Volume 76 | Issue 6
November 2008

Technology Showcase: How to Upload a Video to YouTube

Mark Casey

Online video sharing and viewing is a hot trend, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. The booming popularity is thanks to websites like YouTube.com, a Google-owned site where anyone can upload a video about anything, and anyone can watch the millions of videos uploaded so far—all for free.  youtube112008

According to Alexa.com, a leading Internet traffic ranking service, YouTube.com is the fourth most visited website in the United States, a remarkable accomplishment for a site dedicated to the niche market of video sharing. In fact, only multipurpose websites like search engines Google and Yahoo and the social networking site MySpace.com trump YouTube.

With that kind of traffic, it’s hard not to want to be involved. Luckily, anyone can upload a video from a computer to YouTube where anyone can view it.

How is it done? “YouTube is actually very simple to use, but very often the most difficult part of the journey is the first step,” said Kyle Cassidy of Videomaker.com. And keeping a few basics in mind, the process is more than manageable.

Create a YouTube account. Users can’t upload a video without first creating an account on the site. It is the same drill as creating any other web-based account: Name, e-mail address, and password; but there are a few YouTube-specific questions.

The main question is what kind of account the user is opening. The options are: Standard, Director, Comedian, Musician, or Guru. The “Director” account requires approval from the site, and, once approved, the user will be able to upload longer and higher quality videos than the rest of the account types. Other than that, there isn’t currently much difference in the account types, though that may change in the future.

Choose a video. Choosing a video is the “first step” Cassidy writes about, and he says it’s often the most difficult because not only must you have a video on your computer ready to upload, but often that video will need to be edited and sized. There is no way to edit a video on YouTube itself.

That isn’t much of an obstacle when uploading a video diary, a family home movie, or a public event such as a speech or a race because these things don’t require much editing. For more complex projects, however, it may be necessary to download or purchase a simple video editing program like iMovie for Macs or Windows Movie Maker for PCs. Editing software is also extremely helpful when transferring video from a camera to the computer’s hard drive.

Another option is to record the video with a webcam connected to a computer, which simplifies the process greatly, as the video records directly to the hard drive.

Upload your video. Once you have a video, uploading it is simple and straightforward. “The minds [at YouTube] have worked long and hard to make this as painless a process as possible,” Cassidy said.

Users will be asked to write a title for the video and a description of it, both of which will help other users find this video on the website. Next, users browse their hard drive using YouTube’s video uploader, just as they would browse for a photo or document to attach to an e-mail. YouTube accepts most common video formats, and it limits the length of the video to 10 minutes. So it’s important to make sure the video is the appropriate length.

After uploading the videos, users will be able to choose whether it is visible to the public or private, and whether to enable other users to write comments and rate the video.

After these simple steps, the user’s video will be hosted on the site. And whether the goal is to create an entertaining video to showcase talent, a candid event, or a private video meant only for a few, it’s helpful to be able to share the video from computer to computer, as compared to dragging a camera along to share with friends, family, and beyond.