Welcome to our series about how to make videos & use YouTube! After many requests and lots of phone calls and emails about the hows, whys, and whats of YouTube, I decided it would be best to create a resource that anyone can use. Yes, YouTube has alot of resources and there are tons of videos about how to, why to, and when to use YouTube. But I will approach it from the perspective of a crafter, an indie business owner, a small business, a one-woman-show, and a busy mom. I face many of the same challenges you do in making videos. Over the next few weeks we will be talking about how to make videos, upload them to YouTube and ways to get more views on your channel as well as WHY we make the recommendations that we do.

Shooting Your First Video

So you have your equipment and software in order and now you think you are ready to shoot a well-produced, seamless, 30 minute tutorial video. Well, you're not.

I made some mistakes when I started making videos. Anyone who is on YouTube will admit to you (if they are “real”) that they made mistakes and learned from them. My job here is to help you avoid making mistakes. That said, you will make mistakes and it is a-ok. Have you seen some of the videos out there? The bar is a little low in my opinion so give yourself a break if you flubb up or make a mistake or two. It took me a year to realize I really ought to start wearing makeup when I am on camera–otherwise I look really sick and old!!

The kind of mistakes I want to help you avoid are the kind where you record 2 hours of video for a really cool tutorial you did with resin and wire and gesso only to discover the camera was out of focus, your lighting was bad, your microphone picked up the neighbor's dog barking, your voice sounds raspy, half of your tutorial was “off-screen” because you were working on the wrong part of your table, your shirt is tucked into your pants all funny and your butt looks huge…yes, all of these things have happened to me. And wouldn't it be nice if you can avoid them happening to you?!

Here is what I suggest you do this week:

  • Make a Welcome Video
  • Do some short test videos

There are several reasons I suggest these tasks first:

  • Your channel needs a welcome video. People want to see who you are and find out what your Channel is about. If they are too lazy to read your “about” section (which they are) this video is a way for you to capture their attention AND get your view numbers up and get them to subscribe.
  • Test videos and the welcome video will get you using your editing software, learning where and how to adjust your lighting, learning you need to shoot video after the school buses leave so the dog isn't barking next door, figure out which space on your table is the best place for you to work so all is captured on video, and more.
  • If you mess these up, no big deal!
  • You'll learn confidence in front of the camera and how to say “um” less (because you don't want to keep editing out 100s of “um”s per minute).

Making a Welcome Video

  1. Write a Script of what you want to sayWelcopme-to-our-channel-THUMBNAIL
  2. Do your makeup, hair, whatever and wear a nice shirt.
  3. Be sure to include who you are, what your channel is about, and let your personality show.
  4. Rehearse the script — this needs to flow smoothly. The more you say “um” and pause, the more editing you need to do.
  5. Make sure whatever is in the background compliments your channel. Unless your blog is about college dorm life, no one wants to see your bed with plies of dirty clothes in the background of your video. A crafter should have crafty things in the background, a home decor blogger should do the video in their newly decorated living room, and a hiker and nature enthusiast should do an on-location video at their fave hiking spot.
  6. Use a tripod for your camera. Find someone about the same height as you to be a stand in while you position and focus the camera. If the other person is tall, have them squat down to about your height if you are short (like me). This way to can make sure the focus is on the person and the stuff in the background is positioned nicely in the frame.
  7. Shoot the video at least 5 times. You can edit things together but if you can run through your script by memory with alot of pauses or stumbles, that is less editing you have to do on the back end. We're not wasting film with digital video so do as many takes as you need to get it perfect.
  8. Keep it to under 1 minute. No one wants to hear you drone on and on – they need to know quickly what your channel is about and then they will want to get to your videos.
  9. Check out other channels to see what they have done for their Welcome Videos.
  10. Add a thumbnail to your video, to let people know, at a glance, what it is about. To enable thumbnails on your videos, you will need to become a YouTube Partner by Enabling Your Account for monetization.

Here is my Welcome Video:

Yes, it could be better — but it is a start. And in a few months, I will re-shoot it again. You can always change things on your channel — it is YOUR channel!!! So don't freak out if you are overweight or your braces make your mouth move crazy while you talk or your kids are photo-bombing your video. Perfection is impossible – we're just aiming near it.

This video should be easy to edit — you probably just have to trim a little off the front and back end. We will get into editing next week. This week, you just need to SHOOT the footage, set up your account, get it Monetized so you can be a YT Partner and add thumbnails to your account.  Click here for more info: http://www.youtube.com/yt/about/getting-started.html I also cover this in-depth in my “Social Marketing for Crafters” course at MyCreativeClassroom.com starting on July 24th.


Filming Short Test Videos

When I say to film test videos, these are not vids that you are going to trash if we can help it. If they are any good, they should be something you can use on your YouTube channel. Here are some ideas of what to film:

  • Show a finished project and describe how you made it
  • Show one of your favorite tools or media to work with and tell your followers why you recommend it
  • Do a short tour of your craft space
  • Do a tour of what is on your craft table
  • “Haul” video — sharing what you just got on a  recent shopping trip.
  • Share a quick tip or technique – something you don't have to take more than 15 seconds to demonstrate
  • Don't go over 2 minutes — keep it short and sweet

Take notes about each take and the changes you make. For example: “Take 1, lighting from right and left, 4 feet from tabletop”. This way, when you review the takes on your computer, you can compare the differences and choose the lighting and positioning combo that works the best.

Here is an example of a Haul Video:

And one more Haul Video, one of my first!

Shhh, I think Haul Videos are silly but guess what? They get TONS of views!!! And that can get you more followers so embrace the Haul!

Your assignment this week:

Shoot some test video and a welcome video, following the guidelines above. Be sure to refer to the YouTube Creator Playbook – this will help you get started with YouTube as well.



Happy YouTubing,



Author: Jennifer Priest

It started with jewelry, beading, sewing, home decor, painting, basket weaving, pottery, and cross-stitch. Marry that to an entrepreneurial spirit & at 9 years old a girl is selling her wares at craft fairs as far as her parents and grandparents would drive her. These days, Jennifer enjoys crafts of all genres from sewing to scrapbooking to jewelry with a little dabbling in the mixed media world. Her style is approachable and she wants everyone who sees her work to feel that they too can embrace creativity and make their home and life beautiful.

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