The complete guide to YouTube

How to go about making a short movie

Rock-solid broadband connections and inexpensive digital camcorders make sharing your movie-making efforts an affordable pastime. At a pinch you can even use a digital camera that can record video clips, as well as stills.

Over the following pages we'll look at how to come up with ideas for your first attempts at film-making, showing you how to go about composing and storyboarding your short movie so it has impact and structure. We'll identify some of the clips -- on YouTube and elsewhere on the web -- that we think are worth a look because they contain great ideas, imagination or have been put together in a way you could do worse than emulate. We'll show you how easy it is to edit your embryonic movie using free or very low-cost software, designed to be easy and efficient to use. Finally, we'll show you how to share your handiwork on YouTube.

While you can get away with using a digital camera's video-capture option, or a webcam or mobile phone's video recording option, it's far more rewarding and straightforward to get yourself a proper camcorder. Having tried your hand at making and roughly editing your first clip, you're more likely to repeat the experience if your tools are up to the job.

Similarly, while you can buy analogue-based video cameras, the few pounds you save will prove a false economy when you spend many frustrating hours attempting to transfer your footage to your PC. Instead, buy a Mini DV camera. Prices start around the $400 mark.

While advanced camcorders such as ProDV and HD (high-definition) are becoming more readily available, the compression you will need to prepare your footage for online distribution makes the extra expense irrelevant. For transferring video, the easiest way to do this is via FireWire -- which is built-in to most camcorders, but not always on PCs. You may need to install a FireWire card.

The most common movie formats are Mpeg, WMV -- both play in Windows Media Player -- and QuickTime, for which you will need to install Apple's free software. Mpeg is the most widely used, Mpeg2 being the format for DVD, while Mpeg4 offers greater compression for online video. However, even these formats can cover a number of codecs -- a coder/decoder that compresses and then decompresses your video. Use the wrong one and few people will be able to see your work, so stick to commonly used formats such as Mpeg4.

Finally, to avoid future frustrations, ensure your PC is up to the task of editing video. Current CPUs can handle video editing fairly easily, but real-time Mpeg encoding benefits from the fastest single or dual-core AMD and Intel processors. You will need masses of RAM and as much hard disk space as you can muster.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Rosemary Haworth

PC Advisor (UK)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?