Creating great online youtube content

Hey everyone,

I’m trying to come up with a decent set up (sub $250) for creating video content for streaming and online videos. Does anyone have experience and what are your favorite tools? I’m looking for recommendations on the following

  • editing software (free is great but doesn’t have to be) (currently using lightworks)
  • microphones and or audio strategies
  • Camera’s and or camera strategies (Highest frame rates for lowest dollars) (currently using logitech y-u0017 C910)
  • ways to do cool effects (drawing on screen would be ideal)

The plan is to do a lot of screen casting and also a fair amount of on site audio / video to record machinery (will have laptop on site)

The target end platform is youtube but always willing to hear opinions on other platforms.

Also link us to content you’ve made I would love to learn from you.

Thanks everyone!

I’d suggest reaching out to RETN / VCAM at the Media Factory. They could probably give you some advice. Ross Ransom could probably connect you with someone if he doesn’t have an answer for you.


My latest experiment has been with two commonly used tools for video or movies that I think would upload to YouTube. As you know the channel allows you to customize to a certain degree before publishing.

That said, I am too cheap to upgrade my computer so I don’t even have Word. Also google has been offering many new options I would fully explore before purchasing anything.

Word research I found and would use for my art slide show is create PowerPoint in current version and then it should allow you to make that into a movie for YouTube.

That’s all I have and thanks for such a great question.

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It seems like you’re asking a couple of different questions here Matt, so its hard to give a you a perfectly straight answer without finding out more of what you’d like to do. There are a variety of tools and hardware you can use, but not all may be necessary depending on what your focus is.

Lightworks is fine as a video editor, but I would encourage you to do as little editing as possible. I’ll get back to that later. Most everyone I know uses Adobe Premiere, but it doesn’t do anything that Lightworks couldn’t accomplish for this task.

One of the best USB microphones I ever bought was the Yeti by Blue. It’s looks a little dumb and it doesn’t mount terribly well, but the quality is incredible for $130 (the nano which has similar guts is only $99). It has multiple microphone patterns that make it rather versatile when needing to record both directional and omnidirectional audio. It’s the best sounding, affordable, plug n’ play mic I know of… everything that competes starts around $300+.

The Logitech C910 is a decent Webcam. The focus can be a little finicky with some shots, but most of the auto features can be disabled via software. I’ve picked up 2 or 3 along the way and have never had a problem with them. There really isn’t much point of getting a 4k camera. The overhead compared to 1080p isn’t really worth it unless detail is paramount (even still it doesn’t make much sense for streaming).

Alright… now lets talk about your workflow. Are you planning on truly “streaming”? Or are you planning on recording everything, editing it, and then uploading it? There are a variety of options between the two, but I would encourage you to adopt as little post-production as possible. The people I know who are the most successful at this spend very little time in post-production. It’s a real time suck (I know, I do it for a living). Focus on minimal edits… throw some branding on the head and tail, done.

You should really take a look at OBS is you haven’t already. It’s free and unbelievably powerful. You can set up multiple cameras (USB, IP, etc), microphones, full screen capture (or individual app windows). It’s a beautiful real-time octopus that can communicate over just about any protocol. You can then setup “Scenes” within OBS to switch between inputs, control transitions etc. It has the option to send the stream directly to Youtube or record it locally for further post.

If you’re interested in digging a little deeper. You might look into a dedicated H264 hardware encoder. It converts a video stream from HDMI to RTSP (Real Time Streaming Protocol). This can be helpful if you’re looking to offload some of the work from your computer to a dedicated device or need something running 24/7. I suggested it to Generator some time back as an option for streaming classes or meet ups (even have a box I offered to let them try out), but it fell on deaf ears.

Feel free to hit me up if you have any more questions.



Hey All,

Thanks so much for the great feedback, Also Mike, wow thanks for such a detailed response.

I am looking to consider both streaming and video editing with this setup and do understand they are relatively dis-similar setups and appreciate that you were thinking about both angles there.

We have used OBS in the office and really like it as a software. I can see elements of it in lots of video content now. Like the person green screened or shown in a small box in front of their screen cast videos. I was definitely looking for that.

Also the Blue shows up in nearly every youtuber “how i did this video”. the blue’s sound is really superior from what I can tell.
I was also looking at the Rode video micro to get some on site versatility as kind of a hybrid Lavalier mic (coupled with a bluetooth 5 ready Taotronics)

I am definitely hearing your advice about post processing. I love the look and feel of highly post processed videos like “Old Tony” so I am trying to get lean in that direction without creating a whole new career for myself.

Thanks much

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Cool question, great answers.
I can’t add anything technical, but, as Michael said, there is the other question of who you’re making these videos for. Youtube is obvious, but even I have watched people coding on twitch (I know, I’m old. I find twitch useful while simultaneously striking me like fingernails on chalkboards (remember that sound?) ). There are places like udemy where you can sell your courses. I know a couple folks who regularly get views by posting videos to linkedIn. So there are lots of places but the where would depend on the who and the why.


Hey all,

Specifically the content would be consumed by Generator members and folks taking classes at Generator. My goal here is to make an example online class (of the Roland MDX 40a - 4 axis cnc certification) for Generator to help our organization get into the online education scene, which I believe that Generator sorely needs. It’s an experiment for everyone involved (Generator and myself) so I am not making any claims at this post, but the idea would be to transition the certification class that I currently teach to be completely remote method. This would will mean edited video content, google form style testing, streaming, and definitely video conferencing. It would be a google classroom framework, IE: hangouts(or meetings whatever), YouTube and docs, sheets, forms, calendar etc.

