Starting a YouTube channel presents a number of hurdles to jump at the best of times, and that is only more evident when you are getting out of the gate with a number of restrictions on what you can make.
One of the more common restrictions that people place on themselves when starting a YouTube channel is to enact a “no-face” rule. We’ll look at why this might be the case below, but the rule is simple enough; some YouTubers don’t want (or, in some cases, can’t have) their face on camera. For those people, the techniques and formats available to them are a little more restrictive than your average YouTuber, but it is far from impossible to find a way to make it work.
Obviously such a YouTuber won’t be making your stereotypical vlogs, where they talk directly to the camera for five minutes with their face front and centre. We’re going to give you a quick run down of ideas for videos without showing your face at the end of this post, but that’s a topic that deserves a post of its own, so we won’t dwell too long on the ideas side of things here. Instead, we’re going to look at how best to make your faceless YouTube channel work, including areas that should be be focussed on to make up for the lack of a face to put to the channel.
Why Would a YouTuber Not Want to Show Their Face?
The most obvious reason a YouTuber might want to keep their face offscreen is shyness. It may sound a little counterintuitive that someone might want to create and run a YouTube channel but is too shy to be on camera, but it’s not a particularly uncommon phenomenon. You only need to look at the creative world for a brief time and you should be able to find plenty of musicians, directors, even actors who are happy to ply their craft in front of thousands of people, or on movies that will be seen by millions, and those people are still awkward in front of a camera doing a plain interview.
There is also the matter of anonymity. Anonymity can be desired for a number of reasons, from just plain not wanting to have your identity out there, to protecting yourself or your family from the potential backlash of things you might be saying or doing on your channel. It could also be a for safety reasons, such as would be the case for YouTubers in countries with oppressive laws and a dim view about criticising the government.
How to Make YouTube Videos Without Showing Your Face
Making videos without showing your face makes things a little trickier, but not too much. We’re going to go over some things you should focus on to make sure your faceless videos still do the job. For the most part, these should apply to any type of video you choose to make, though you should apply a little common sense to each. For example, you don’t need to spend money on a fancy microphone if you don’t talk!
Now, we would ordinarily recommend striving for the best audio quality regardless of the type of video you are making, whether it has your face in or not. Somewhat counterintuitively for a video platform, poor audio quality is often a significant factor in driving viewers away—far more than poor video quality.
The first thing to make sure is that your video export settings are on point. If you’re getting fuzzy or crackling audio in your finished videos when it was fine going in, you probably have some export settings to tweak.
The next thing is your audio quality going in. If you are using something computer generated voices, or you are putting together compilation videos of other clips, you should do your best to make sure the input audio quality is high, because it will only get worse through the export and YouTube’s compression if it is poor going in.
Give the Viewers Something to Latch on To
Branding has become an integral part of any kind of success using the Internet. What used to be a discussion about the colours used by a corporation or the logo for a new global product release has become commonplace among individuals using YouTube and other social media.
For individuals, a face is often all the branding you need. It is recognisable, often unique, and it belongs to you. Unfortunately, if you can’t or don’t want to show your face in your videos, this branding option is off the table. But that doesn’t erase the power that branding has.
So, without your face, you need to make sure that branding void is filled. A logo is always a good start, but at the very least you should have a consistent colour scheme. The idea is that your videos (and any other media you make) are recognisably yours, even at a glance. This brand recognition helps you better retain new viewers.
Have a Clear Purpose in Mind
This one could be just as easily applied to any type of YouTube channel, and it’s just as important here. Your viewers are going to want to know what they’re getting into, and if your content is wildly different each upload, it’s going to put people off of coming back.
Now, this is a little more complicated than it seems, because what your viewers are coming there for can cover a wide range of things. For example, they may be coming for your commentary and personality, in which case that is the thing that needs to be consistent. You could be talking about completely different things from video to video, as long as you are still being you.
Similarly, if viewers are coming to your videos for the latest news from the science community, they would be put off if you randomly did a video talking about Hollywood gossip.
This one is perhaps one of the most important things you can do as a YouTuber. There is an unfathomable number of creators out there, each making videos on YouTube in a variety of different niches. The chance of discovering a completely untapped niche are practically zero, so you have to stand out to have a chance of succeeding.
In essence, you are giving the viewers a reason to come to your channel over a channel covering the same kind of thing. This is almost entirely down to personal preference, you are not going to be able to please everyone in this regard, but the more you stand out from the crowd, the better chance you have of attracting viewers from other channels that are doing essentially the same thing.
