By now, most of you have seen me (and my husband) in all our crazy glory on camera. Video camera, that is. If you haven’t seen us, you can watch us on my YouTube channel.
That crazy thing we do is called “vlogging” – video blogging!
Vlogging is not a difficult thing to do, but there are some important steps you can take to be sure you make the most of your vlog. In this post, I’ll talk about being on camera, types of cameras, and editing/uploading. Eventually I’ll do more detailed posts on each of these, but this is a crash-course on vlogging!
But first, I want to tell you my #1 piece of advice for folks new to vlogging:
Just turn the camera on and talk. You can always edit later. Editing is your B.F.F.
The first thing to discuss when discussing vlogging is the fear of being in front of the camera. Most folks are
hesitant terrified of being on camera, hearing themselves talk, vlogging in public, and so on.
Trust me, I get it.
I hate hearing myself talk. I think I sound like a country mouse.
I cringe when I am editing videos and I hear myself laugh. But you know what? I post the videos anyway. I’ve made it through 28 years of life with people hearing me talk and laugh in person, and they usually don’t run the other way… so what’s wrong with me talking and laughing on video?
Being on camera is intimidating in other ways, especially if you’re vlogging in public. So here are a few simple tips:
1. Look straight into the camera.
2. Be aware of your “framing” – you don’t want to be zoomed in too close or out too far. Don’t cut off the top or bottom of your head!
3. Be aware of lighting. Backlighting is bad, and happens when there is a bright light behind you that makes you look dark (like you are just a big dark figure). Be sure you are facing the light.
4. Check your audio. A vlog is no good if your viewers can’t hear you! Also, be careful not to vlog in the wind or other potentially “loud” scenarios.
5. Look in the mirror before you turn the camera on. Do you have flyaway hairs? Something in your teeth? Something up your nose? Those things cannot be edited out of an entire video – so fix them before you start!
Now that you’re ready to be on camera, you may be wondering… what camera should I use? You have several options when it comes to cameras. Here are my thoughts on each:
1. A webcam: These are good for quick vlogs and you don’t need a tripod – the camera is generally pretty stable. However, you are limited to your surroundings – you can’t get up and walk around. Lighting is generally not great with webcams and your audio may be a little funky too since you are likely using the computer’s microphone.
2. A small handheld camera: My favorite! A lot of vloggers use Flip cameras (which are no longer being produced so they’re hard to find) or point-and-shoot cameras with excellent video capabilities. I use a Canon point-and-shoot camera for all of my vlogs. I use this one:
3. A DSLR camera: most of us know what this is – a digital SLR camera. These are awesome for vlogs where you will be sitting down and can set up the tripod, lighting, audio, etc. just right. These are not ideal, however, for “on-the-go” vlogging. These are also very pricey!
4. A true video camera: You know, the handheld video camera. These are facing a lot of competition these days with DLSRs and the video capabilities that DSLR cameras have. These are also pretty pricey and you will want to do your research before making a purchase!
I recorded my vlog… now what?!
So you know what to do on camera… and you had the right tools for it… now what do you do with this footage you have on a memory card?!
You can certainly do a “one-take” vlog, which means you don’t edit – you just record and upload. If you want to edit, you will want to be sure you have some sort of video editing software on your computer.
The most popular ones are iMovie and Final Cut. I have used both, and while Final Cut can do all the fancy schmancy editing, iMovie is easier to use and has a smaller learning curve. If you have a PC, I have heard that Sony has good editing software as well. There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube (ironic, huh?) for editing software so don’t buy a book or anything… just watch an 8 year old kid show you how to edit. I’m not kidding.
You will also want to have a good hard drive – videos take up a lot of storage space. I bought a 1TB (terabyte) external hard drive from Costco for around $80. It’s small, lightweight, and perfect.
While editing your video, try to incorporate your “brand” into the vlog. A link to your blog, your logo, etc. This is usually good at the beginning or end of the video.
Now that you’re done editing… what should you do with your video?! YouTube is the biggest, most popular place to upload and “host” your video. Google owns YouTube, and videos are now showing up in search results, so YouTube is the best place to upload your video. Sites like Vimeo are also good, but your video is less likely to be found on a smaller site.
If you have a gmail address, you can log onto YouTube and you have your own YouTube channel. You can customize your channel, monetize your videos, respond to comments, and more.
The bottom line is that to vlog, you have to be willing to put yourself out there. Have fun on camera. Be creative when editing. The more you do it, the more fun it gets. Keep in mind you can record vlogs and never upload them – just for practice!
What questions do you have about vlogging for future posts? Let me know in the comments, or email me (melissablogs at gmail dot com).