of other random specialty shots. We'll have our intro shot. The crazy fun opening few seconds of the video will work forever on. We'll have our robot shot, which is shot on the robot. We have our top-down shot, which is a specific design you've seen top-down's before probably, but where the camera points straight down at a surface like a table and you can show something in this beautifully well-lit controlled environment. We do a lot of those too. You mix them up depending on when you think they're useful. But generally, most of our shots wider angle, first-person, third-person. When I'm going through my script here and I'm deciding how we're going to shoot these videos because like I said, now that you have the non-bold text, it acts like a shot list when I talk about first thing here is the matte black finish, second thing here is the cameras in matte black. When I'm literally showing that stuff, it helps to know what best frames and shows exactly what I'm talking about. There's no real science to exactly what shot works best for it. Generally, I'm trying not to be too repetitive. I don't want to do a bunch of the same first-person stuff in a row and I don't want to do too much mixing up or it feels all over the place. It's a bit of a balancing act and when you watch back to the video as you lay it out on the timeline, you'll get a better idea. But we are on the side of shooting too much and then editing down, eventually what we end up showing. But yeah, let's say in the script down here. Something you might have noticed here is Samsung has a carbon-fiber wave for the cameras. That's a little bit of a close-up because that's just a part of the phone up here. So we'll probably use something like the macro or the 55 to get that tighter shot. That will be a third-person shot because it's the back of the phone. You can see the thought process there. Now here's another one where I'm talking about how for the first time in Samsung phones, they'll let you do 1440p resolution and 120 hertz at the same time. It's a bit of a nerdy thing to look at, but that's a menu setting in this phone. So instead of just saying that it does this thing to the camera, I think it works best to be able to show you in the settings of the phone, go to display, and show that actual setting. In the video, you can actually see me showing you why that's different. Some of it comes from just me giving you a little context to why it's important. Some of it's just, it's better to show the thing and talk about the thing. Now for some people, a literal shot list is actually useful when constructing the video as you shoot, every single shot is planned. I haven't done this. I've done the scripting thing, but I haven't done the shot list thing. But I would encourage you to not lock yourself into every single shot having to be an exact certain way. Sometimes I see production basically getting slowed down or carried away with trying to hit an exact shot. Where as you're shooting it, you can get an idea of if you're accomplishing your goal or not pretty quickly right off the bat. Now there's two other words we'd like to use when describing footage, which is, I think I might have said it already, A-roll and B-roll, which is two separate things. The A-roll is me talking to the camera and the B-roll is all of that stuff that is showing the thing that's not me talking to the camera. A-roll in a set like this, we work on a little bit of set design. You might have some Easter eggs in the background that we've hidden, some subliminal messaging, or just some fun, practical lighting, and some props. A lot of times, we like to have a little too much fun with it and I guess that's become a bit of a staple on the channel at this point. Hiding Easter eggs in the background of the videos keeps people on their toes, but that's not necessary. That's just some extra fun we like to have. Generally, A-roll though, it's well lit, pretty simple, and I have my mic down here. We'll go over that a little more in shooting the video. But as far as deciding what's A-roll and B-roll, again, you're thinking about how you want to keep it all consistent, pretty fresh, and mix it up when you have to. So for me, when I'm planning, realism is my measure of success for a video. We can have a lot of fun with the video, but if it's not quite hitting that target for realism, it's not actually as successful as we want it to be. That might be different for you. Keep your success point in mind for planning your visuals and then draw everything out accordingly. Keep your first 10 seconds in mind, keep the A-rolls versus B-roll in mind. Keep your wide versus tight shots in mind and then everything should go from there. 6. Hooking Your Audience: Now we do like to have a lot of fun with our intros, and there's a couple of reasons for that. One is because we're video nerds and we're in a video studio surrounded by gear, let's have fun with it. But two, just from a video-making point of view, you want to hook the viewer in and the first few seconds of the video, as we all know, is the most important for doing that. The first 10 seconds, I would say, is the most important 10 seconds of your video. I happen to have a graphics intro package that's maybe about two seconds long, it's become a staple, we love using it. But somewhere in those 10 seconds, if you can do something they've never seen before, if you could do something super fun, super engaging, super difficult to replicate, that's bonus points right there. Then they're watching the video hoping to see more of that type of stuff. We do that all the time. We'll spend hours on six seconds of video because we have this idea that we want to storyboard out and really dive right into the theme of the video straight off the bat. Now I say the word storyboarding, which is also a pretty common concept in the video world, where you'll literally draw out a scene that you want to create with the camera. I'm terrible at that so I've gotten amazingly to the point where I have a team where we can all check out this Google Doc, read the whole script, figure out what the themes are and figure out what makes a really good intro opening shot, and then we'll all work together on making that opening shot. Sometimes