I would really like to make sure the content is entertaining and fun to watch. That’s my main goal with the experiment. So therefore I’m trying to reduce student fatigue in any way I can, with a small budget so that the process can be replicated by other teachers looking to do the same.


With that type of direction maybe it is time to revisit Mike’s idea about actually getting that type of equipment at the Generator. It is a tough time to do a member build but we could get everything staged for our return to making when the Generator opens back up again.

@Mike_Senften did you ever submit a request or was it a vocal campaign? If you have a build for a portable studio is it something you could share/put into a member build request?

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@Matt_Flego I actually have that Rhodes mic if you’d like to borrow it to see if it works out for you. I know it’s not that expensive, but the offer is there if you’d like to test it out.

This Old Tony is actually a really good Case Study for recording process videos. He’s been around for a long time so you can see the arc in the quality of his content. That was definitely not what I had in my head when I was recommending hardware before… the prior list was geared towards head on “in front of a computer monitor” type broadcasts. He’s one of the few people that keeps his mug out of the frame.

The good news is that he still doesn’t do much post production (a few light edits and diagrams, speed cuts, etc), but the bad news is that I don’t think you will be able to get today’s This Old Tony quality with a webcam. His shots are so sexy because he’s working at a relatively small scale (1-2 sq ft) that are shot with lenses that give him great Depth of field and rich color. He’s definitely taking the time to light his shots. They always have a nice even wash and the a strong directional highlight. You never see shadow obstructions.

I am not a serious photographer or videographer, but I occasionally do need something better than a phone and didn’t really want to spend more than a $1k on a camera. I picked up a Panasonic Lumix GX9 about a year ago for around $800 and definitely recommend it (which you’re also welcome to borrow). Because it’s a micro 4/3rds camera everything is a little smaller which makes lenses considerably cheaper than those of full frame cameras. If you’d like to match the quality of those sweet macro shots Tony has… you’re probably going to need to use something comparable. If that’s not possible… just be prepared to look like his early videos.

We also didn’t discuss lighting the first time around but it’s an essential part of photography. Unless you have some sweet natural light in your studio (skylights and full walls of windows are awesome) you’re probably going to want to get something to model the space you’re working with. It makes all the difference.

His audio is incredible as well, but it has more to do with how neutral his room tone is. It’s almost impossible to get all the hum and ambient noise out of a room. He may actually be using some post processing there, because it’s just really hard to get that clarity of silence (especially in a shop).

Some last things to consider about This Old Tony is that he makes it look pretty effortless, but I don’t imagine it is. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to be on a film set, an overwhelming amount of it is spent rigging an moving everything. It may take an hour to set up a scene that takes 1 minute to shoot.

That would be something awesome to avoid. Ideally you might have 2 or 3 key places with permanent setups that didn’t have to change much and you could bounce between them like Mr. Rogers. If that was 90% of your content it would make it really easy to focus your energy there and fill it in with a few specialty shots.


@Gary I’d be happy to offer any assistance I can, but it all depends on what we’re trying to make. What I was trying to accomplish then probably doesn’t make sense now.

I wasn’t looking for money or assistance from Generator so I did not fill out a request for a member build. I had simply offered to donate my time and hardware to make it happen.

I was hoping to kickstart the digital side of Generator and teach 3D classes when I first joined, but the learning lab was in a sorry state (the horseshoe of sadness) and I reached out to Chris and Elliot to change it.

After setting up a proper classroom the goal was to have a dedicated instructor’s machine in the front corner that would feed to the projector for the class. We would then use a webcam that would capture the instructor and use OBS or a hardware encoder to do a Picture in Picture of them together and have it either write to a server or stream directly to youtube (or both).

This was a good idea to me at the time, because if you were already teaching a class then it’s really a matter of hitting a few buttons to record and stream it. The goal was to slowly build up Generator’s media archive by using classes that were already in progress. The drawback is that it’s really only useful for digital classes that are relying on computers and screens and such. That didn’t bother me at the time, because I figured it was the easiest place to start. If we could figure it out there then we could start expanding out to the other shops.

But this setup doesn’t sound helpful at all anymore. We’d never want to fill that classroom for the foreseeable future. Everything has shifted. Generator isn’t teaching classes anymore… so what’s the goal now? Build something at Generator? Do a build of a cheap setup and show people how to source the hardware and build it at home? Nothing from that stream was going to be edited or polished, which is one of the goals Matt seemed to have when he started this thread (and something that I agree is important).

Without knowing the future of what’s going on at Generator or consistent member meetings it’s hard to get a sense of what people need.

@Matt_Flego Since you seem to have a pretty clear picture of what you want to do, maybe I can offer to help you directly. I just wrapped my last gig and have several weeks of free time on the horizon. Perhaps we’ll discover something we can bring back to the group while things are still getting sorted out.

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Hey All,

@Mike_Senften Thank you for including pictures in your posts. I think that goes a long way to getting someone to read a post on this forum.

Here is a picture of the blue yeti and nano side by side.

And a picture of the Rode video micro. - I actually just went ahead an purchased this one based on some reviews that I just read and the price.

This is the Taotronics which im hoping to use as a bluetooth transmitter for the Rode

Also wasn’t super aware of the effort to use OBS in order to stream teaching sessions. I think that this is definitely a great a idea for a pre or post COVID scenario. Currently I’ll definitely be working on this cheap set up, would love to keep everyone updated and @Mike_Senften I would love some help with OBS and dissecting / reverse engineering some examples of content. Thank you for the offer.

Matt Flego

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Hi All,

I am listening and would like to see a final list of equipment that will support making quality videos for tool trainings and will support members in their work/product development. Please keep us posted on a quote.


The where is a great clarifying point. There is Outschool