How to Cut Your YouTube Video Burn Rate

July 25, 2016

4:45 pm

Founders and entrepreneurs of all sizes should be aware of the emerging trend in 2016’s startup world: VCs  and accelerators are investing in late-stage startups, ushering in a post-unicorn era for those who haven’t already locked in their billion-dollar valuation. Startups need to prove their worth or risk Gary Vaynerchuk’s wrath. In short, everyone is buckling down to slash their burn rate while locating a revenue model.

And speaking of Gary Vee, who rose to popularity thanks to his 2006 video blog Wine Library TV, YouTube is one potential channel for growing that audience base that will drive your revenue model, whatever it is. Let’s say YouTube is the right channel for your startup. But YouTube burn rate is something to be aware of. How can you cut burn rate while getting started on the platform?

Tech blogger Scott Hanselman recently outlined the ideal products for anyone hoping to start creating “sharp and professional” YouTube videos on a budget. Even if you’re not creating your own channel, the tools are useful for a startup: How-to videos for customers, “meet the company” promos or internal company announcements could all benefit from a high-quality camera and mic.

Here are the four areas and the cheapest high-quality gear to cut your YouTube burn rate.

Get the Canon T3i DSLR HD camera

Hanselman got this tip from a friend with great videos. Here’s why it’s the right choice:

“This is not just a nice still camera but also a very competent HD Video Camera that puts out fantastic 1080p video directly to an SD Card along with the ability to use alternate lenses. It also has options you can add on later like a remote control for focusing and starting/stopping recording.

The trick with the T3i is that it’s a little older and you can find them for as little as $200-$250 on Craigslist. I’ve seen them cheap on Amazon as well. That makes them reasonable for a budget but again, the results look AMAZING.”

And the Canon EF 50mm lens

This lens gives a particularly tight focus: Your face will be clear on the YouTube video, but the background will be unfocused and unobtrusive.

Find a Great Mic

Hanselman likes a condenser mic, mentioning the  Samson C01U, but admits that plenty of USB mics under 50 bucks will do the trick while keeping the YouTube burn rate down. Personally, I’ve heard good things about the Yeti.

Get Great Lighting

This one’s easy for non-video people to forget, but I’ve heard it a hundred times from my would-be film-making buddies: the lighting makes the difference between a non-professional video and a high-quality one. Hanselmann agrees:

“Even if you ignore all these tips and just use a webcam, get a nice light. Maria from my team recommended this CowboyStudio Dual Mount Brackets to let me mount a mic and lights to my camera, then I picked up this FANTASTIC 160 LED Power Panel. It’s perfect because it’s dimmable and includes color filters for getting different color temperatures or a diffuse effect.”

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Adam is a writer with an interest in a variety of mediums, from podcasts to comic books to video essays to novels to blogging — too many, basically. He's based out of Seattle, and remains a staunch defender of his state's slogan: "sayWA." In his spare time, he recommends articles about science fiction on Twitter, @AdamRRowe

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