we are storyboarding literally on a whiteboard, drawing out the idea and figuring out what visuals will make this come to life and we'll make this really work for the first few seconds. Sometimes we just all talk about it amongst ourselves and we've decided on the thing and we all have it in our heads and we just get to making it. The intro shots never quite go how we planned and I mean that literally. We'll plan out the shot and then something will just not quite work, literally the way we want it to. Often, we're using the robot and the robot is great, don't get me wrong. It can do things humans can't. But it can also get these weird angles where it has to like twist in a certain way or it's not really stable the way we want it to and so we have to adjust the shot around the equipment. We'll have an idea that we go into it with and then we'll land on something else, and sometimes it's just as cool, it's just not what we started with. I think back to shots like the OnePlus 7 intro, I think, where we had this super close-up shot of the screen passing by the camera so you can see the curve and the height of it, and the seamlessness of it. Also, there's a lot of good Easter eggs and the pass on a channel. I don't know if I want to detail them. I think I just want you to go back and watch them. I think one of my all time favorites though, is we did two videos about two related phones, the Note 20 and the Note 20 Ultra. Note 20, not that great of a phone. Note 20 Ultra, pretty great phone and no one even has to notice this, but in the background of the Note 20 Ultra video, we had a bunch of these nice looking props in this office environment and then the background of the Note 20 video, we had all the same props but worse. We had an iMac in the nice one, and we had an old iMac in the regular Note 20 video. We had like a lamp crooked in the background of the worst video, we had a bicycle on the background of the nice one, and then it was taken apart and falling apart in the other one. Every single prop in that video was very well considered, and if nobody noticed, it would've been totally fine, but we have fun with that type of stuff just because if someone does notice, that's a win. That's the basic idea. We're going to get right into it. We'll see it in action in the studio, but for yourself, for planning your visuals before you're shooting, it just makes it easier on yourself as you shoot. Know what you want to do on those first few seconds of the video to keep people entertained for the entire video and keep that engagement in mind for what shots work when. Let's get into it, let's see it in action in the studio. 7. Shooting Your Video: Now we've got our visuals, we've got our script. Now we have to get into actually shooting the video. This is going to be what our typical shoot style looks like. This is the setup, the camera is in front of me. I will literally have the notes right in front of me, like on my lap, just like that, hidden, so I can reference them and read them and not forget what to say. But yeah, let's take a look around the studio, how we use some of these sets, and then how you can apply it to what you're doing. Now we're over here in what I call the expanded gear closet. Used to be just a closet, then a bigger little wardrobe thing, now it's the gear room basically. Moving up, it's fun. I think I'm going to just talk about the gear fundamentals, because at the end of the day, yes, we use a lot of different equipment, but there's reasons why we use and have each one of these things, and it comes down to a fundamental reason. Like I mentioned, we always want a wide-angle lens. That's my primary. They say date cameras, marry the lenses. I'm a huge fan of SIGMA's wide-angle zooms. We use zooms a lot more than primes nowadays for the convenience, but this is the 24-35. It's a cine lens as well. They make a stills version, but it's a wide-angle zoom. Anything wide-angle and versatile for you. Maybe you find you're cool with 24 millimeters all the time, that's fine, but I love a wide-angle zoom. Then I have what I call my medium telephoto. I have a go-to from every one of these categories despite how much stuff we have. ZEISS Otus 55. Very sharp, very fast, very bright lens, quality stuff. Then lastly, I always have a macro lens. There's a lot of macro shots to see interspersed in the videos, and one of the greatest lenses of all time, in my opinion, Canon's 100 millimeter f/2.8 Macro. Super tight focal distances on things, so you can get the tiniest little details of things and shoot them from far away. I love this lens. That trio is my go-to. A lot of these other lenses fall in the same category, but the point is a wide-angle zoom, a versatile do everything lens for me, a medium telephoto, and a macro. There's also other cameras we use for other things. Some are a little bit lighter weights so we can shoot in smaller environments and shoot handheld with them with car videos and stuff like that. I think our main focus with camera stuff like I said is they upgrade over time. The tech gets better and better over time. We might not have the same camera for very long, but high quality, easy to shoot, easy to use, long battery life is great too. Then the rest of this gear room is just batteries and filters and various little things that you pick up. The more time you spend shooting video, the more you'll find things like circular polarizing filters, ND filters. All the stuff that you slowly add to your arsenal is great sometimes. You don't necessarily need them all the time, but they're nice to have. Now let's get out of this terrible sounding room to talk about good sound. Sounds so much better. A great video is nothing without great sound. My number 1 audio fundamental is get the microphone as close to the subject as possible. That is the absolute number 1 rule. If you have a lav mic, something might go underneath your shirt, you try to get it close to the subject, try to get as close to the mouth as possible, or if you're shooting with what I use, which is a shotgun mic, no matter what shotgun you use, it'll sound better when it's closer to your mouth. Every setup I use is designed to try to get that mic as close to me as possible. A lot of times for