Apps to make movies, workflow, and music for YouTube videos

Thanks Chris! I’ll answer here as these choices have some background and interesting consequences.

The only app I use to make movies right now is iMovie. But that isn’t a strong endorsement. I think it’s a great tool to get started with, but it has some limitations as you get further along. If you’re looking to start making movies I’d begin with iMovie (or equivalent on Windows), since it’s pretty easy to figure out most things on it.

One thing though that trips you up as you get along in the movie making effort is the fact that the iMovie library itself contains an archive of all the movie clips you import. So let’s say you have 1GB of movie clips in some folder, then import them into iMovie, now you have 2GB of movie clips on your hard drive. This makes doing any kind of workflow around your movies and hard drive space difficult.

My iMovie library is so large I had to move it to a separate 1 terabyte external SSD drive. The move brought a noticeable slow down to doing things inside iMovie.

I’m not an expert in other apps, but I’ve read things like Adobe Premier only holds pointers to your clips in other locations. So 1GB of movie clips remains 1GB of clips. And they exist in the location you stuck them in. Though of course that will have cons too if you move them, since the pointers will all break.

But the movie projects themselves aren’t that important to me once a movie is finished, I’m fine trashing the project and whatever pointers it has, as long as I have backups of the original, raw footage.

This is the external hard drive I’m using:

I’ve been happy with it.

Though I’m still trying to figure out what my long term storage workflow is going to be. Am I going to just collect a bunch of these SSDs over the years? Or get a big NAS type device? Not sure.

One thing I do plan on exploring is Amazon’s unlimited storage solution. $60 a year for unlimited movie storage.

Sounds like a great deal if I can use that as cloud backup of all this movie data I’m collecting. I don’t need the cloud storage for streaming, I really just need it in case of fire and other emergencies.

That’s about all I use in the workflow. Pretty sure I’ll move to Premier or Final Cut Pro here soonish, though they have their own issues. I’d also like to color grade my film a little so will explore other tools to do that too.


As for sound, yes, it’s all GoPro onboard microphones these days. The Session 5 is definitely better than the Session 4 on this front. 3 mics vs 2 mics help with that.

You also want to be real careful about how you hold the GoPro so it isn’t rubbing on your hand or clothes.

There are folks who do attach better mics to their GoPro setups. And some people use separate sound capture hardware all together. I’d love to have much better sound right now. But I just don’t have the patience for more equipment. My DSLR already has the shotgun mic, and that’s noticeably better sound than onboard mics, but the convenience of using a GoPro really trumps the quality most of the time.

As for other sound, I really enjoy adding music to these vids. A good song can make all the difference of making something mundane something interesting. YouTube has a free audio library with a bunch of decent and interesting tracks that you can add to your videos:


I’ve used a bunch of those. I’m starting to explore more though. The YouTube library just doesn’t have enough of what I want. So I just started using tracks from Music Vine. They’ve got affordable and flexible licensing. And another option which I’d like to explore is just reaching out to folks producing cool music on Soundcloud. I think that’s a channel many of the better known YouTubers have pursued. Soundcloud makes it super easy to reach out to people producing music on there:


Lots of new music producers on there would love some extra publicity and links to their work, if they were asked and gave their permission. Just need to create some relationships.


I’d love to hear more from anyone out there about video editing and finding/licensing music. Any new video editing apps worth a good look? And interesting places to find people producing great music they’d want heard in up and trying YouTube channels 🙂 ?

P.S. You should follow my YouTube channel, where I share more about how history, psychology, and science can help us create better businesses. And if you find yourself overwhelmed while starting your own small business or handling customer support, check out how Highrise can help!


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