Record and Publish Videos on YouTube


This page contains notes for a talk I'm giving at the New York Amateur Computer Club on 14 November 2019 at New York University.

The short URL for this page is

The video recording of this talk should be available on YouTube by 1 December 2019. Check back here, or subscribe to our YouTube Channel to find out when it's published.

Update: I'll try to have this page done and the video posted on YouTube by 9 December 2019.

Buying Equipment

How to select and buy a camcorder and microphone. (Optional -- you can use your phone or laptop camera, with some limitations, and you might not need an external mic.)


Don't buy bottom of the barrel. Ask your friends for recommendations, and pay attention to reviews -- both the good and bad ones.

Bad camera: "Video Camera" by Lakasara

My current camera: Canon Vixia HF R800.

TIP: Pro-consumer cameras designed for capturing still photographs are often very good for recording video as well, but they tend to have an insiduous 30 minute per program limit. They will stop short at 30 minutes and you must manually trigger a new recording to keep going. This is due to import tariffs of various world governments on still cameras versus video cameras / camcorders.


FIXME -- Talk about tripods and other mounting options.

Pay attention to features and what your needs are. If you are going to be panning and zooming during the recording, you need to look for a tripod with a "Fluid Head" or "Fluid Mount"! My current tripod is good for fixed shots and still photos, but it squeaks a little when I pan and tilt.

If you are shooting for only a few minutes, you may not need a tripod at all.

My older, cheaper tripod locks up and squeaks even louder when you pan and tilt.

My current tripod: Amazon Basics 60 inch lightweight tripod with bag


My current external mic: 2.4GHz single wireless mic system by KIMAFUN

Equipment Setup

Scout out the location ahead of time.

What does the light look during the type of event you're going to record? Is there amplified sound in the room? What would the event sound like? If there is a "sound check", be absolutely sure to attend that and make an actual recording during sound check while you setup and adjust your equipment.

Where are the power sockets? Do you need an extension cord? Does all your equipment have more than enough battery power to run through the entire event without external power?

If possible, shoot from the back of the room on a tripod, above the heads of the audience. This allows you to get the best flat angle shot of the presenter(s) and any visual aids without lots of extreme panning during the event. And if you are using your in-camera microphone it will be hearing what the audience hears.

For the even itself, start recording when you know the program will start soon. You will trim it later. Do not get caught turning on the camera while the presenter is being introduced! Continue recording until at least 1 minute after the program has concluded.

Most camcorders can record at least 1920×1080 pixels at 30 frames per second (1080p30). This is a good baseline for any archive recording, and it's not too much data for simple cut-and-paste post production on a typical low-powered computer.

You may decide to record 1080p60 or "4k" 4096×2160 or even higher resolution; if you do, make sure you have the capacity to archive it, edit it, and that your memory card can support the bytes per second to record at that resolution non-stop. Do a trial run with a 10 minute recording.

Lighting Considerations

White Balance

Artificial light sources are not white like the visual spectrum of sunlight; they have color. Human visual perception automatically adjusts for color of the light source by locking onto white and grey things, and sorting out all the other colors in a scene accordingly.

Cameras can usually do the same thing, but they will often continually readjust if you're recording a show that uses colors for effect, or gets lighter and darker a lot. Find the "light source" or "white balance" setting on your camera and set it for the scene.

In a lecture hall or classroom, you should take charge of the lights. If the presenter is using a video screen and there is some way to dim the lights without turning them all the way off, DO IT! This will make the balance between faces and the video screen much closer in your recording.


The exposure setting adjusts how much of the incoming light energy is captured by the video sensor in each frame, either by adjusting an apature or adding a bias to the sensor's electrical output, or both.

I always set the exposure in "automatic" mode when recording a public event. In any good camcorder, this should be sufficient. Setting the exposure level manually is good for short scenes where you know exactly what to expect after trial shots and multiple takes.

Sound Considerations

If you are using an in-camera microphone AND there is no big sound amplification in the room, the presenter is going to sound far away in the recording. Consider purchasing a wireless mic for the presenter to wear, or shooting from close up near the stage if a wireless mic is not an option.

Be assertive about space for the camera. If you were invited there to make an archive recording of the event, you are entitled to move a seat or two and block the view of a few seats behind you if you need to. (Arrive before the audience arrives so that this isn't an issue.)

At music and theater shows with sound systems, you might be tempted to record the sound directly from the sound board. Don't do this; it's usually a mistake. Unless there are two sound boards with the second board dedicated to making a live recording, the mix of different mics will be adjusted for the room's environment and not for recording. (Drums and pianos are loud, the human voice is in the middle, guitars are quiet. The mix in the room sound system will amplify each source enough so that the audience can hear the natural sound PLUS the amplified sound all together with a good balance. If you record that, you will only be getting what was sent to the speakers but not the natural sound sources to balance it out.) Just use one mic, in the audience's space, and you will capture what the audience is physically hearing.

Good camcorders usually have a setting for "automatic" or "automatic gain control / AGC" for sound recording level versus "custom" or "manual". As with the light exposure setting, I always use "automatic". This saves me from having to fiddle with the sound level later in post-production.

If you choose to manually set the recording level, you MUST do a sound check with the real sound sources that will be the event, before the show starts. Set the input level so that when the sound gets as loud as it will get, the energy being recorded hits about -9dB from the top of the scale, or even -12dB if you aren't sure what to expect later. Later in post-production you can selectively amplify quiet parts and/or amplify the whole thing to remove whatever extra headroom you don't need anymore.


How to setup your camera for different recording situations, with a checklist.

After you've spent time learning how the camera works, but before your first event, make an equipment setup checklist! If you do not follow a checklist, you will make mistakes. I have made several mistakes while recording NY Amateur Computer Club presentations.

Simple Editing

For most events that I record, I do not wish to produce a fancy video; my goal is to just record and present what happened in the event.

Avidemux is the tool I use for simple cut-and-paste editing. I use it only to trim off the beginning and end of the recording. I do not perform any other edits such as changing sound levels, adding video overlays, adding scene transitions, etc. This allows me to simply copy cut video data directly from the source files into the destsination files with no CPU-intensive re-encoding and no "generation loss" of the recording.

I upload my cut file to YouTube and it takes care of re-encoding all the target formats that it makes available to end-users.

FIXME -- editing steps

Advanced Editing

Archiving / Backup

Archiving/backing up your projects. (YouTube won't be around forever.)

FIXME -- fill in detail

Uploading to YouTube

Uploading to YouTube.

FIXME -- fill in detail


Further topics may include how to get started with more advanced video editing, YouTube 'vlogging' and social networking for marketing or for direct profit, and anything else that comes up in the Q&A.


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