me that's under slinging it so that the area behind the mic is carpeted and much smaller, but generally, just get it close to you. That's the best thing you can do. The last thing I want to do is put the mic on the camera. Then lights. It's well lit typically in this room, in the studio, but we often add a lot of lights to get that cinematic look. We have a key light. Any lighting tutorial you watch is going to break down the fundamentals of three-point lighting. It's a YouTube video you can watch, it's probably a Skillshare class you can take, but generally, we just like to keep the lighting as focused and real as possible. Three-point lights are great place to start and then you can mess with practicals and all other stuff from there. Now, I'm talking about fundamentals here because at the end of the day, it's almost impossible to replicate any gear setup you might see around the Internet. But when I say fundamentals, if you look at a smartphone today with the three lenses on it, and you can probably get as close to your face as possible with that and a microphone and shoot a pretty good-looking video. You want to get the light in the right place. That's also really important. They're powerful cameras, but you don't want the light behind you. You want the key to be facing you, generally things like that. But I've seen really great videos made in the last few years on just a phone with no mic, with voiceover just in the phone itself, edited and uploaded entirely from the phone. As long as you have those fundamentals of have the lenses you need, have the focal lengths you need, have the mic nearby, and have the lights in the right places, you're on a good start. Now, I know I promised a little specific behind the scenes with our exact gear setup, so that's what we're going to do. Let's take a look at how I made the Galaxy S21 Ultra video. Here we have the exact set that we used to shoot Galaxy S21 ultra A-roll. Now, I'm going to go through everything here with you. Again, keep in mind the fundamentals, but I'll go through the exact specific gear because a lot of people want to see that too. What I'm holding in my hand is a remote to start this whole process. This is an aperture remote because we have a bunch of lights up here in the ceiling that are all wired to just shoot straight up and give us nice soft light coming down. This isn't even in the fundamentals, this is just something we spent a lot of time on as video nerds and built into our Studio. When I press this button, it's just going to tell us lights off, lights on. That's just the environment light. It's the environment light for the room and it's on the background here. We've got Andrew sitting in. You can see the setup built around him at the moment. The fundamentals right here are he's sitting in the chair and the camera is sitting right in front of him, and we've got the wide-angle all the way wide at 24 right here, which is great. The key light on him, which was on me is the SkyPanel S60. This is a big, colorful, really soft light. I say colorful because it can do RGB and all this fun stuff, but it's pretty much just white light at the moment. It's got the soft box so that the light is softly, evenly falling on his face. It's a pretty standard fundamental if you can get a light source as big as your window. That will be softer than if you just have a point light that's a little harsh. We've got one more aperture back here that's filling in and adding light to his edge. She might call it a rim light, a shoulder light, something like that, but it gives someone a little bit of separation from the background, and that's why I had this little light curving around my shoulder there. That put together with the top light, that's all the lights for the video. Pretty simple three-point light look. Then I have this flag up here. I call them flags. You can call them whatever you want, but basically, they're just to block light. This is blocking the overhead light from just shining directly on my hair, and we're just keeping it simple on the subject to just the key light and the background. Enough about lighting. There's a microphone in front of him, and this is the undersling shotgun mic that I talked about. It's a Sennheiser MKH 416. I'd say I married this mic. I've had this in my arsenal of for 5, 6, 7 years, something like that. It's a very well-known popular mic and it's my favorite ever, sounds great. It's as close to him as I could possibly get without getting in the frame, so it's right up underneath, and the only thing behind the mic is just carpet, so it sounds great. Lastly you've got the subject in sharp tack focus. The camera is plugged in for power, everything else is plugged in for power, and you've got the props behind that are generally just set design. There's a computer behind, there's a little bit of a plant and mic and keyboard and stuff like that. The tassel surfboard looks pretty sweet, and the art's not so bad too, but all of that put together gives you gray wall background, A-roll set, Galaxy S21 Ultra, seen here first. A video making day for us, I separate the schedule for this team into different types of days. We have production days and non-production days. But a day of filming a video from top to bottom can look any number of ways, but it's a bunch of hours of different types of shooting based on what's in the script. Our A-roll set is typically the fastest setup actually, unless we're going crazy with these drags, but that might be 25, 30 minutes to set everything up, then we shoot it. But B-roll, it's typically the team going off and seeing that script and deciding what would look best for it and then shooting it. Any one given time, you might have me shooting 1st-person shots on one side. You could have Vinh in the studio with a little dark mode going on shooting some slider shots, getting a little more dynamic, and then you'll have Brandon in the robot room setting up the robot as we start to put all these pieces together like a big puzzle to make the final video. A common question is how long does it all take to make, for example, the Galaxy S21 Ultra review? If we started at 10:00 in the morning, it was done being shot by like 06:00 PM, but then I was done editing by like 