Last updated on February 10, 2018

shooting YouTube videos

What do you need to shoot a professional looking YouTube video? And how do you go about shooting? Here's the answers.

Is it that you won't tell me or that you don't know?


One of the most frustrating things on the Internet is trying to determine how to do something, especially something technical, like how to shoot a Youtube Video.

Why is that?

Actually, I find partial answers more frustrating than no answer.

So, I want to know how to shoot a YouTube video. I want good video and audio quality, and I want a decent price and a reliable workflow. What do I need to do?

I have another post that will cover computer screenshots the easy way, but this post covers shooting yourself or maybe a product you're reviewing.



You could go with anything from an iPhone to a video camera or maybe even a GoPro, but let's lay out some criteria.

  • You want a reasonable price point – one that produces great video and audio.
  • You want some flexibility and growth options for various audio and lens options. We'll discuss more on this later.
  • You want it to be lightweight.
  • You want it to be portable – (kinda goes with lightweight.)
  • You want autofocusing – this is key.
  • You want only what you need and no more.

Okay, easy enough, we've covered the basics – good price point, flexible, lightweight, portable and autofocusing. What's available?


Now, I'm actually a landscape photographer, so I have some experience with cameras. The new crop of cameras, however, is really unbelievable, and there has been a definite move towards video features in DSLR as well as lightweight.

So, what's available and what's good, no what's great. Here's the system I developed that really meets the need of YouTubers and meets all the other criteria discussed above.

  • Canon EOS Rebel SL2 – lightweight (less than a pound), autofocusing, and Bluetooth enabled. The SL2, at 24.2 megapixels, is a superb video camera with a vari-angle touchscreen and autofocusing (Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology). Just get the body, you'll add a special lens below.
  • Canon EF-S 24 f/2.8 STM lens – this is the perfect lens with a great low light aperture that will allow you to shoot almost anything. The STM allows for autofocus without any noise or other artifacts.
  • Canon Wireless Remote Control BR-E1 – want to control your camera – start and stop without grabbing the camera and shooting you with your hands all over the lens? Just use a remote control. This unit connects to the Bluetooth feature on the SL2 and will make shooting easy and seamless.
  • Joby Gorillapod 3K kit Compact Tripod Stand and Ballhead – You can use this compact tripod either on your desk to shoot your product reviews or held out in front of you as you jog down the trail. It is light and will offer you endless control and angle possibilities.
  • Rode VideoMicro On-Camera Microphone – Nothing hurts YouTube videos like bad audio. And, as good as the built-in mic is on the Canon Sl2, you need this to really produce great audio. The Rode VidoeMicro is tiny and well priced. You simply can't lose with this option.

That's it, five pieces of gear – camera, lens, remote, tripod, and microphone. You may want to add another lens down the road but you won't need to, and this will film, with a professional quality, all of your off-computer screen YouTube videos.



Now, let's set up the camera.

I'll make it as easy and painless as possible.

  • You need to set the camera to “Manual” mode. Somehow, everyone forgets to tell you this. I don't know why.
  • Set up your video mike and plug it in.
  • Manually set your recording level. Set it high enough but not so high that it peaks to the right.
  • Ensure autofocusing and image stabilization is set to on on the lens.
  • Set autofocus on the menu to face tracking.
  • Set the image to Neutral mode – you can make changes in post-processing.
  • Set the auto white balance to auto. If the image color looks off, take a picture of a grey or white card and set your white balance automatically. This is not usually necessary.
  • Set you Frame rate to HD 30 frames per second.
  • Set your shutter speed to 2 times the frame rate, or 60.
  • Set your aperture to the widest available aperture for your lens – on the 24 STM that would be 2.8
  • Set your ISO to render a correct exposure by looking at your exposure meter. The higher the ISO, the grainier the shot. Don't go over 800. If you need a higher ISO, add some external light.

That's it. You're ready to shoot.



Okay, you have the gear and you have a workflow, the rest is up to you. Actually, with a little practice, you can shoot some phenomenal YouTube videos almost on autopilot.

Have fun and enjoy.

Hopefully, this takes some of the mystery out of shooting a YouTube video. You now have the gear and the workflow. Get to it. 

thad @ resolute blogger
Thad is a former executive with several multibillion-dollar investment advisory firms, who has developed a series of strategies that captivates interest, conveys confidence, and converts alliances for website ventures. For a free PDF on How to Structure Facebook Ads Successfully, download here.

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