Post-production tips for Youtubers
How important is post-production to the success of a Youtube channel? What editing style is right for your channel? Which post-production tips should you apply right away?
Every Youtube creator faces these questions. To find answers, we looked at the most successful channels on Youtube, to see how they deal with post-production. Here is what we learned.
Trend towards higher post-production value
Over the summer, Youtube's fastest growing channels gained 100M subscribers! They must be doing something right. Let's have a look at their post-production choices.
Off the bat, we see that a majority of successful channels engage in advanced post-production (creative editing & high-end editing). You can still do very well with basic editing (eg. PewDiePie, Jenna Marbles...), but none of those channels makes completely "uncut" videos. When building out a channel uncut dosen't cut it anymore.
60% of Youtube's 100 fastest-growing channels use advanced post-production
The tides have turned, Youtube channels are getting more sophisticated and post-production is increasingly important to gain subs. Let's now look at some post-production styles, and some practical tips.
Post-production styles on Youtube
Here are some of the more frequent editing styles on Youtube.
Basic editing: the raw footage speaks for itself
Creative editing: the video comes to life in post
High-end editing: state-of-the-art techniques/tools for polished/glossy output
What type of "post-prod" is right for you? Some tips & guidelines
Your editing choices are driven by the type of video you are making. If you make daily game commentaries, there isnt much time left for editing, and your audience wants to preview gameplay, so basic editing makes sense. Here's a few tips – informed from our research & experience – for those times that creative editing does matter.
Tip #1: for music videos, edit for visual stunningness
Looking at the top 100 Music channels, you'll immediately see that they all have very high post-production standards. It's in great part due to all these VEVO stars and their bigger budgets (the MTV-ization of Youtube...). Whatever the reason, it has become a reality for all musicians that music videos on Youtube should look polished and visually striking.
Take a look at Tiffany Alvord's videos when she started and now. She recalls:
"doing a cover in your room was good enough and everyone loved that. Then slowly, everybody started doing more professional videos and now you have to be really competitive to keep up. Right now it would be really hard to start out in your room singing."
Practically, this means synchronizing footage from multiple HD cameras, adding subtle visual FX (classy light leaks, easy on the film burn), and advanced color grading to get visual consistency throughout. The work of pros. The good news is that it is also getting easier to find great post-production artists to help you, and this kind of quality is now accessible - browse video editor profiles
Tip #2: for comedy videos, integrate creative editing techniques
Ray William Johnson was already pretty hilarious when he started in 2006 without much post prod. And over the years he and his team (Justin Johns is the editor) have aptly adopted motion graphics & visual FX to blend in with their style.
Tip #3: for sports videos, make the most of HD and high FPS in post
With GoPro3 and the iPhone 5s, we are seeing more and more high quality slow motion footage, and it's opening a whole new field of post-production for all of us to explore.
Tip #4: vary your editing style to keep things interesting
In three of her recent videos Michelle Phan goes for different post-production styles, different typography and different illustrations, in each one, some with motion graphics, some with visual FX, some more classic.
Tip #5: add pace through fast jump cuts, or cropped frames
Without going as far as Holasoygerman or lady16makeup, it's safe to say that Youtube audiences have a high tolerance for fast cuts, and have even grown to expect them. So know when to break the laws of continuity-editing and consider some jump cuts to build pace.
Better yet, cut to a view from a second camera, or used cropped frames if you only have one camera. Cropped frames is a trick where we create seemingly 2 different views from the same shot, one view is the original (eg. filmed in 1080) and the other is a zoomed in view (eg. zoomed to 720p), and we cut from one to the other.
Tip #6: get some custom titles/transitions made
Many a youtube star has developed his/her own visual identity through custom titles and illustrations. For example RWJ, Michelle Phan,... You should get your own animations, it's not hard and can be re-used across videos. There are libraries of templates that makes this more approachable: TFT or Videohive"
But the best is to talk to pro Motion Designers. Most will be happy to help out and you'll be guaranteed a unique look consistent with the rest of your videos. BTW, we have a list of top notch motion designers you can browse.
Tip #7: pick a cool typography, and animate it subtly
Similarly, adding text to your videos is quite easy, but it's imperative that the fonts are aesthetically correct. Too often we see old times new roman font creep up into some video and ruin it. Go to sites like www.dafont.com for inspiration. And because we are making videos, consider tracking the text to some points on the image using After Effects or Motion
Tip #8: design a slick animated outro
This deserves a separate article just about "Outros". For now have a look at Troye Sivan for an interesting outro example. Also we'll check the comments if you have suggestions (we'll credit you in the next article ;-)
Tip #9: collaborate with post-production pros
Unless you are already a post production expert, it would be a shame to limit your creativity to just what you conceive as feasible. Discuss your show ideas with post-production experts, get feedback and open new creative horizons.