03:00 AM, so that process is pretty long. But yeah, it really depends on the video. Some videos are actually pretty short and they happen in one day, and we go off script all the time. I think a lot of people, like I said, get really beholden to like a shot list. Our shot list is very much just the text and any way that we can convene and show the thing is fine. A lot of times we're in the middle of something. Like Vinh will be doing the slider shot with the ring light and then we go, "Hey, wait a second, that's a thumbnail right there, isn't it?" Then we just go all in on making that piece. It's not like we're prescribing what will be the thumbnail, what will be the B-roll for each shot, it's more we're on the wide-angle, let's do a bunch of the wide stuff and see how much of the script we can cover. Then let's switch to the macro, see how much we can cover with that. We go back and forth until we get our creative looks here in there. It's a little less formulaic and a little more freestyle. I guess we couldn't talk about gear without including the cherry on top in the studio, which would be like the ultimate piece of gear, and that would be our camera robot. It's unnecessary. It's definitely not necessary, but it's a lot of fun. We've talked a little bit about having a slider to add some dynamics, some movement to your shot. This is one of those things we've added on top as something that's specifically hard to replicate. If you've ever seen one of those robots in like a car factory that like picks the car up and moves it around, it's one of these, but with some software and an Xbox controller. It can do things with a camera that a human arm can't do. Like Andrew, you want to run the move we just ran? It can repeat those moves with expert precision over and over again, and we like to design moves around it. The beginning of the S21 Ultra video, as we descend upon the phone and the time of day changes and the background lighting changes, we repeated that shot on the robot multiple times in different environments to fade between them. That's the type of fun we like to have with this robot. Anyway, that's about it for shooting. Just wanted to include that. Next up, let's talk editing. 8. Editing Your Footage: Time to get into the editing process. Some people's favorite, I really like it. First of all, we've shot everything, we have all the A-Roll and the B-roll. I think shooting all this stuff might be half an hour, 45 minutes of footage sometimes that we're ending up condensing with our edit down to seven, eight, nine minutes, something like that. I edit in Final Cut Pro. You can pick any nonlinear video editor you want. I really like Final Cut Pro for a couple of reasons, performance, some pretty sweet plugins, and I happen to work on a Mac, so it just plugs right in. Fun fact, the reason I use Final Cut Pro now, I didn't always use FCP, but I used to use Premiere. I guess my switching story was I went out to LA to interview Kobe with a friend, Jon Morrison. He shot a BTS video, I shot an interview. We both get back with all our footage, we're super excited, we're going to make this video. He puts his video together in Final Cut Pro, I put mine together in Premiere. We both finished around the same time, we both hit "Export". His video, he exports the whole thing, watches it back, finds a mistake, goes back, fixes the mistake, exports the whole thing again, and uploads, and I'm still at 15 percent. That was a light bulb moment, if I've ever had any, which is just for the performance gains, I need to get Final Cut a shot. The rest is history. I still find it really, really fast to edit in. I've mapped a lot of keyboard shortcuts to do things that I commonly want to do like switch between the blade tool, to chop apart clips, arrow tool, select your tool as R. I'll do a lot of stuff on the keyboard, you'll notice, but you can map whatever you want to do. If you want to do a lot of keyboard stuff, you can do that. By the way, I should mention, dual monitor setup, not typical, but I do keep a full screen preview of the clip I'm working on, on the right side at all times, and the piece of the timeline and all the clip bin and the effects and transitions on the left side. Basically, the way I get into it as I just start to chop up the A-Roll and the timing of the actual video first. If there's an intro, that goes in there, if there's graphics, that all gets laid down as the general structure of the video first. Now, like I mentioned, there's a lot of footage that we have to cut down and edit. A lot of it is me saying and repeating one line a bunch of times and trying to pick the right one that fits into the edit. I'll just typically, when I'm recording, I know the last take is the best one. Nine times out of 10, the last take of any line is the one I'm going to use. But if there's one that I liked the middle take better, I'll try to remember it in my head as I'm editing. But generally, I guess I commit a lot of things to memory. I don't really go back to reference the script too much at this point, I've got most of my ideas down in footage form and how the editing is turning that into the final video. Right here is the S21 video, originally 37 minutes and 53 seconds of me talking to the camera. As I get into this, I'm pretty much remembering everything I want to say, but here, in the timeline right before that, I'm literally reading the script and reading what I want to make sure I say, committing it to memory and then looking up and delivering it to a camera. A lot of the flow of it is remembering the tone of the previous take, remembering where you're at in a script. You've written down how you want to say things, so at this point, it's just a matter of delivering them and cutting them altogether. Actually, that was me practicing how I want to enunciate a line before I say it. So I'm literally reading off the phone. But anyway speaking, battery, we again, having ultra number. Making sure the numbers are the focus of this. When I go into saying to camera, we're talking numbers. But anyway, speaking of battery, we again have an ultra number. Works, you make sure you want to say it the way you want to say it, and then you say it. Basically, I've laid out on the timeline, the