The Ultimate Step-By-Step Guide To Making Your First YouTube Video

13 January 2017, 15:49 | Updated: 17 July 2017, 12:23

We the Unicorns

By Liam Dryden

Ever wanted to make your first YouTube video but didn't know where to start? Here's the step-by-step guide you always needed!

If you're here, chances are you have an interest in becoming a YouTuber. Or you might have just taken our quiz to test your vlogging skills. Either way, you probably have an interest in what it takes to make your very first YouTube video; so good for you!

Lilly Singh

From years of experience, we can take you through the basics of making not just a video, but a fairly good one; something that will hopefully make people want to come back for more. So get your gear together, and buckle up for your YouTube debut masterclass!


Step 1: Prep


So a lot of creators look like they just turned the camera on and started pouring out their thoughts; but even if they did, that probably took years of practise. For everyone else, scripting is a key part of any video.

first youtube video

When writing a vlogging script, here are the key points to remember:

  • Don't write down every single word you want to say. It will feel unnatural and forced when you try to read it out.
  • Write down a couple of lead-in sentences to begin your point, then leave some room for improv.
  • Write down the important things you'll need to remember later, like a call to action ("Like, comment and subscribe!") at the end.
  • Keep the script off-camera to look back at while filming.


How's your light? And what are the acoustics in the room like? Also is there anything in the background you don't want people to see? Yep, there's a lot of things to think about before you hit Record.

first youtube video

Here's a quick play-by play:

  • If you don't have any fancy or large lighting, try to shoot in front of a window during the day. Natural light is heaps better than the yellow light from a lamp.
  • Make sure the room you're filming in isn't too large or bare; Echoes and reverb will make your sound quality worse if you're not using special audio gear.
  • Take a picture or a couple of practise clips: Are you happy with how your video is framed? Is there anything in shot you want to add/get rid of? Do it.

You're ready to film!!

Step 2: Filming

Time for the most crucial (and the most iconic) part; talking to the camera. Whether you're using a high-end DSLR or just your iPhone (and we have tips for that here), this part will take a while to perfect; so don't worry if you're not a vlogging natural on your first try!!

first youtube video

To save you from being stuck for ages, here's five key tips to remember:

  • LOOK INTO THE LENS. Seeing yourself in your phone screen/laptop/flip-out viewfinder might be distracting, but not half as much as it will be for your viewers when you don't make eye contact.
  • Watch your energy. If you're not used to being on camera, you might either go "too low" (boring, slow, nervous)  or "too high" (loud, intense, aggressive) with your energy. You want to be in a nice medium level of pep and sass!
  • Do a lot of takes. If you trip over your words or lose your train of thought, don't power through; it's fine to try it again a few times. That's what editing is for!
  • Project! Mumbling is nightmare, especially for hard-of-hearing viewers. This will take a bit of practice if you haven't got a lot of on-camera confidence, but you will get there over time.
  • Take breaks! If you're not feeling it, don't be afraid to go get some water and have a think. But if you're using daylight to shoot, be careful of losing that for continuity.

Finished editing? Let's edit this dang thing!

Step 3: Editing

For some people, editing is the trickiest part of the process. It really depends on what tools are available to you; but no matter what, the first time can be tricky to get it right.


It's also hard to give all-round editing advice that suits every platform; but we promised to help, so we'll do our best!

  • Have lots of disk space. Depending on the program you use, computer memory can be used up pretty fast if you're rendering video files or importing big HD clips. Free up a biiiig chunk of space before you start; or buy a hard drive!
  • Make sure your audio sounds great. Your video could look terrible, but as long as it sounds good, people could still enjoy it. Also check with both earphones and speakers; There are always going to be tiny differences that will affect how the viewer responds to your video, so cover your bases.
  • Keep your jump cuts tight, but smooth. The jump cut is a vlogger's ultimate weapon; it keeps the flow of the video feeling natural and engaging. Awkward pauses are bad; words being cut out are worse (unless for comedic effect).
  • If in doubt, delete your "ums".  It can sometimes be hard to know how to pace your video, but getting rid of all the dead space where you're trying to think of the next thing to say with an "um" or "er" etc. is always a foolproof option.

Is the video exported? LET'S POST THIS BAD BOY

Step 4: Publishing

There are more steps to sharing a video than just clicking "Upload", you know. That's a start, but there is still a bit of work to be done. We're on the final stretch though! You're doing great!


Before you share your video with the world, make sure you've done the following:

  • Add captions. It's so important that d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers can have the same experience as others in watching your videos; here are some tips on how!
  • Triple-check for mistakes. Any editing errors? Something you forgot to mention? Nip slips? It's better you spot it now before some pedantic YouTube commenter catches you out!
  • YouTube edits. Need to add any annotations? Links in the description? Ads? get them sorted before you make the video Public!
  • Get buzz going. Let people know you're about to post a video! If you have a following already, it'll get them excited to see that something is coming from you!

You're done!

You did it! You published a vlog! That wasn't so hard, was it? Now you just have to make about fifty more of those this year and you'll be well on your way to YouTube stardom...