For a long time, the image that often came to mind when someone thought “YouTuber” was that of a bright and bubbly youngster talking earnestly into the camera, oversharing and jump-cutting all over the place. While there’s still plenty of this today, and though there’s nothing wrong with this format, there is certainly more variety on display these days.
This is fortunate for a lot of would-be YouTubers since it is the idea of getting in front of a camera that acts as a deterrent to them following their YouTube dreams. One of the great things about YouTube is that it provides a path for you to get started in content creation without having to go down the conventional routes of getting a book published or self-funding a short film. It is a low-barrier-to-entry medium that you can cut your teeth on, hone your craft, and, all being well, make a name for yourself. But for those of you that are not comfortable being in front of the camera, it can be a scary prospect in the beginning.
In this post, we’re going to look at some of the more popular ways in which you can make YouTube content without showing your face in the camera, including plenty of examples. So let’s get into it!
Faceless Video Ideas
We promised you ideas for videos that don’t involve showing your face, and that’s exactly what we’re going to give you. Please note that this is by no means a definitive list of all possible videos styles you could make without having your mug in the shot. There are always new and interesting ways to make content, and, while there are usually reasons that these types of videos are most often seen, that doesn’t mean they are your only options.
Of course, you’ll want to be realistic about things—at this point, YouTube is a maturing platform, and there has been plenty of time for people to work things out. The most popular types of content are the types that work. That being said, YouTube is a big platform, and there is room for a lot of different styles. If you dream of being the next PewDiePie, you’re going to have stick to things that have broad appeal in order to capture that large audience. But, if you are happy with a smaller audience, you have much more creative freedom with your content. Don’t be afraid to experiment, think outside of the box, and find your feet as a YouTuber. You just might be the first to think of something new and innovative.
Please note that some of these video ideas have overlap. For example, we mention the “Hands-On” style of video-making and the “Review” video. Many review videos utilise the “Hands-On” method to make review videos. If you think two (or more) types of video listed here might work well together, have at it!
Just as the name suggests, clip shows are videos that are made up of several different short clips along the same theme. There is no specific type of content that you have to stick to with clip shows, but one of the most popular examples is short, funny clips, such as animals acting weird, people having amusing (hopefully non-lethal) accidents, and generally, anything you might expect to find on the UK TV show, You’ve Been Framed, or America’s Funniest Home Videos.
The tricky part about this kind of video is getting the amusing clips in the first place. We’re going to assume that you don’t have an enormous stash of original funny clips waiting on your hard drive—if you do, great!—but it’s important to remember that content ownership is taken increasingly seriously these days, and you will need to at least try and get permission to use any clips that aren’t your own.
If you can’t find the owner of a particular piece of content and you decide to use it anyway, make every effort to find the original source of the content and credit it in your description. Many pieces of content are managed by companies who will license the clips to you for a fee, which may be something to consider as your channel grows.
If you have a knack for animation, you already have the perfect avenue for making videos that don’t involve your face being on camera. As an added bonus, if you are looking to parlay your love of animation into a serious career, getting your work out on YouTube is a great way to add to your portfolio to show future employers.
Animation content can cover an enormous range of video styles and topics. For example, you could animate your commentary videos to show a quirky cartoon character talking along with your voice. You could make full-featured cartoons with plots and story arcs that continue from video to video. You could make unusual art pieces with important messages.
The main point is that you do not need to have your face on the screen to make an animated video. Or you could strike an interesting middle ground and animate your face, using that instead of your real one.
As countless shows like South Park and Rick and Morty have shown us, cartoons don’t have to be visually artistic masterpieces in order to be popular and successful. If you are putting your animation out there with a view to using it in a future portfolio, do your best work. But if you are making something bigger and animation is just the medium you have to work with, don’t get too caught up in making every frame look perfect. Animation is a lengthy process, and you don’t want to end up taking months between videos.
Also, as a brief side note, animation does not necessarily mean hand-drawn art brought to life. You could also use claymation (or any kind of stop-motion animation) as well as 3D animation, just like VTubers do. If you have a skill, put it to use!