A-Roll and the audio for the A-Roll, it's all set up here. I save that as compound clip so that they're together and synced, and then I will do this which is edit all of the A-Roll into the timing of the video. The pieces were I'm just reading for B-Roll, I can just read it off the phone because it's not delivering it into camera, so that's why you see this. [inaudible] Then the parts where I'm delivering the camera, I'll deliver it to camera just like that. You say, Okay, now that I'm done writing about the design. Here's a little pro tip for, especially on YouTube edits, you'll see this used a lot. It's called the J cut. It's very common where you'll start to hear the audio of the next clip a little bit before you start to see the video of that next clip. This right here, as I zoom in on the timeline, is called the J cut. Sometimes, I'm doing a little bit of blending because the background noise is different in each clip and you don't want to hear a clip of the background noise in the background. But this is what's happening, this is a J cut. Made that I really like, probably more than you think. Then I don't know how to say this about. Just this little underlying bit of extra video where you have the next scene beginning audio-wise before you start to see it, continues the story, continues the edit really well. It's something I think a lot of YouTubers use and I think would be very useful to helping your edit flow a little better. On YouTube, jump cuts are pretty popular. I'm not for or against them, I just feel like you have to really nail the timing of them. You got to pay special attention to how the timing flows. Like I said, I prefer the J cut because here, when you're cutting between different scenes of the same thing, so me talking to camera, cutting to me talking to camera, you need some continuity, that's why timing is important. I prefer the J cut over the jump cut, but I can see a jump cut being used well, not against it. That's my first step personally as I organize, as I break down the entire edit from beginning to end. If there's graphics, they go in here, if there's B-Roll, I haven't added it yet. That's how I land on the rough cut which is 14 minutes long. Next step, B-Roll. Here's a version now where I've added all my B-Roll and all my titles and everything over the top of me talking. Again, I have that compound clip which is just the A-Roll, locked it up. Then I cut up that compound clip into the video itself with just that takes I need. Now, I've shortened it to 14 minutes. Now, I'm adding the B-Roll of the actual thing I'm talking about which is up here now in my clips bin and dropping it over when I say that thing. A lot of this timing gets better as you do it more often where as you're shooting, you can hear the voice in the back of your head of how you're saying things so you can match it up with, whether it's a phone review or a makeup palette or a bike part, whatever is happening, you can hear it as you're making that thing happen. As you shoot for the editor, this makes it easy for yourself. But basically, I've gone through the whole timeline, and everything that we shot, we've looked at the script and made sure we needed to get those shots. Then we've made that happen on camera. Here's an example of a top-down where I talked about some settings, here's an example of taking a photo because I'm talking about the camera, get some outdoor shots, get some indoor shots. We put it all together. My next line usually as I go through the whole timeline and I just laid out all the B-Roll. The way I used to do it, and this might still work for you depending on who you are, but I used to lay down one clip then color correct that clip, then do graphics on that clip, then lay down the next clip, then color that clip, then do whatever graphics, then lay down the next clip. I feel like I was moving a little more slowly and deliberately about every single clip and finalizing the video as I go along. Now, I will lay down the whole thing. Don't worry about color. Clip, clip, clip, clip, clip, put them all in place with timing. Then I'll go over color specifically. This is my process. I've done all the laying down the B-Roll, then I do all of the color, and my first round of color, again, is different from my second round of color. My first round of color is adjusting all the red Raw settings, my second round of color is any masking or any extra effects I want to do on maybe the highlights need to be a little cooler, maybe my skin tone needs to be a little less magenta, all that stuff. I do that in all one pass. Then my last pass is graphics. If I'm adding a text on the screen like this, this will happen in my last pass. Lots of subtle tweaks and changes that turn this from a really good phone to great ones. I find that I add all these graphics now based on engagement and keeping the attention of the viewer as we move through the story. I feel like if I did one at a time, I'd be tempted to add graphics to every shot, but not every shot needs graphics. So as we go through, I'll have three passes done, A-Roll, B-Roll, two rounds of color, and its last bit will just be tying a story together with some texts, some graphics, and whatever is needed. Let's see if I can find some other color here. I don't have too much texts actually in these videos, but here's another version. Number is 5,000 milliamperes and now, it looks great on paper. You don't use too much text in a tech video, but if there's a lot of numbers of specs you want to keep in mind, that can be useful. Now, another common consideration is audio and music, specifically. A lot of people will like to lay some background music over the bed of whatever you're talking about. This can be fun. I think the challenge of this is finding music that fits with what you're trying to deliver, fits with the mood of what you're trying to say. Sometimes, people use it to mask background noise, but sometimes, it really helps drive the story, and I think that can be very useful. That's something I'm actually personally working on more for 2021 is using music and audio design to better drive the video and the story as it goes. A little bonus is we like to go crazy with our intros. So at the beginning of the