I’ve posted several video blogs (vlogs) on my page in the past year. All of these have been unedited, uploaded on YouTube directly from my camera. It’s no camcorder and I don’t have a special microphone. Could the be improvements made in my vlogging efforts? Yes. Do I think it’s necessary to make everything perfect or to invest in the best/new equipment? No. If you want to start including videos in your blogging efforts, I suggest using what you have, what you can afford, and what you know how to use.
Vlogging is a great tool out on the farm or ranch. Sometimes words or still photos just don’t cut it. Maybe you want to show a process, facility lay-out, or even capture sight and sound. Video blogging is a great way to capture these subjects in the spur of the moment.
My camera is a Casio Exilim. It was a high school graduation gift from my mom and I have taken thousands of photos and hours of video with this camera. It is super easy to toss in the pickup, saddle bags, or carry in my back pocket during a day on the job. It has been super sturdy (only one crack in the screen from sitting on a sharp object) and has encountered a few spills and several drops. It does a great job outdoors, and can do ok indoors given time to adjust. The microphone is good quality but picks up wind easily, so I have to be aware of that. It’s no expensive camera, doesn’t take up a lot of space, and is an easy tag along. It does what I need it to.
I’m just getting into video editing with Windows Live Movie Maker. It was a program already on my computer. It allows blending of several video files and trimming and splitting of video clips. I can insert a few captions, sound, and slides into the videos. And when I’m finished the program has an easy upload button to YouTube.
I’m far from being perfect with vlogging, and my videos could definitely use some help, but here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way. Please include your suggestions in the comments section.
- Plan Content. Know what you will say in your vlog. Jot down some ideas, phrases, and plan what will be in the screen shot.
- Rule of :90. The average YouTube user jumps around video channels like a guy looking for the best Saturday Football. Capture your audience within the first :30 seconds of the video, after that you’ll likely only have :90 seconds to convey your message. Keep this in mind when doing #1.
- Background Distractions. Be aware of what will be in the background. Is there a post sticking out of your subjects face? Is there the neighbor’s trashy trailer in the corner? This also includes sounds: wind, running water, machinery. Don’t let sight or sound over take your subject.
- Take Two, Three, Four. Don’t be afraid to start over. It’s okay to stumble over words or make a mistake, but don’t be afraid to make another take until you are satisfied. I probably do four or five takes on average. Pay attention to #1.
- Hold Steady. Hold the camera closer to your body. The less stretched your arm, the more steady your shot will be. If walking or turning, go slow. Movement on video blurs the image.
- Rule of Thirds. Same for capturing photos, centering your object may not always be the best bet.
- Lights and Shadows. If you’re using a less expensive camera, your best videos will take place outdoors. Be aware of shadows from the sun. I often end up taking off my ball cap for the shot or end up fighting for position away from shadows.
- Be authentic. Share your story and be yourself. Have Fun.