Sitting in front of your PC (or tablet, games console, smartphone, or smart TV) you’ve probably absorbed many YouTube videos. Some of these might have been adverts; others tutorials. You might have witnessed some unboxing videos (good and bad), observed people applying makeup, enjoyed some young singer/songwriters performing, or chuckled over some reaction videos.
But which of these are the most popular YouTube videos? And if you were to begin your own channel, which of these popular video types should you start with? Let’s take a look at the options.
1. The Unboxing Video
It is perhaps the most unusual of all of the YouTube videos, watching someone open a box and (hopefully!) getting exciting about the contents. Yet this video genre is hugely popular, and relatively easy to make. All you need is an unopened box full of tech/makeup/toys (or whatever you prefer) and a camera placed in a position to capture it all.
As long as you’re talking while the unboxing takes place, you should be able to produce a video that people will enjoy and respond to. Note that some unboxing videos have a soundtrack, rather than a commentary, but these tend to be shorter.
Our tutorial to producing an unboxing video people will enjoy will give you more information on getting started.
2. Everybody Loves Time-Lapse Videos
One very simple way to make a movie is with the use of a time-lapse camera, or if you’re using a smartphone, a time-lapse app. These tools are simple to use and can produce amazing results, which is why the videos prove so popular – both for creators and the audience.
Time-lapse videos might be anything from a Lego construction to the building of a genuine building (such as the new World Trade Center), and even the creation of art, like this piece of hyperrealism:
Here’s a short time-lapse video I made using a Raspberry Pi:
3. Video Game Walkthroughs
Like gaming? With the help of a screen capture device (or a video camera) you can pass on your expertise on a particular game (or level) and entertain people at the same time. Video games as a spectator sport is a relatively new phenomenon, one made popular by Twitch, where over 45 million gamers gather every month. Some gamers have become celebrities in the Twitch world.
YouTube has its own version, YouTube Gaming, where gamers can stream or upload their gaming activity. Unlike Twitch.tv, these videos will remain on the site long-term.
Our guide to streaming games from a PC will get you started on Windows. If you’re using an Android device, Google Play Games can help you record and then upload. Console owners can capture their game recordings using third party hardware, or built-in software if using current-gen game machines.
4. How To/Tutorials
YouTube is a regular destination for anyone looking for a way to do something. It might be technical help for dealing with problems upgrading to Windows 10 or something less computer-related, such as learning the basics of carpentry.
Here’s a screencast tutorial we produced:
If you feel you have a skill, ability or technique that you are happy to demonstrate, then making a how to video is the best way to share it with the world.
You might do a simple screencast (essentially recording your PC’s desktop to explain anything from opening a command prompt to performing a tricky technique in Photoshop) or opt for a more personal, camera-facing approach. This latter option might result in a quite a bit of work filming and editing, but as long as you have editing tools and ability, the results should be good.
As another example, here’s how to safely discharge a CRT TV or monitor:
5. Product Reviews
Related to the box opening video, product reviews are really simple to produce, BUT you would be well advised to make notes in advance. After all, you don’t want to be left without anything to say!
While first impressions are the domain of the box opening, product reviews should go more in depth, and include reflections upon your experiences with the product in question, whether it is a new frying pan, a bike, a collection of pencils, a new partwork magazine, a phone, some makeup… it’s up to you!
Best of all, you can conceivably manage a product review with a single camera, although you might like to add some photos and captions into the video to polish the finished production somewhat.
6. Fan Videos, Reviews, and Commentaries
Another popular option is the fan video. This might be speculation on your favorite TV show, movie or book series, a review of the latest episode, or even a commentary.
Popular franchises under discussion in such videos include Star Wars, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and Doctor Who although there is no reason to limit yourself to these. But if you can find some popular videos discussing any of these, you’ve got a good idea of the type of video people are enjoying.
Best of all, the production is minimal. All you need is a webcam or digital video camera, and the ability to talk about the show or movie you like!
7. Show Off Your Reactions
Perhaps as surprising as the unboxing video, the reaction video is a popular option that is surprisingly easy to produce. On the other hand, however, this is potentially the slowest to produce, depending on how you set it up, what tools you use, and what you’re reacting to.
We’ve previously produced a tutorial on creating reaction videos, and these can be made with anything from a computer webcam to a smartphone app. Another similar video type is the vlog, which isn’t so much about your reactions as it is your thoughts. Get started with our vlogging camera and setup guide.
Other Video Types
You’ve probably seen other video types, such as pranks, bad karaoke, and mashups. These are all fine, but not necessarily things that you can start making right away after you finish this post (pranks are particularly tricky to setup and record).
Have you already tried any of these video types? Perhaps you have been bewildered by the sheer number of video types, or intimidated by the filming and production. You really shouldn’t be – especially when it comes to using a smartphone camera, many of the editing options can be automated or ignored altogether in the case of reaction videos. But if you have any questions or observations, please share them in the comments.