YouTube is designed to make sharing your videos with friends and family as easy as possible. You probably have the tools to make a video already, even if you don't have a camcorder. Web cams, digital cameras, and even mobile phones often have video recording features—many digital cameras even have a simple switch to choose between stills and video, like this:
So take a look at what you already have—you may be surprised! Most of these devices record in either the .AVI or .MPG formats, both of which YouTube supports, and the video shot with them can be uploaded directly from the device or after being copied to your computer.
If you already have a digital camcorder (one that captures in Digital8, MiniDV, HDV, or any of the DVD formats), then you're ready to start filming your masterpiece. Your camcorder will need some kind of direct connection to your computer, either to the USB or FireWire ports or by inserting the DVD you've recorded. Once you've downloaded the video from the camera, you can upload it to YouTube or bring it into an editing program to play with it some more.
If you have an analogue camcorder (one that uses VHS, VHS-C, SVHS-C, 8 mm, or Hi8 tape), you can still get your videos onto YouTube. It will require an extra step and some additional equipment, though, since these camcorders are not usually equipped with computer connections. You will need to digitise the video with a converter box, which will convert the analogue signal from the camcorder to a digital signal that the computer can understand. After the video has been digitised, you can manipulate it further or upload it.
If you want to be a bit more hands-on with your video, most new computers come with basic video-editing software installed (like Apple's iMovie or Windows MovieMaker). Once you have copied the video from your phone, camera, or camcorder to your computer, you can bring the video into these programs. Most allow you to not only edit the video, but add effects, titles, and music to make your video look and sound more interesting.
Once you're happy with your final result, you'll need to save the video in a format that YouTube can accept in order to upload. Unless you're a professional video producer, we recommend that you save your videos as either QuickTime .MOV, Windows .AVI, or .MPG files - these are the most common formats and they work well within our system. We specifically recommend the MPEG4 (Divx, Xvid) format at 640x480 resolution with MP3 audio. Resizing your video to these specifications before uploading will help your clips look better on YouTube.
If you have video capabilities on your cell phone or PDA, you can now upload videos directly from the device to YouTube. So if you get a quick clip of something cool with your phone, you can put it up right away. Just set up your Mobile Upload Options in advance and then send your videos to the email address that you're assigned. All of your mobile videos will have the default tags, title and description that you set or you can overwrite them in the email message that you send.
When you upload your video, we require you to choose at least one category and enter at least one tag to describe the content in your video. Adding this information helps other YouTube members find your video, so if you want an audience, help them out! The more accurate the tags are on each video, the easier it is for everyone to find cool videos to watch.
Make your tags as descriptive as you can—if you took a video of your friends at the beach, you might want to tag it like this: party beach surfing. Each tag is separated from the others by a space.