A Step-by-Step Guide of How to Record a YouTube Video

A Step-by-Step Guide of How to Record a YouTube Video
Photographer: CardMapr | Source: Unsplash

If you feel the pull to start a YouTube channel but don’t really know where to begin or how to record a YouTube video, don’t worry. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on top-of-the-line equipment to start recording.

Today we’ll talk about how to record a YouTube video for beginners and content creators alike.

How to Record a YouTube Video: Where to Begin

First things first, you’ll need to know what type of YouTube channel you want to have. This will determine what type of content you’ll create. Some of the most popular types of video are:

  • How-to videos: You’ve probably searched these hundreds of times. How to play the guitar, how to start a podcast, how to record a YouTube video.
  • Tutorials: Isn’t a tutorial the same as a “How To” video? Yes and no. How-to videos usually focus on demonstrating how to do something. Basically, these videos typically give you the bare minimum of information needed. Tutorials, however, tend to start with the “why” and then transition on to “how.”
  • Product reviews: Whether podcast equipment or the latest style trends, review videos for products on YouTube are super important for influencing buyers’ decisions.
  • Entertainment: From gameplay to reaction videos, there are plenty of videos on YouTube that are purely for entertainment purposes.

How to Record a YouTube Video: Know Your Audience

The type of videos you’ll make will largely depend on your audience. That’s why, before you even press that record button, you’ll want to clearly define:

  • Who you’re making these videos for
  • What their problems are
  • How you’ll solve them
  • Why you’re the one most qualified to solve them

If your YouTube channel is related to your business or freelance venture, then this part will be simple. It’s likely that you already have an ideal client profile for your business, so simply apply it to your channel. For new content creators, this is definitely something you should carefully consider.

There are so many people out there competing for your attention. That’s why you need to know what value you can bring to your target audience. Instead of thinking about what kind of video YOU want to make, think about your audience. What type of content will they enjoy?

How to Record a YouTube Video and What Equipment You Need

If you’re using your Mac or PC, you’ll have a webcam built right in. If not, they’re fairly inexpensive. You can get external ones for as little as $20! And don’t discount that camera you carry around in your pocket! Nowadays the video quality on iPhones and Androids is off the charts. The cinematic feature is such high-quality, you’d think you’re watching a feature film. You can not only record your video on your phone, but you can also do your video editing and upload them right to the YouTube app!

Of course, you could always invest in professional recording equipment and editing tools. Some items you’d need to add to your shopping list:

  • Lights
  • External mic(s)
  • External hard-drive
  • Tripod
  • Video editing software (iMovie is great for the basics, but if you’re really looking for that high-quality video, Adobe Premier Pro or Final Cut would be worth the investment.)

How to Record a YouTube Video: Writing a Script

Sitting down and recording a YouTube video involves more than just talking into the camera. Naturally, there are videos where unscripted talking works well (think reaction videos). But when you’re creating a how-to, a tutorial, or even a product review, a script is important to make sure you remember to include all the details of what you want to say. That said, a script is more than just what you intend to say. It also serves as a reminder of different angles, shots, and effects you intend to add during editing.

Writing a detailed script requires some time, but it is much better than diving in without a plan and will save you time in the long run.

How to Record a YouTube Video by Recording Your Screen

Again, this might seem like basic knowledge, but sometimes we forget. You should clean up your desktop before taking a screen recording. Don’t keep things you don't need. Sort things into folders. This is definitely HUGE if you’re recording a business video and need to capture a screen. The last thing you want is a cluttered desktop or something embarrassing.

Another thing you will need is screen capturing software. YouTube does not have either a screen capture option or a dedicated video recorder. If you want to record your screen, there are plenty of online tools available and they're all fairly self-explanatory. In most cases, all you need to do is select the recording area you want to capture and click hit that rec” button.


Do you know that Macs have a built-in screen recording option? If you have a Mac, there’s no need to run out and purchase or download screen recording software. You can choose from two ways to do this. For onscreen controls, either use the shift + command + 5 keyboard shortcut or use Quicktime.

By using the keyboard shortcut, you can capture a video of the entire screen or just a portion of it.

With this feature, you have a few editing options (trim and edit), plus you can set a timer, which is always useful. You can only save these recordings on your computer as .MOVs.

Using QuickTime is as simple as opening the QuickTime Player and choosing File > New Screen Recording. With QuickTime’s screen recording feature, you have the option of recording your voice or other audio, and you can choose which microphone to use.

Microsoft Windows has its own screen recording program that includes hotkeys as well as the ability to edit and record audio.


By now, you’re probably overly familiar with Zoom, so we'll keep this short.

Zoom’s recorder feature enables you to record audio and video, so it is the perfect tool for recording video conferences or live streaming video sessions. There are only two major drawbacks – users cannot pick video quality and Zoom does not have built-in editing software. So if you wanted to make any edits to your video, you would have to edit your video using some other software.


Another popular screen recorder is Loom (not to be confused with Zoom). With this program, you can record your screen and share it with others for free. Loom also offers a free Chrome extension for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android users. This Chrome extension can make Loom links into embedded videos, so users can view Loom videos directly on platforms such as Gmail and Dropbox.

There is a great video editing feature that allows you to trim videos, add calls-to-action, create custom thumbnails, and even draw. However, the free plan only allows you to create a certain number of videos a month and has a 5-minute time limit.

The Final Steps

We’ve covered the basics of how to record a YouTube video, but now it’s time to take the last and most important step: video optimization. Optimizing your video doesn’t require an SEO expert. Still, you WILL want to spend some time optimizing your video; otherwise, all your efforts will be wasted.

Some things for you to consider when optimizing your video:

  • Thumbnail: 90% of YouTube's top-performing videos have custom thumbnails, so choose your thumbnail carefully.
  • Video title and description: Make sure your title and description contain keywords that are relevant to your topic.
  • Tag: Tags help YouTube understand your video’s topic (or category) and will suggest similar videos, ultimately expanding the reach of your video

Bonus tip: Backtracking a bit here, a YouTube video should always have music in its intro to help introduce your channel to the audience.

That’s it! Now you know how to record a YouTube video. If you still have questions, don't hesitate to contact us. We’re happy to help.