Mic the Vegan is about more than just me, Mike, it is about hooking vegan voices up to a larger audience and creating a network that communicates scientifically-backed ideas effectively. Because of this goal, I will share some basics of mic’ing yourself in my arena, YouTube. Starting a YouTube channel can be daunting but it can’t hurt to gain the skills necessary to make a video. Whether you just want to get that one video out or you want to produce one or more videos a week as a regular YouTuber, hopefully the information below will help you.
Lights, Camera, Vegan!
I filmed the first 70 or so videos with my iPhone 5 strapped to an old cymbal stand with a rubber band that regularly snapped. It can be done but the difference in the watchability of my videos after getting a quality camera setup is undeniable. Before I got a camera though, I got a couple of soft box lights off Amazon. This not only made the crappy iPhone look a little better but meant that I could film 24 hours a day instead of relying on natural light from the sun which really hindered my video output.
Then, because I didn’t want to sink a bunch of money into YouTubing, I waited until my Ad Revenue and Patreon support got to the point that I could buy a dedicated camera. I went with a Panasonic Lumix G7 which you can get with a full kit including a tripod, SD cards, etc. for $550-800. This camera does 4K, is really easy to use, and is a mirrorless camera which means it is way smaller than your average DSLR (Digital Camera). It is capable of timelapse shots which I regularly use on TIY, my tiny house channel, and has an articulated touch screen so you can turn it toward you and VLOG easily.
Here are a couple of other cameras that YouTubers often use:
My camera and lights, the Panasonic G7 some Limo Studio soft boxes.
I use Adobe Premiere which can be purchased for $20 a month. If you don’t want a monthy subscription situation you can go with Final Cut Pro for a flat $119. Editing can be a daunting task if you aren’t familiar with it. You need to be prepared to spend hours learning this craft and it’s probably better to start with shorter videos to mitigate this steep learning curve.
As a place to start, here are some basic tutorials that I recommend for anyone starting with these 2 programs:
1. Adobe Premiere
2. Final Cut Pro
My Rules for Posting Videos
Scientifically backed claims just make the best arguments. Much of my channel is founded on responding to ridiculous myths that people really want to believe and need hard facts to even consider reassessing. While many Vegan Youtubers might respond to “The dairy industry isn’t that bad” with “But calves are taken away from their mothers” but I would rather use hard-hitting facts like “According to the USDA, 97% of calves are taken from their mothers within the first 24 hours of life.” That is objectively more persuasive and communicates the reality of the situation in an undeniable way. Many stats like these with direct links to studies can be found at my Plantspace website on the facts page at https://plantspace.org/facts/. Here are some best practices when posting videos on YouTube:
1. Provide Sources: Link studies in the description with short explainers that connect when in the video you referenced them such as paraphrasing the statistic. For the above stat, I might say:
“USDA Paper: 97% of calves removed in 24 hours source: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/nahms/dairy/downloads/dairy07/Dairy07_is_ReprodPrac.pdf”
This isn’t exactly MLA format but it’s social media after all so it is about user experience and not perfection.
2. Use High Quality Sources: Avoid linking articles about studies and instead link the actual scientific journal. Like an academic paper, it is also good to avoid souces such as wikipedia.
3. Provide Visuals: Flash the study page so people can quickly Google the title of the study. Small citations in the corner may as well not be there.
4. Give Credit: Be sure to credit footage clips, music, and link to everything mentioned in the video that one may be curious to investigate.
Creating a Banner
YouTube banners can be frustating because they are different on almost every type of device. Right click and download the template below to use as a base to make your banner. This way you can make a design that doesn’t awkwardly cut off on most devices. If you don’t have photoshop you can play around with free online image editors like fotor.com.