video here, we'll have what you'll call our intro shot on a different computer you can see over there. You'll have specifically work on the intro, sound design, SFX, GFX. We have a motion graphics specialists. All of these comes together and ends up looking amazing. Then I get to just drop that right on the front of the timeline here in Final Cut Pro. At the end of the day, you end up with something like this which is really big, tall file. Some people will look at this and it's a little messy-looking, a little sloppy looking, a little different for Final Cut Pro, but that's because there's a lot of J cuts in here, especially at the end here, you can see about seven consecutive J cuts, and a lot of B-Roll being laid down over the top of things I'm talking about. Now, here's a really good question for you. How do you know when you're done? How do you know when the edit is done? Something that I like to think about, when you're first getting started, it can be really easy to just want to keep going back and making it better and better and better, and at that point, you can always find something to make better, you can go to sleep, wake up the next day, come back and find 10 new things to change. But in this world of YouTube where you're constantly working on new things, done and uploaded as better than 99 percent and still working on it. You have to live with uploading a pretty dang good thing that's just about done versus trying to make the greatest thing ever seen by mankind. Basically, if you're trying to get better at a video, what would you rather do? Work 100 hours on one video or work one hour on 100 new videos? I pick 100 videos. Yeah, I guess the last thing I'll say is if you're new to video editing, it's a process which you got to trust that process, or actually, link to some specific video editing classes that go more in depth with it, that's an overarching thing. But it's probably the longest part to learn, the most tedious part to actually master. But when you get good at it, it's a lot of fun and it helps you tell the story better. This is what I have a lot of fun with. Next up, when you are all actually done with the edit, let's talk about optimizing your channel. 9. Posting Your Video: You've finished your video, you've edited everything, you've gone through the whole production process. Now it's the relationship between that file and YouTube. You can call it optimizing your channel, whatever you want. I just wanna say this could be an entire class to itself with many lessons and many ups and downs. But I think you can't learn it all at once. You kind of just have to learn the fundamentals. I think at the end of the day, if you focus on quality, my philosophy is generally that YouTube as a platform likes to reward quality. We'll get more into that in a bit. But that's generally the focus here. As you get into the groove of publishing to over and over, you make more stuff. You'll start to figure out what works with your publishing, what works as your content strategy, schedule, all that sort of stuff. You'll find what works for you. For me, I remember there's a lot of things I was told that you have to do on YouTube that are a good rule of thumb, but don't necessarily work for me. One is uploading on a schedule. Technically, if you can upload on a consistent schedule, whether it's daily or the same time every week, that brings your audience into expecting something and being there right away for the video. I just couldn't do that and that's fine. Having a face in a thumbnail, it's clearly built into YouTube's algorithm to see a face, and people like seeing faces in thumbnails. But I don't necessarily find that I always have to have a face and a thumbnail too. Again, you'll customize it for yourself. You've made the video. You're about to upload it to YouTube. For me, this is the point where I'm finalizing the title and the thumbnail. I think it comes down to who you're designing the video for. Now again, I want to go back to those two buckets of people I talked about earlier, people who are going to see this in their sub box from the YouTube channel they subscribe to. People who are going to see this in search, looking for a gadget. If this is a review of the S21 Ultra, the title and the thumbnail have a lot to do with reviewing the S21 Ultra. In my case, I will often literally name it Galaxy S21 Ultra review. Maybe one or two other little phrases or words after that. But you can get creative with it. I think you'll find some of the most interesting stuff on YouTube comes with getting creative with themes, with titles and thumbnails and the presentation of the video. Here's a couple of things to keep in mind and I'll actually pull up some thumbnails in the past I've worked on, but for our channel, I generally like to keep a pretty clean, minimal-ish aesthetic. Really the biggest key is to keep in mind what it will look like when it's very small because thumbnails, as you can tell by the name, are usually the size of a thumb nail, they're usually very small. You'll see it on your phone most often. You can make this big masterpiece that looks incredible, blown up like here is the Galaxy S21 ultra thumbnail. It's alive. It's a floating phone. It's got the texts behind a glowing on my hands. But generally, our philosophy is if you shrink this all the way down, you get one big word. You get hands and a floating phone, and that's it. All the little details in here of the reflection of the light and the lens and the blue from the glass here. Removing all the dust on the phone and photoshopping out the line in the table here, all that stuff is a little extra over the top. The point is, it's very clean and simple. Clearly, you know what you're going to get in this video. It's going to be a presentation of this phone. That's what I'm looking at. If you just look at the channel, you can see a couple other examples. There are some with my face in it and some without. I tend to use, I think my face in a thumbnail where a reaction is important. When I first unbox the PS5, instead of just having the PS5 and the box, I had my reaction to the PS5 because there was this new thing we're seeing for the first time when Apple made an announcement about their new Silicon