This post is taken from the forums, but I wanted to move it over to here and update it. Plus, I wrote it a few months back and never made it live for some reason.. so I updated it a little with new info and decided to make it live. FINALLY!
I wanted to show you how I make HD videos for YouTube and how you can cheat if you don’t have an HD camera.
First of all, I shoot with a Sony HVR-V1U which is an awesome camera. It’s a video camera that shoots in a form of compressed HD and can shoot in a format called 24p or 30p.. meaning that it can shoot video that looks like film. You can get it discounted at Amazon.
Be careful if you decide to buy this camera or another high-end video camera from retailers online. THERE IS A SCAM GOING ON.. and I write about it here.
Back to the camera. For HD, you can get by with any HD camera… I went with the more expensive camera, because it allows me to have a external microphone input so that I can be far from the camera, yet sound good. If the camera will be right in front of you, you can get by with a MUCH cheaper camera without an external mic input. Video camera manufacturers use the “extra mic input” as the deciding factor on how much they charge for the camera. External mic input = $1000-$2000 more in price!
If you can’t afford an HD camera, don’t worry, I’ll show you how to cheat, in a bit :-)
Now, I put the camera on a tripod, put the external mic in front of me, down low, so as not to be in the shot, turn the video screen around on the camera so that I can see it, then I record. You can see me in action recording here.
Once recorded, I bring the video footage into my Mac and edit in Final Cut Pro. You can edit in iMovie which is free on all Macs.. or use things like Sony Vegas on PCs.
Once edited, I then output the final product at 1280×720 size, h.264 video format at 3-4mbps and 128kbs aac audio.
The file sizes are large and take a while to compress.. but the results are well worth the wait.
Now.. I mentioned CHEATING! If you don’t have an HD camera, then go ahead and record with your regular DV camera, but put some black tape along the bottom 1/8th of the LCD screen and along the top 1/8th as a guide – as you are going to crop your video to make it look like it’s wide-screen.
When you have finished editing your video, then go ahead and compress it at the 1280×720 settings I have above, with the bottom 1/8th and top 1/8th of the screen cropped out prior to outputting it. It may be a little more than an 1/8th on each side. Just play around until you have something that looks right.
Then when you upload this 1280×720 video to YouTube, YouTube will think it’s an HD video and allow it to be played back in HD.
If you don’t like the final faux-HD look (it will not be as clear as real HD), then keep the crop and upload the video as 640×360 and you will get a nice looking widescreen video that will be a bit bigger than the 640×480 old-school format.
One final way to do faux HD is to do what iJustine did for a while before she got her HD camera. Shoot with a low res camera, no cropping, then put cute pics on the side to make the screen widescreen, then output the whole video, again, up-res’d to 1280×720 and voila, HD!
CHEAP HD CAMERAS
He uses the Canon camera to shoot his personal Vlog on YouTube in HD. The camera can be had for around $200. It’s great in that it also takes amazing still pictures, so it’s a good all around camera. A lot of other YouTubers use the Flip Mino HD camera to shoot their HD recordings. No still pics with the Flip, but great for recording video. It comes in a lot of flavors.
Now remember, these cheap alternatives DO NOT have an external mic input, so the audio will not be as good as the MUCH more expensive cameras with mic inputs!
The hottest selling HD camcorder that I know of that has an external mic input is the Canon HV30. You used to be able to get it for about $700… but I’m looking on Amazon and it is no longer made and going for over $1000!!! If you guys know of some inexpensive HD camcorders with external mic inputs please let me know below in the comments.
If you have any additional questions about things you want me to cover, please ask in the comments below.
Next up.. I can talk about how I edit if you guys are interested.