Vlogging is the most popular mode of dispersing information. It is increasing in popularity every day. What is vlogging? Well, on a blog you write about yourself, your thoughts, your opinions and experiences right? On a video blog, you are doing the same thing only you record what you are saying instead of writing. Vlogging is short for video blogging.
What is the equipment you need to start a vblog?
The camera is your best friend. Choose the best one you can afford. A good handheld digital camera with audio will give you high-definition video. These are the most popular amongst viewers. You also get a polished video with these cameras. Can’t afford one? Well, your laptop and smartphone have good quality cameras too.
Whether you use a camera, laptop or smartphone, make sure to keep the camera focused at eye-level. This gives a natural look and is a lot more conversational. This is your aim with a vlog, you want to engage your audience with your conversational tone throughout the video.
Look at tripods for cameras or smartphones. You may need to adjust the level correctly. There are a lot of inexpensive ones available. Invest in better ones as your vlog increases in popularity if you want.
When using a laptop or smart-phone, keep them within an arm’s length so that they pick up your speech easily.
If you are using a camera/video recorder with a built-in mic you may still need an external mic that you can plug in. Just remember to check the sound levels in the mic before recording and now you are good to go!
There are cameras without mics, so what do you do in this situation? The best thing would be to use another audio device to record what you are saying and then use an app to sync the two. If you are in this situation, clap your hands at the beginning of the video and the audio device will pick it up. This makes it easy to sync both later with an app because the audio will show a spike that you can now sync with your clap in the video. Bingo! You have synced both in a snap!
A word on the audio: Be aware of the environment where you are recording. Are there heavy winds, a fan, or an AC making a lot of noise? These will disturb your video, maybe even drown out your voice and not give you quite the results you expected.
The sound may be low despite these precautions, in which case you will need a good post-production app. Avoid all this editing later on by experimenting with positions and environments till you find one that has the least post-production editing and save yourself a ton of time!
If you need music, YouTube has a library of free music that you can use. Look it up.
The all-important factor in taking a video from mediocre to great is lighting. Again you don’t need to spend a ton of money in the fledgling stages of your vlogging career. Make sure you shoot your video in natural light to start with. When shooting indoors put the camera in front of a window so that natural light falls on your face and the light is behind the camera/recorder. When shooting outdoors make sure the sun is not falling on the lens but on your face. The idea is that your face should not be in shadow.
You can use a backlight when shooting indoors, with the light behind you so that your head and shoulders are lit from the back but be careful the light doesn’t show. When this light behind shows it can make your face dark and so ruin your video. Experimentation is the key to taking great videos, so don’t be afraid to try different effects.
Now that we have covered the basic, let’s get down to the little things that can turn your vlog channel into a piece of art that viewers will love to come to again and again:
- Practice a few times and study the results. Is this what you were going for? If not, redo.
- Decide how much time you want your video to last. The ideal time is two minutes. If you have something really interesting to say research does show that viewers can sit through a 6-12 minute video before they start to drop off. Timing is everything.
- Prepare a tentative schedule. Make a note when you get an idea. You can change your schedule according to what you want to focus on first. Planning helps you to avoid the rush of last minute production.
- Study the trending videos and decide on a niche early on. You want to build relationships with your subscribers quickly to establish yourself in a highly competitive field.
- Think about who is going to be your target audience and speak relevantly to them. Just like in blogging, study your audience’s preferences in style and topics.
- Have a title that people can remember. It can be quirky or funny, something uncomplicated..
- Learn to use apps for editing videos. Moviemaker and iMovie are a few apps. There are many others that you may prefer.
- Be conscious of the background when recording. Use a white wall, a soft, light-colored curtain or another background you think is interesting. People probably don’t want to see your messy bed or dirty stained walls. Get the picture?
- Hang in there. Practice, practice, practice and it will happen. No one was born ready for the screen.
Thinking of what tools you need to have an effective vlog? Well you’ll have to join us this Sunday, on 12th August at 9.30 PM to know more!
We started this unique campaign #LightsCameraChatter with the purpose of imparting skill and knowledge on video blogging. With that in mind, we bring to you our fourth workshop with Kartik Nijhawan who is the Head of Multimedia at Newslaundry. He’s a journalist who has managed videos and podcasts before. Click reminder now to not miss this opportunity.