I want to start my own YouTube channel. Do you have any tips?

Unless you’re extremely talented, or unusually lucky, I doubt that you’ll be able to attract a huge YouTube following overnight. My advice would be to experiment, make videos you like, then grow from there.

There are countless videos of pilots flying. Many of them are great, some are really boring. Think about who you want your audience to be and what they want. Then work towards fulfilling that demand.

I started out, like many others, just filming my flights, then uploading them in full. That appealed to me initially, because I liked to review my flights to see what I can do better next time. But I suspect there are few subscribers who want to watch a 90 minute flight from start to finish.  You’ll have to edit the video down to a watchable length. Personally, I find it difficult to find the time to watch a video with a duration of more than 20 minutes. Therefore, I try extremely hard to make my videos between 15-20 minutes long.

So you’re going to need some editing software! I can’t advise you what to use, but in my former job as a TV video journalist, I’ve use Final Cut Pro X, Avid Media Composer and Adobe Premier Pro.  They’re all very similar, but it can take some time to learn how to use them. There is free video editing software you can download, but often this will have limited features and may not allow you to do multi-camera edits, for example.  I currently edit my YouTube content on Final Cut Pro X.

It took me a while to find my ‘style’. I experimented, trying different approaches, and eventually settled on the style you now see. I really like taking passengers on flights, because I think that adds value to the trip, and I include our conversations in the films I upload. I used to use quite a lot of music in my videos, but I came to the conclusion that people found this a turn-off. I now use music more sparingly. If you’re going to use music in your videos, you will need to make sure you have the copyright owner’s permission. I now purchase music licenses from commercial sites.

To make a watchable YouTube video of your flights, I think you’re going to need at least 3 cameras. One looking forward, one looking at you and your passengers, and one looking outside without you in shot. This should give you enough footage to edit.

My followers seem to like the exchanges between myself and ATC. I include as much of this as possible.

I have a policy of trying to be honest, neutral, balanced and fair in my videos. There are times when things go wrong, or people annoy me. I don’t think it’s fair to include footage/audio of someone else’s mistakes, unless there is a really good reason for it. Let’s say a controller messes up – it would be a bit unfair to plaster their mistake all over the internet without their permission or an opportunity for them to explain their position.

We all make mistakes – I’m happy to share mine, but not everyone wants to be a YouTube star for the wrong reasons.