Let's say you want to make a music video for your band. After coming up with a great concept, shooting all the angles with a digital camcorder, "logging and capturing," or importing, the footage onto a computer and painstakingly editing the video, you're ready to share your vision with the YouTube community. Where do you begin?
You'll want to keep in mind the type of file. YouTube accepts many different types of video files, including .avi, .mov, .wmv and .mpg formats, so remember that when you're editing and saving clips. YouTube recommends the .mpg format MPEG-4 with MP3 audio. You'll also have to think about the size of the file and the length of the video. If your band really likes to kick out the jams with 15-minute drum solos, you're out of luck with YouTube -- videos longer than 10 minutes won't upload. If you're using the standard Single File Uploader, files can be no larger than 2 GB. (There's a way to upload larger, better-quality files, which we'll talk about later.)
Anyone who wants to add a video to YouTube needs to sign up for an account and create a profile. Fortunately, it's free and fairly simple to do. You have to provide the typical account information: e-mail address, username and password, country and postal code, gender and date of birth. There are also five different types of accounts from which to choose: Standard, Director, Musician, Comedian and Guru. A standard account is for people who share their footage for fun, and it lets you upload videos, share them with other members and post comments. The other four types are geared toward users with special interests and allow for more customization. You can even choose a logo or create your own.
A Director account is for serious filmmakers, such as someone with a production company or a young, aspiring director who wants to get noticed. Musician and Comedian accounts are for, of course, musicians and comedians who want to post their original material and share it with other YouTubers. These accounts also allow users to access genre, style and tour information, along with links that lead to artist CDs. A Guru account is for any other kind of specialist -- everyone including professional chefs, jugglers and wine experts can create their own accounts and sound off their views and show off their expertise.
Once your account is set up, all you have to do is click on the yellow "Upload" button that's on the top right-hand corner of every YouTube page. On the Video Upload page, you enter as much information as you can about your file -- the title, a description, the category and any tags (keywords to help people find your video in a search) are required fields. You can also choose to make the video public or private, record the date and location of the recording and customize how the video is shared (whether or not people can leave comments, voting and embedding options and so forth).
After you fill everything out, click on "Upload a video" on the bottom, and you'll go to a second page. Click "Browse …" and select the appropriate file, then upload your video. Depending on the file size, it could take a couple of minutes to an hour for the file to successfully upload.
Do you have to have a camcorder and computer to upload a video, or are there other ways? And is there a way to get around the file size restrictions? To find out, read the next page.