Play to Your Strengths
This is self-explanatory, but don’t force yourself to do something you’re not good at. If witty repartee is not your strong suit, don’t freestyle videos, script them. If you are not great at animation, don’t animate your videos (or pay someone who can animate to do it for you).
Ideas for Faceless Videos
As we said, we’re not going to devote too much effort to this section here because there’s a whole post’s-worth of information to get through, but here are a few ideas for videos that don’t involve your face to get you started.
Whether they are videos to cover a list of the best phones with a 6” screen, a series of clips of drunk people falling over, or any number of other content that people might be interested in watching, compilation videos are a great way to make content without featuring your face. Just be sure to get permission for the clips you use.
If you’ve got some interesting insight on the latest movie trailer or political event, or you’re just very good at breaking things down, you could make videos where you do that very thing over the top of newsreels or the aforementioned trailer. Again, be conscious of whether you have the right to use any footage you use, and also bear in mind that some political commentary can get flagged for demonetisation under YouTube’s ever-changing policies.
VTubers are YouTubers who have a digital avatar on screen. Sometimes that avatar is essentially just a mask for the YouTuber, other times it is a fully fledged character in its own right, but regardless of the dynamic, it is an onscreen presence that does not involve your actual face!
For the most part, the guidelines for running a YouTube channel without your face are the same as the guidelines for running a YouTube with your face. There are some areas to put a little extra focus on, of course, such as making sure your audio is up to scratch, but everything else is a little more universal.
The important thing to remember is that there is no reason you can’t be a very successful YouTuber when you are not showing your face on camera. Plenty of YouTubers have done it, and plenty more will do it. Why not be one of them?
Top 5 Tools To Get You Started on YouTube
Very quickly before you go here are 5 amazing tools I have used every day to grow my YouTube channel from 0 to 30K subscribers in the last 12 months that I could not live without.
1. VidIQ helps boost my views and get found in search
I almost exclusively switched to VidIQ from a rival in 2020.
Within 12 months I tripled the size of my channel and very quickly learnt the power of thumbnails, click through rate and proper search optimization. Best of all, they are FREE!
2. Adobe Creative Suite helps me craft amazing looking thumbnails and eye-catching videos
I have been making youtube videos on and off since 2013.
When I first started I threw things together in Window Movie Maker, cringed at how it looked but thought “that’s the best I can do so it’ll have to do”.
I soon realized the move time you put into your editing and the more engaging your thumbnails are the more views you will get and the more people will trust you enough to subscribe.
That is why I took the plunge and invested in my editing and design process with Adobe Creative Suite. They offer a WIDE range of tools to help make amazing videos, simple to use tools for overlays, graphics, one click tools to fix your audio and the very powerful Photoshop graphics program to make eye-catching thumbnails.
Best of all you can get a free trial for 30 days on their website, a discount if you are a student and if you are a regular human being it starts from as little as £9 per month if you want to commit to a plan.
3. Rev.com helps people read my videos
You can’t always listen to a video.
Maybe you’re on a bus, a train or sat in a living room with a 5 year old singing baby shark on loop… for HOURS. Or, you are trying to make as little noise as possible while your new born is FINALLY sleeping.
This is where Rev can help you or your audience consume your content on the go, in silence or in a language not native to the video.
Rev.com can help you translate your videos, transcribe your videos, add subtitles and even convert those subtitles into other languages – all from just $1.50 per minute.
A GREAT way to find an audience and keep them hooked no matter where they are watching your content.
4. PlaceIT can help you STAND OUT on YouTube
I SUCK at making anything flashy or arty.
I have every intention in the world to make something that looks cool but im about as artistic as a dropped ice-cream cone on the web windy day.
That is why I could not live on YouTube without someone like PlaceIT. They offer custom YouTube Banners, Avatars, YouTube Video Intros and YouTube End Screen Templates that are easy to edit with simple click, upload wizard to help you make amazing professional graphics in minutes.
Best of all, some of their templates are FREE! or you can pay a small fee if you want to go for their slightly more premium designs (pst – I always used the free ones).
5. StoryBlocks helps me add amazing video b-roll cutaways
I mainly make tutorials and talking head videos.
And in this modern world this can be a little boring if you don’t see something funky every once in a while.
I try with overlays, jump cuts and being funny but my secret weapon is b-roll overlay content.
I can talk about skydiving, food, money, kids, cats – ANYTHING I WANT – with a quick search on the StoryBlocks website I can find a great looking clip to overlay on my videos, keeping them entertained and watching for longer.
They have a wide library of videos, graphics, images and even a video maker tool and it wont break the bank with plans starting from as little as £8.25 ($9) per month.