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!

Or

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

Essentials

Brother MFC-L3745CDW Colour Laser Multifunction

Learn more >

Mobile

Exec

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?