Reviews are an excellent way to create content on YouTube without showing your face since the focus of the video is the product or service that is being reviewed. In many cases, the viewers won’t have any interest in your face, especially if the review is of a video game or physical product. In those cases, the viewer often prefers to get a good look at the subject of the review, and having your face in the way makes that harder.
If you have a burning interest in a particular field—such as a particular type of electronic gadget, or a certain genre of game—reviews are also great in the sense that they are easier to monetise away from the YouTube Partner Programme. You can join affiliate programmes like the ever-popular Amazon Affiliates, and give your viewers a way to get to the product you are reviewing in a single click with the advantage that, if they buy said product, you get a cut of the profits. It should be noted that if you do go down this route, be sure to keep your reviews honest. If you get a reputation for saying nice things about your subjects in order to get your viewers to click on affiliate links, you will pretty quickly lose those viewers.
Like animation, hands-on videos have a lot of range. For example, just as we mentioned at the top of this section, the hands-on style of YouTube video is a good match for the above review videos. But what is a “hands-on” video?
In this type of video, your shot is focussed on the subject, which will typically be something small. As a rough guide, no bigger than a typical portable electronic device or board game. The name for this style of video comes from the fact that only your hands play a part, visually speaking. You narrate your content while your hands demonstrate, manipulate, and generally give the viewers something to look at.
A particularly apt example of this kind of video is keyboard demonstrations. The community around mechanical keyboards is a vibrant one, and there are plenty of videos that involve talking about a particular keyboard and then giving a typing demonstration, with nothing but the keyboard and the YouTubers hands ever being in shot. For the review style videos we mentioned, you would use your hands to move the subject to see different angles, highlight different features, and so on. All the while, you would be talking about the product and the aspects you are showing off with your hands.
If you have a flair for storytelling and a healthy curiosity and interest in things, you might want to try your hand at making YouTube documentaries. One thing that the Internet has helped to fuel is an increasing interest in all things by making it easier for people to find those things that they are interested in. The net result is that even the most obscure interests can typically be serviced online, and that applies to documentaries as well.
Documentaries are no longer limited to people braving the wilds of nature to capture breathtaking shots of beautiful but dangerous animals in their natural habitat. These days, YouTube has plenty of smaller documentary makers, making short but interesting pieces on a huge range of things, and the chances are there will be an audience somewhere for whatever you choose to make a documentary about.
Try to remember that documentaries are more than just raw information delivered in the form of a video. You should try to tell a story in your content to keep the viewer engaged, but without distorting or twisting the truth to make things more interesting. The best documentaries are engaging regardless of whether the viewer is interested in the subject matter.
If your healthy interest and curiosity revolve around more current events, such as the latest news, celebrity gossip, political events, and things of that nature, you might prefer a commentary video to a documentary. This type of video allows you to voice your opinions on things, deconstructing them and putting your point of view across. And, because you are just talking, you don’t ever need to step in front of the camera.
You could choose to combine this type of video with the clip show method, showing related video clips as you speak. You could even have an animated version of your face.
The scope of commentary video potential is vast. You could be talking about the latest atrocities committed by some government or another, the results of a big sporting event, even a just-released trailer for a new comic book-based movie. With this kind of video, it is especially important to inject plenty of personality into your content. Remember, there are lots of people online making these kinds of videos, and you need to give viewers a reason to want to come to you over a different YouTuber. Your personality may put some people off, but appealing to the lowest common denominator only works if you can get into a position of immense success, to begin with.
Recap videos are a little like commentary videos but with less personality. These videos revolve around current events, and there are two significant factors in their success. The first is timing, and the second is exclusivity.
If you are targetting a recap—rather than a commentary video—you are generally going to be delivering content based around something that has just happened and that many of your viewers might have missed. An example of this might be a high-profile boxing or MMA fight that was only available through an expensive pay per view. In an example like that, getting a recap video up as soon as possible after the event will typically net you a lot of views. And the fact that many people will not have access to the fight itself (exclusivity) will also get you a lot of interest.
Now, we mentioned that you don’t necessarily need to inject as much personality into these videos to succeed—and that is true—but it should be noted that if you can get the timing, exclusivity, and personality, you will have a strong foundation for success on your hands.
There are, of course, more ideas for how to make videos without showing face, as you will find in the video above. But, if you are looking at this topic because you are a little camera shy, why not try the video below.