in the Macs. Again, I don't have the chip in front of me. The thumbnail for the video of me talking and reacting made sense to be me reacting. But for a lot of these other gadgets and things like that, where the gadget itself is the focus of the video, the star of the show, if you will. I feel like it is pretty powerful to be able to put that gadget, often a close up of that gadget as the thumbnail. I remember back in the olden days of YouTube, you had to use a frame from the video. It was like auto-select a frame from the video, and then you could pick one of three predetermined options. This is a long way removed from those days. You really get to select exactly how you want to present your video. Titles. My only consistency and my titles, as you've probably noticed, is the exclamation point. It's just, we're getting started off a pretty excited right foot. We're drawing people into the video. But I think having again, a pretty short, easy to remember and share title that can tie into the motif of the video that we spoke about in our scripting phase can be really helpful. Let's see, for example, S21 ultra problem-solved. The motif or the common thread that I spoke about for the whole review is how many things they fixed versus last year's phone as you jump into the video, that's the first thing I talked about. That's something I addressed constantly throughout the video and that is the title, problems solved. It addresses people subscribing who just want this entertainment. It addresses people buying the phone, who just want to know what it's good at or what is bad at. Question you might have is if your video is explaining something or answering a question, do you give it away in the title? There's something called betteridges law of headlines, which states that it's an a dodge. It's not necessarily true, but any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no. That's usually true. If you're asking if something is too good to be true in your headline, the answer's probably no, it exists. But a lot of times we struggle with do we want to give away too much in the title? If we just ask a question, can that lead us into the video? I wouldn't worry about giving away too much. I just feel like your title and thumbnail are really there to present what's behind the title and thumbnail. It's like painting the front sign of an amusement park in the most enticing way possible to get people to ride the rides. The rides are going to be great. They'll speak for themselves, but no one's going to go to the park if the signs sucks. Yeah, make a great sign. 10. Growing Your Channel: Another thing that I'd like to focus on when making a video is, one of the most common metrics on YouTube that you've probably seen a lot of people start to reference is most people watching videos are not signed in and are not subscribe. I've 13.5 million subscribers on this channel, which is insane. Till this day 75 percent of people who watch every video are not subscribed. The goal is to get them to come back and to remember that this is a channel and not just a one off video, and that's actually the origin of the MKBHD name, is to get something for people to remember that they can come back for more too. If you go way back to the tutorial days on YouTube, and I had 100 something videos that people would watch one and leave, I want it to be able to start a video by saying, ''Hey, what's up, guys, it's Marques Brownlee here from MKBHD and welcome to another software tutorial." That's how I started every video with that whole thing. Now, it's a little long and it's a little hard to remember my name and how to spell it and so eventually I had to come up with a shorter way to just remind people that this is a thing, but there are other videos to it. It eventually shorten to, what is up guys, I'm MKBHD here and the rest I guess is history. But that philosophy can apply to you as well. You have a bit of a collection, a bit of a catalog, now you want people to be able to go back and find that other stuff. I think starting off the video in some way that can remind them whether it's a Graphics Intro, whether it's your first few words of the video, whether it's the top of your description, your title, but find some way to tie in the fact that this is one of the things that you've made and not the only thing that you've made and that can help a lot. I think I mentioned this in another piece, but one of the most important metrics for success for me, besides just the basic like view count, subscriber count type stuff is retention and YouTube at this point, after a day or two of the video being up will literally give you a graph of how long people stayed to watch the video, what percent of people are still here and have left. Now, you'll find some interesting things when you look at this graph. Number 1, you'll always start off right around 100 percent and maybe even more because people will go back to the beginning of the video and watch it again. We're at 112 percent at the beginning of the video, which is pretty sweet. Almost never end the video anywhere near 100 percent and the longer the video, the lower it is. But we will also see is some little spikes where it goes back up and back down again. When you see those spikes, it's pretty useful to go back in and watch over what was happening in the video. What was either being said or being shown, that you can think, oh people rewind and watch that again, people really cared about this piece of the video and that you can use to drive when you go back to your editing phase for the next video, trying to create more of those moments to help people stay engaged for longer. It looks like I have a moment pretty late here in the video where it goes from 46-52 percent. Let's see what happened there. ''How you get to that photo and video that are better there's countless examples of this. Right when you first open the camera app simply asks you if you want to take natural or right selfies instead of just defaulting to break all the time." I understand this one because I was talking about a feature in the phone where you can switch back and forth between two options and see the difference. I imagine at this point in the video, people are going, wait a second, can