YouTube Basics – Uploading Your First Video

There is no better time to become a content creator. And there’s no better platform to create content on than YouTube. With over 2 billion monthly user logins worldwide, it is one of the most visited websites worldwide. If you’ve ever watched a YouTube video and thought, “I could do this…” good news – you can! We’re going to start from the beginning and give you the essential information you need to start your very own YouTube channel!

Create an Account

Anyone who has a Google account can activate their YouTube account with just a few clicks. To create an account, go to the Sign-Up page found here. It’s free, so you won’t have any out-of-pocket costs for signing up.

We would suggest that you create a separate Gmail account for your channel because YouTube channels tend to be a target for hackers and a separate account limits the risk of losing personal information to hackers.

Once you’ve created your account properly, it’s time to take a few things into consideration.

Hitting the Record Button

The record button highlighted in the OBS (Open Broadcasting Software) interface.
OBS (Open Broadcasting Software) is a great program for both streamers and video creators. It’s one of the easiest ways to capture gameplay footage as well as other scenes you may need for your videos.

Intro to OBS and Recording

Programs like Open Broadcasting Software (OBS) and similar software where you can livestream or record your content are a great place to start because of the ability to ‘assemble’ different sources of content into a single video. You can capture footage, overlay a graphic, and even insert your webcam as a ‘picture in picture’ to show your reactions if you are recording gameplay.

To install OBS, visit and download the appropriate application for your operating system. Install the file that downloads and restart your computer to finalize the installation. Once you open OBS, it can be a bit intimidating – there’s a blank slate of sources, scenes, and plenty of other options which we will be covering in a future article soon!

If you already stream, chances are you are using a program like OBS. You can use a lot of the same visuals you have saved like camera frames and graphics from your stream for recording as well. Simply hit [Start Recording] and you can save your video to a file without going live on your stream. 

Adding a Scene & Source

In OBS, your video is organized into scenes and sources. A source is any sort of asset you add to your video, like your game capture, your webcam, or graphics. A scene is a collection of sources compiled together to complete the whole picture.

Adding a game camera source in OBS
Adding a game camera source in OBS (Step 1)

To add a source, make sure whatever you want to capture is active (in this case, we’ll add a game capture, so make sure the game is running), click on the + button at the bottom of the ‘Sources’ window. Several options will pop up. Select the “Game Capture” option. Name your option in the dialog box that pops up next.

You may have to play around with the options, but I typically choose these:

Mode: Capture specific window
Window: There will only be a few options here, so you should be able to find it quickly.

Adding a game camera source in OBS
Adding a game camera source in OBS (Step 2)

Everything else is left as default. If that works, you should see the game footage pop up on your main preview screen. Adjust the position by using the red resizing reticles.

Setting up a webcam

If you want to add a camera source, it’s very similar to adding a game capture. Click on the + button at the bottom of Sources, and select “Video Capture”. Give your source a name and accept. Your “Device” will be where you select your camera source. The rest of the options can be left as default. If you see yourself in the added source, congrats – things are working as expected! Resize and place your webcam over the game capture in a way that still allows you to see the game behind it.

Adding a video camera source in OBS
Adding a video camera source in OBS

Recording + Editing

Once your desired content is recorded, you can choose to edit the raw footage down to shorter, easily consumable duration prior to uploading it to YouTube. There are both paid and free options, but here are some of the most popular:

  • Adobe Premiere Pro (paid)
  • Final Cut Pro (paid)
  • iMovie (free if you have a Mac)
  • DaVinci Resolve (free)
  • Avidemux (free)

Uploading The Video

The YouTube upload screen; the place you upload a new video to YouTube
The YouTube upload screen.

Congrats! You’ve recorded your first video! However we’re not done yet, because now you have to upload the video and set up all of the ‘meta’ information surrounding it.

To begin the uploading process, simply go to your YouTube Studio page on your channel, click the “Create” button at the top-right of the page, and choose “Upload Videos” from the drop-down menu. From here, you’ll choose your video file from your computer and begin entering the details regarding your upload.

One of the most important things you can do for a video is to come up with an engaging title. Think about the specific things you want people to find your video for, and make sure to include them in your video title. If you are having trouble, look at other similar videos in your niche:

  • What did they title it?
  • What buzzwords did they use?
  • How can you create a similar title with similar buzzwords?
  • How does your title relate to your thumbnail?
Title and Description fields

Besides the ‘human’ visitors, you’ll also have algorithms looking at your content – processes looking for search engine optimized content (SEO) as well as your tag structure. Your description should be readable for a human, but have all of the information an algorithm would need to properly show your video in the right search results. Write a highly detailed paragraph, and make sure to include any other relevant information like social media links, any music/image attributions, and further information related to the uploaded content.

Video tags for SEO purposes

Finally, consider the video tags which greatly assist discoverability and SEO algorithms. You want to make sure your tags cover not only things you’ve said in your video, but also ‘context clues’ to help the algorithms associate your content with the right audience. Make sure your highest tags are the ones that are the most relevant and make sure to include your channel name in the search terms as well.

Publication options including privacy settings and scheduling the upload.

In the end, creating content on YouTube is all about finding the formula that works for your channel.  It’s about finding your niche and making engaging content. After taking these first steps, you’re already on your way to becoming a successful content creator on YouTube!

About the Author

CMDR Mitchcraft

CMDR MitchCraft is the SolarStream project manager by day, streamer / content creator by day, writer by day ... seriously there needs to be more hours in the day. You can find him on Twitch at or several other places.

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