I posted my first video on YouTube last week! Here are ten lessons that I thought I would share with you if you’re thinking about starting a channel of your own. I have links to the software that I use at the end of the post.

If you’re curious to see my channel, here’s a direct link to it: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC040CHFI_6iNtwUrD6ydXfg

Lesson 1: There’s free video editing software!

I was deciding between Lightworks, Hitfilm, and Shotcut. I chose Shotcut because the learning curve was supposedly a lot easier to take on. I was almost suckered into purchasing an Adobe Premiere Pro subscription, but for my basic needs, Shotcut does all the basic tasks.


Lesson 2: EVERYTHING is on the internet.

Youtube is an amazing library of information. For 99% of my questions, I can type it into YouTube and there’s a 5-minute video explaining how to do it (plus keyboard shortcuts). Realizing that I didn’t need to know the ‘technically correct term’ for describing my issues gave me a lot more incentive to learn video editing on my own.

Any question that I couldn’t find on YouTube was easily found with a quick google search to Shotcut’s forums or reddit.


Lessor 3: Save often. Save smart.

Name your files something that will make sense to you in the future. I like to save a new revision after every half an hour of editing. In case I change my mind about clips that I deleted, I’m not wasting a lot of rework. You can always delete the temp files when you’re satisfied with your video.


Lesson 4: Editing is the easy part.

Waiting for it to render is like being in the 6th circle of hell. I built my computer last year. I naïvely thought that rendering video was going to be a piece of cake. I basically spent the past 15 minutes staring at the progress bar, and then decided to do something useful and make this list. While your videos are exporting, find other things to do to keep yourself productive.


Lesson 5: Everything takes time.

I knew going into this that editing was going to take long. But you don’t realize it until you’ve watched 2 hours of footage and realized that you’re not even close to the halfway mark. Find a good Spotify or Pandora station to help you zone out because the majority of editing is just brute force work of clipping all the blurry/deadspace/mistakes to get your video clean. I heard that a good rule of thumb is that for every 10 minute video, it will take anywhere from 4-8 hours of editing. My first video was well over 8 hours of editing since I had to learn the software as well.


Lesson 6: Copy what you like from successful channels.

Find a channel that creates the type of videos that you want to make. I want to make an art channel. So, I found several art channels on YouTube. Once you’re in the mindset of a video editor, you’ll be amazed at what you’ll pick up as an “editor” verses a passive “viewer”. One of the things I immediately noticed is that I prefer watching videos where there are fade-out transitions between separate clips instead of abrupt cuts.


Lesson 7: Film more than you need to.

It’s better to film extra in one sitting, rather than having to go back and film additional footage.


Lesson 8: Focus on your content.

Your video does not need to be a 5-star professional production to communicate effectively and be enjoyable to watch. Animations and sound effects might be fun and neat, but they’re just little decorations for your main content. If you have your video with decent lighting and in focus, you’re already halfway there to a great video.


Lesson 9: Templates!

Have a template for your thumbnails, your intro scene, your credits. It’ll save you a lot of time in the end.


Lesson 10: Make videos of what you want to do.

Yes, filming takes time. Yes, editing takes even more time. So, make videos of topics that you honestly love. If you’re finding that you’re trying to chase what’s popular or trending, it’s going to feel like work instead of fun. For the amount of time that you need to produce one 10-minute video, make sure that you really want to do it.


Here are the links to software that I use. The software is free and open source.

Shotcut (video editing): https://www.shotcut.org/download/

OBS Studio (screen recording): https://obsproject.com/

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