When you’re starting out making videos, there are things you will need to produce high-quality content be it for scripting, editing, music, thumbnails, and so on, and some can be quiiite pricey. But they don’t have to be, and here I’ve gathered together the best free and cheap services for anything you may possibly need.
Starting with script-writing, for the more formal videos from sketches to short films. The main free ones are Celtx (Seltx? KeltX?) which has free and subscription versions and is actually really simple and intuitive to use but requires an internet connection for PC, and Trelby, which is totally free and while it may have less functionality, does have an unbelievably small file size. If you don’t require properly formatted scripts you can obviously use Microsoft Word or the free Google Docs, both of which have mobile versions. And lastly the best note-taking apps for jotting down ideas and bullet-pointing topics are the incredibly simple Google Keep which I use, and the more complex and in-depth Evernote and Microsoft Onenote.
For any gaming channels out there (first off, very original idea… hahaha although who am I to talk), you’ll want a screen capture…er. The widely-used free one is Camstudio. Windows 10 also has its own “Game bar” built in (hold the windows key + G). I haven’t tried these, but if they aren’t your bag you’ll want Fraps for £25.
Video Editing Software
Once you’ve thought up, written, and shot your content, you’ll need to edit it. Believe it or not this doesn’t have to be too expensive. In fact for basic edits, like vlogs, it’s free if you try PowerDirector 365. Movie Maker is a very capable piece of editing software. Then there’s your other free option, the YouTube editor! This is for uploading to YouTube only, and is actually browser based – no download required!
For higher-quality edits, you may have to splash out a little for one of the main consumer products, namely Sony Movie Studio, Adobe Premiere Elements, and Powerdirector, all of which should cost less than £50 if you wait for one of their fairly regular sales. In fact, I got Premiere Elements and Photoshop Elements for £35 in a Black Friday sale!
Photo Editing for Thumbnails
Moving swiftly onto photo editing, be it for making pretty thumbnails (don’t underestimate the importance of those) or for use in your dank meme compilations. Costing nothing and preinstalled on Windows systems is Microsoft Paint, but since that is absolutely rubbish, I highly recommend the widely- used Paint .net – that’s just its name, the web address is getpaint.net. It has lots more features and seems pretty lightweight. If you’d prefer not to download anything don’t worry, because there are a handful of great browser-based editors like Befunky, Picmonkey, and Fotor, all of which make collages too for thumbnails and are also good for making channel art (2560*1440 px), and I use a combination of them. And lastly there’s Pixlr, which, doesn’t, do, all, that. BUT it is really in depth.
Now remember you’ll need music to put behind your dialogue to help cover up any awkward silences, and if you want to be able to monetise your videos and not have them removed or worse, you’re gonna have to either sing the songs yourself, or get some royalty free music. The websites where you can get songs for the grand total of £0 are incompetech.com and the YouTube Audio Library, which give you plenty to choose from. The Youtube audio library has sound effects, too. If you’ve no idea where to start, may I suggest you search for Kevin Macleod, as you’ve probably heard his songs used lots on YouTube before.
That’s the main tools out of the way, but some other handy tools that’ll help a great deal are image compressors, because remember, thumbnails for YouTube must be under 2MB. For this you have very quick and simple sites like tinypng.com for PNG images and compress jpeg.com for JPEGs – very creative names aren’t they? For sharing your content, to make it look neat you can use a link shortener which gives you a, well, shorter link that doesn’t take up a whole page. The big ones are Bitly and Google URL Shortener.
And lastly some helpful places for you to visit. A place I’ve genuinely found very informative for all aspects of content creation is the YouTube Creator Hub, from which you can access the YouTube Creator Academy which has lessons on anything you could ever want from lighting to branding to sound effects. And finally, this is the last thing, I cannot recommend highly enough that you join a community which I promise will make creating videos just the whole experience way more fun. The three I’ve come across are the Google Plus Communities YouTube Creators and YouTube Creator Academy, both of which are very similar. But by a country mile the best is the YouTube Talk, or YT Talk, forum, which is incredibly fun for tips and direct advice from very friendly people, and for me YT Talk cannot get enough publicity.
Anyway, there you have it they are the best free or cheap script, word-processing, and note-taking softwares, video and photo editors, music libraries, handy tools, educative resources and social sites that I can find. I hope you found this useful, and thank you for reading.