Beauty and lifestyle vlogger Jeanine Amapola explains the exact steps and tools she uses to create videos, which have so far garnered her over a million subscribers to date.

Every single day across the world, over a billion people tune in to YouTube to watch millions of hours of videos. And yet the majority of these people may never make a video themselves to upload to Google’s online video platform. Consequently, most YouTube viewers don’t consider how much work is involved in producing and creating the videos they so much enjoy.

But all you YouTube creators contributing to the site’s 400+ hours of uploaded content per minute know better. For you, developing a video idea, filming and editing it, and getting the final version uploaded with an appropriate description and thumbnail can be your biggest challenge. Of course, a plethora of technology and tools has certainly made creating these videos easier. However, it takes a skilled creator to not only pick and choose preferred production tools, but also set up an efficient video production process.

Beauty and lifestyle vlogger Jeanine Amapola seems to have figured out what works — for her at least. In an interview with YouTuber, Amapola revealed her exact process for producing, filming and editing her videos before she uploads them to her channel of over 1.2 million subscribers. Here’s what she had to say about her production process and how other YouTube creators can follow her same techniques to improve their video content.

Why do you think production and post-production are so important to video creation?

“Visuals are key! It’s what keeps the viewers engaged and wanting more. If your content is higher quality, people will notice and will appreciate it. It is also basically required on YouTube now to have good production and post-production work.”

What does your current production workflow look like, step-by-step?

“I start brainstorming video ideas, see which one works well for that week, and begin filming. I sometimes hire someone to help me film if I can’t do it all on my own. Once I film, which usually takes about 2–3 hours or so, I import it to Final Cut Pro X and edit for about 3 hours. Once it’s done, I upload it to YouTube. While it’s uploading I start editing my thumbnail and trying to make that very captivating. Then I fill in the description box of my video. Once everything looks good, I schedule my video to go live for whatever day I usually upload, which is Saturdays and Wednesdays.”

You mention you “see which videos work well for that week” before you record. How do you determine this?

“I don’t copy other people’s videos, but as I scroll down my subscriptions, I see what other people are doing and if it works well for them, then decide if I want to make my own version of it. I also always upload my videos based on each season. That always gives me ideas of what works well for each week. Currently [August 2016], it’s back to school season, so my videos will be based off of that.”

Jeanine plans her content based on what people are looking for at the time. For example, in August, Jeanine loaded her channel up with back to school videos.

When you hire someone to help you film, where do you hire them from?

“I actually hire film students from my college. It gives them experience and they aren’t crazy expensive for me either.”

How has your workflow changed over time? Have you abandoned any routines or developed new ones?

“Definitely! I used to film with no plan at all. I would just randomly decide what I was going to film that day and just sit down and film. I now always have a list on my phone of what I’m going to film and what steps I’m going to do so I make sure I cover everything.”

Do you plan to implement any new workflow practices in the future? If so, what are they?

“If I do implement anything, it would be to work on my pre-production planning a little bit more than I already do. Maybe do a shot list, storyboard and more research on what video I’m going to put up to see if it’s been done before, and if so, how has it performed. I sometimes just plan things so last minute that they don’t work out as I planned. Pre-production is very important in YouTube!”

Jeanine isn’t shy about naming shooting and equipment as her least favorite aspects of making YouTube videos. “Least favorite: filming, working with lighting, buying new equipment and making thumbnails.”

What’s held you back from improving your pre-production already? What would you recommend to other YouTube creators in the same situation?

“I think it’s just not how my brain works! I am more of a post-production person, so planning and scheduling stuff is a bit of a struggle for me. I think I would recommend someone to just map out their video as best as they can beforehand so shooting goes as smoothly as possible and you don’t end up forgetting certain shots.”

“I sometimes just plan things so last minute that they don’t work out as I planned. Pre-production is very important in YouTube!”

What specifically does your post-production schedule look like?

“As soon as I’m done filming, I import my footage into Final Cut Pro X and begin looking at the footage to make sure everything looks good. If it doesn’t, I plan whether I will re-film or just make it work. Editing takes about 3 hours or more, since I have to make sure the video is a good time limit, find [creative-commons] music, and cut out any mistakes.”

“Once my video is done, I export it and upload it to YouTube; while it’s uploading, I begin editing my thumbnail on PicMonkey.com. I make sure it’s a colorful and catchy thumbnail. Then I edit the description box on my video and make sure it’s filled with all the correct tags and information, then schedule when it’s going to go live, and that’s it! It’s a long process, but it’s worth it.”

What would you change about your post-production workflow if you could?

“I honestly am fine with my post-production workflow. I think it usually goes smoothly for me, and it’s my favorite part of the whole process. I love editing, so I enjoy post-production.”

Jeanine stresses the importance of pre-production. “I now always have a list on my phone of what I’m going to film and what steps I’m going to do so I make sure I cover everything.”

What are your favorite and least favorite parts of production?

“I love YouTube, but there are definitely pros and cons to it! Favorite: editing, seeing the comments from my subscribers once I upload a video, acting in the videos and collaborating with my friends. Least favorite: filming, working with lighting, buying new equipment and making thumbnails.”

How do you continually educate yourself?

“I use YouTube always. It’s the best place for me to get educated and find more tools. I learn from YouTube new ways to edit, which camera I should get next, which lenses are good for certain shots and tons more info. YouTube is perfect for it all!”

If someone wanted to follow in your footsteps, what tips would you recommend to them?

“Definitely focus on an upload schedule and try to stick to it, make sure your thumbnails are bright, colorful, and captivating, try to think of original content that you truly love, and most of all, be yourself! There’re so many other channels on YouTube, so if you copy someone or aren’t fully genuine, people will see right through you. Do your channel because you love it and it’s fun, not for money and perks. Lastly, just have fun with it!”

“Do your channel because you love it and it’s fun, not for money and perks.”

Making YouTube videos every week — or even every day — can be a challenging task for content creators. In order to upload content regularly and continue growing your audiences, you should focus on optimizing your production process as best as possible. When something doesn’t seem to be working, YouTubers look to other creators who, like Jeanine, are successfully maintaining popular channels for video creative advice.

Of course, you should also remember to do what works best for you as an individual creator when it comes to your production workflow. Do some research, try new techniques or tools and stick with what works. Your channel will thank you.

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