YouTube Dos and Don’ts
by Andrew Zielinski
Video Production Manager, Dealer Video Production
The human race has a stunning tendency to add more and more new words to its vast vocabulary; this trend has apparently become more active in the last decade than any before it. Among the most popular made-up phrases are verbs of the Internet age -- Googling, in many circles, has become one of the most common. Quickly rising over the horizon is one for Google’s child program and world-famous time killer, “YouTube-ing”.
On the Android market alone, the YouTube app has just north of 9 million downloads -- and counting. So if over 9 million people across the planet are using YouTube as their number one source of videos (and let’s be honest, who isn’t?), then for automotive sales professionals, it’s far beyond recommended that you post whatever business-related videos you can.
That being said, you have to be careful with how you use the platform, as it can be either your best friend or your worst enemy. Here are two of the biggest dos and don’ts when uploading your work to YouTube...
DO: Take Advantage of YouTube’s Editing Program
Let’s face it: it’s hard to make most cell phone footage look good. Even with the iPhone 6 and its unbelievable ability to capture 4k video footage (for those not film-savvy, 4k footage is pretty much the pinnacle of digital beauty), it’s still hard to make any ordinary video visually appealing. Shakiness, poor lighting, and lackluster audio are abound on any ordinary phone clip.
Luckily, the brains over at YouTube came up with “in-house” editing programs back in 2010 that help users either polish or cut their projects, ideally for the better. This process certainly helps forgo the need for modern video editing software like Final Cut Pro and Sony Vegas, which can be expensive and require hours and hours of training.
Should you upload a video to YouTube and notice that the image is dark, desaturated, or in need of some pizzazz, then you can go to town on the ‘Enhancements’ page. To access this, enter the ‘Video Manager’ tab under the ‘Creator Studio’ page and click the ‘Edit’ button next to your video, followed by the ‘Enhancements’ button on the following page.
Under ‘Enhancements’, you can adjust the video’s Fill Light, Contrast, Saturation, and Color Temperature. With Fill Light, you can increase the brightness of any murky footage, whereas Contrast will give your video a deep, cinematic quality, Saturation will emphasize the colors or take them away, and Color Temperature will give your footage either a blue or a yellow tint.
In addition to the ‘Quick Fixes’ tab, you can add a variety of tones in the ‘Filters’ tab or blur out faces in the ‘Blurring Effects’ tab. This section is essentially your one-stop-shop for enhancements to really carry your video to the next visual level.
If you plan to edit together one or more personal uploads, or even create a montage, the YouTube Video Editor has a number of features that can add copyright-free stock footage and music, flashy transitions, text elements, and personal images and photos. With all of these easy-to-use features, any automotive sales professionals can cut together a video with an intro, outro, name card, and cutaway clips. These tools will come in handy when reaching out to a customer and needing to make a solid first impression.
DON’T: Let YouTube Stabilize Your Video
You’ve seen it a hundred times: whenever you upload a mildly unstable video clip, YouTube gives you a highlighted prompt that says it has detected shaky footage and offers to “correct” that issue. Sure, your first thought is almost always going to be “if YouTube wants to improve my video, why not let them?” but in reality, that gift horse is loaded with a few too many Trojan soldiers, convinced that they’re doing the right thing.
Rather than turning shaky footage into a smooth, crisp, visually-appealing shot, the YouTube stabilizer overcompensates in its abilities and tries its best to wrangle the crazy horse with the worst rope imaginable. The footage comes out in a more drastic state, often looking twitchy, frantic, and sometimes excessively warped -- which means that no one will want to watch it. But what happens if you already accepted the invitation to stabilize and can’t change it back?
Good news: you can. Two ways, in fact. By accessing the ‘Enhancements’ feature, you can click the ‘Revert to Original’ button and click ‘Save’ to keep the original look of your upload. The alternative method is (in the same editing page) to click the division line that separates the ‘Original’ and Preview’ portions in the video preview window and drag it all the way to the right, thus showing only the ‘Original’ portion, then save.
Before you immediately race to YouTube and save your videos from embarrassment with these two methods, please bear in mind: if you added any filters or adjustments to the same clips, they too will vanish. Remember to look before you leap, folks, lest you should have to go back and try to match the precise changes that you made before.
Above all else, I cannot stress enough that what goes on the Internet stays on the Internet. Be mindful of what you are putting into cyberspace, be it content- or quality-wise. Even the simplest mistake can offset a customer and turn them into a brick wall. Listen to the content, make sure the shots are clean, and that the audio is intelligible. And for the love of all mankind, keep it tasteful. Laziness and unprofessionalism can slam a door faster than you can say “Jack Robinson”.
PS3orDie. "HOW TO UNDO YOUTUBE FIX FOR SHAKY VIDEOS." YouTube. YouTube, 01 Oct. 2012. Web. 28 Apr. 2016. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94X0xQicil0>.
Magic Tricks. "Re: Is There a Way to Take a Way the "Shaky Video Filter" Thing Youtube Suggests? I Really Need Help." Web log comment.Google Groups. N.p., 18 July 2012. Web. 28 Apr. 2016. <https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/youtube/sarDbAM1M5c>.