Make the best YouTube videos!

It’s one of Andy Warhol’s most popular quotes: “In the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.” Nowadays it’s much easier to become famous -- and not just for a quarter of an hour. Because there is YouTube.

People all over the world drop by the YouTube website, watching two billion videos a day. And there are plenty of new clips to watch: Every second, users upload 24 hours worth of new stuff.

The best news: You don’t need to be a professional actor or singer to find fame via YouTube. With their online video, “Wo bist du, mein Sonnenlischt”, the German boy band Grup Tekkan stormed the charts up to 12th place (and their music was anything but awesome).

Want to be popular like a German boy group? Here’s how.

The Topic
Anything is doable. Whether you want to make music videos, chronicle your poodle washing dishes, or just make jokes -- try it. “The easiest videos work best,” says Matthias Sdun, filmmaker at the production company in Hamburg. For first timers, Sdun recommends taking a shot at comedy -- any kind. “Primarily, YouTube still is an entertainment platform. Therefore, arouse emotions,” he says.

Skeptical? Check out “Die Außenseiter,” the YouTube channel -- in which two teenagers talk gibberish and perform skits -- are watched by hundreds of thousands. 

The Storyboard
Beginners need not be concerned about a concept. But if you want your opus to have a professional sheen, try mocking up a storyboard, sketching one scene at a time. While YouTube videos are short (the site only accepts video files up to 2GB in size and 10 minutes length), any scripted piece would benefit from following the same formula as a full-length motion picture. “Since Aristotle, classic screenplays consist of three parts. Keep that in mind since it guarantees easy structures,” says former TV moderator (of Pro7-magazines taff and Bizz fame) Dominik Bachmair, who currently works as a media trainer and manager. 

Part one serves to inspire the audience’s curiosity. Therefore start with some surprise that raises an interesting question. In the following middle section, lay out the important facts. And in part three, answer all questions and, urges Bachmair: “Finish your video with the best image and phrase -- everybody will remember this last scene.”

The Equipment
You can use a simple web cam (already integrated into many new computers) -- but poor quality video can make those hard to watch. For better quality and a superior viewing experience, splurge for a real camcorder. Just make sure said camera includes an audio jack for external microphones: If the distance from the camera to your performer exceeds half a meter, the camcorder’s boom microphone will fail to capture quality sound. Wireless microphones offer excellent value if you’re willing to splurge: They typically cost 150 Euro or more. “Don’t be stingy,” says Sdun. “The quality of a video is primarily influenced by quality of sound.”

How to Use the Camera
When it comes to handling your cam, just remember three rules: Don’t zoom; avoid shaking (if possible use a tripod); and don’t turn the cam away from the “set.”

Also, beginners should stick to three main shots: “wide shots” for lots of action; “medium shots” (chest to head) for character interaction and close-ups for intimate moments. Sticking to these shot guidelines are especially important for YouTube, since most videos are watched on small screens.

The Post-production
You’ll find good post-production software for less than 100 Euro. For example, try “Magics Video Deluxe” (there’s a free test version). Beginners can cut movies with freeware, too: Movie Maker (Windows) or iMovie (Apple) are often already installed. And how to cut your movie? “Avant-garde cuts hard,” states Sdun. “Only laymen use fadeouts or dissolve effects.”

The Publicity Campaign
Once you’ve uploaded your video to YouTube, you must call attention to it! Integrate it into your Facebook or VZ-network account or send its link as a Twitter notice to your friends. But the most effective way, advises Sdun, is to use the “video response” function in YouTube: Look for videos with a similar topic and a huge audience. Then write a comment and attach your video link -- the entire audience will get the message.

And with that, your 15 minutes begins (though we’re sure you can go into overtime).