Video blogging made easy

With the rise of internet sensations like Jenna Marbles and Suzelle DIY, it seems that if you want to be famous – or even just semi-famous – then YouTube is the place to be. Easy enough, right? Start up a channel, post a few videos, get some eager family members and reluctant friends to share them, and voilá! Your three step process to online stardom is complete.

However, just like most things in life, it’s not actually that simple. Curating your content and turning it into watchable material takes time, and the amount of effort you put into your videos can make or break their popularity.

I wouldn’t go quite as far as calling myself a video blogging guru, but I’d like to think that after all of the time I’ve invested in YouTube (none of which falls within standard working hours *cough cough*), I’m able to provide a few helpful tips to anyone wanting to embark on their own vlogging venture.

1. Choosing your device

What to film a vlog with

If you don’t own a camera with video capabilities and you can’t beg, borrow or steal one from a friend, never fear – a plan can be made. You can make do with an iPhone, iPad or even laptop webcam but there are things you need to take into consideration:

  • Keep the iPhone/iPad horizontal. This prevents black bars from appearing on the side of the video when you upload it.
  • Avoid using the front camera as this has a lower resolution.
  • Always do a test shoot first to judge the video quality.
  • Make sure the device is stable (use a tripod or prop it up on a flat surface).
  • Make sure the device has adequate battery life to avoid it cutting out and you losing footage.

2. Sound

The quality of your audio is one of the most important aspects of shooting a video blog. If people can’t hear you clearly, why would they keep watching? Remember these points:

  • Make sure the microphone is clear from anything that may muffle the sound quality.
  • Do a test shoot to assess how loudly or softly you need to speak.
  • Make sure your environment is free from any background noise.
  • Similarly, make sure your environment doesn’t provide an echo when you speak.
  • If you’re in a room with windows, rather keep them closed. This prevents you from having to pause what you’re doing to close them if the wind picks up or it starts raining, both of which can create noise.

3. Lighting

What light to use when making a vlog

The right lighting can take your video blog from amateur to professional in a matter of seconds. In order for your audience to build a connection with you, they actually need to see who is talking. So when it comes to lighting:

  • If you’re relying on natural light make sure you face where it enters the room to avoid a background glare.
  • Avoid filming in the late afternoon when the light starts getting weaker towards sunset.
  • When using artificial light, avoid big rooms with dim lights. Choose a smaller room to maximise the benefit of the lights.
  • Make use of three point lighting – one light behind you at 45 degrees and two in front of you at 45 degrees each.

 4. Environment

The environment you use for your video sets the tone. You should spend some time carefully deciding which type of environment would suit the video you want to create best:

  • If you’re shooting at home, avoid popular rooms where people or pets could easily walk in and out.
  • Make sure the room is appropriate and clean. No one wants to see dirty laundry or an unmade bed in the background.
  • If you’re sitting down, pick a comfortable seat with a neutral background that won’t distract viewers from what you’re saying or doing.
  • If you’re shooting outdoors, remember you are at the mercy of the elements. Choose a decent day where you won’t have to worry about unfavourable winds or rain.

 5. Appearance

How you present yourself on camera will determine whether people will take what you have to say seriously or not. Mould your appearance based on what the audience will expect to see:

  • Clothes need to be clean and well maintained. Avoid anything with holes or stains (no matter how small they are, there are trolls that will pick them up).
  • Take some time to do your hair – you don’t want people to think that you’ve just rolled out of bed.
  • Shoot your video when you’re alert and fresh. Struggling to stifle a yawn mid-sentence can make things get awkward fast.
  • Take care to check that your teeth are free from food and, if your hands are going to be visible, that your nails are neat and clean.

6. Editing

Using YouTube editor for your vlogs

If you’re lucky enough to know someone that can edit your videos for you, then definitely get them involved. If you’re not looking for anything fancy, then YouTube has a few video editing tools that you can use to spruce up your video a bit. Play around with the tools here.

Once you have the above tips nailed down, you will be well equipped to make your vlogging debut!

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