I see the difference? They're going back and re-watching to see if they can see the difference between natural and bright selfies. Makes sense. They rewound, they watched it again. That's the spike and retention and maybe something I learned from that is a little more AB comparison. I think I've shown a lot of side-by-side photos in the past that are pretty helpful. Maybe I do an A and then B takes over the screen instead of showing them side-by-side. That's the type of thing you can learn from looking at retention. I think generally it becomes more self-explanatory over time you start to notice certain things that you do. Certain things you get good at, like intros or like graphic design, can really help people stay engaged with your video. I'd say these days I spend a little less time in the analytics than I used to, I used to really focus on the analytics as if it was the number 1 thing that could drive the growth of the channel. To this day, as much as we talk about YouTube's algorithms and everything that they focus on and how it can change over time, I still think they're all targeted towards driving and rewarding quality. That's what I end up focusing on is making a good video. Because if you think about it, YouTube as a site, their business, they want to keep you on as long as possible, so they can serve you as many as possible and make as much money as possible. I think people construe this as well YouTube is rewarding longer watch time, so they're rewarding longer videos. YouTube's rewarding channels that upload daily. But in reality, that's just people bringing people back to the site often, anytime you see the algorithm reward something, it's rewarding things that bring you to YouTube, things that keep you on YouTube and those things are typically the best things, the quality things. If you can keep people on YouTube a long time, it's probably a really good video. Any algorithmic change, I think, all funnels towards rewarding quality and if you can make quality stuff, you don't necessarily have to have the most incredible algorithmic mind in the world to figure out how to share it with the world. I think YouTube is going to pick up on it and share it for you now. I'm talking a lot here about YouTube because I'm uploading to YouTube channel most often, but that's not the only platform out there. There are the Instagram's of the world, the Facebook of the world, the TikTok of the world, the Twitters of the world. There's a couple of ways of going about this. Some people, we'll cut the same content for different platforms. I could cut this video, I made the S21 Ultra and just pick out the highlights and put that on an Instagram real, work sometimes. But I find that, at least in my opinion, natively creating for each platform is a way better way of going about multi-platform content. That's extra work don't get me wrong. But actually shooting that vertical video that's a little more fast paced, specifically for Instagram, or if you want to just make a TikTok, use TikTok, built-in tools, editing all of the meme come from being built in a TikTok. I think being native to each platform is more important than just spewing out the same thing everywhere. If you spew the same thing everywhere also, to me, I'm like, why would I follow you and all these different places it's going to be the same thing. I'll just follow one place. If you can make different things native to different platforms think you doing something right. Now, if your question is, how do you go about expanding on other channels? If you're starting on YouTube, at what point do you start tweeting and at what point the start making Instagram stuff. I think that's the part that's actually most up to you and what you're most comfortable with. So yeah, when you get down to applying all this to yourself, really, you want to post your video. You want to pay attention to those analytics and see how it behaves and then once you see those behaviors, try to figure out the why, why did it behave like that? Then again, at the end of all this, that thing I told you to keep in the back of your head of making what I would want to watch. Watch it back to yourself and think, is this why would want to watch? Do you find yourself watching your own video and getting bored and phasing out two minutes in and then coming back at the exciting part, maybe there's something you can do trimming out that middle boring part there. Maybe it's useful, maybe it's not, so it's the eye test. It's the eye test because it's what you're looking at. But it's the eye test of what I would want to watch. That's something to keep in mind. I think it's ultimately the most important piece of all this. As you consider each of these platforms, think about what you think you would do differently on each of them, and when you can come up with that thing and when you like that difference, then dive in, there you go. You've uploaded your video, you're getting started and this is the exciting part for me, is the beginning, getting started and I can't wait to see what you create. 11. Final Thoughts: All right. We've reached the end, and congrats, you've made it. What's next? That's always the question once you've reached the end of a big class or something you finally finished, what's next? I think really it's just applying it to whatever you want to make. The life of a YouTuber is repeating and improving this process over and over. I happen to do this two, three times, four times per week at this point, surrounding the tech world, and that's the world we live in. But for you, maybe that's posting in the project gallery, checking out what other people have been making, learning from people, improving. I think the bottom line is, if you can be happy doing this and no one ever pays you for it, no one ever watches, you just have fun making the videos by yourself, you're on the right track. A lot of people ask how they can start to make this their job and do it for a living, that's not how it starts, you start with just doing it for fun and getting better, so developing your skill is the most important piece and you are definitely off on the right foot as far as that goes. Congrats on making it to the end. Hope you enjoyed. I'll see you out there.