So you want to be a video blogger?

by Sally on February 14, 2011

This is a guest post contributed by Pippa, who writes a fantastic blog called A Mother’s Ramblings – Pippa was winner of the Best Family Fun Blog at the 2010 MAD Blog Awards, and is a regular video blogger. We asked her for her top tips about creating memorable, and entertaining video blog posts:

The old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words has new meaning when you start thinking about adding Video blogging (or vlogging) to your blogging repertoire.

Just like a traditional written blog post, vlogging is a chance for you to show those who read your blog just what was going on at a specific moment in time, or even what is on your mind.

I have used video in blog posts to show moments of our lives that words just couldn’t describe, such as Baby Boy taking his first few steps or the amusement that we have together as a family. They can be used to make reviews more entertaining or just to give some light hearted relief!

To start making vlogs all you really need is something to record on.

There are plenty of different tools that can be used such as a webcam, or a camera with video function, or even a video camera such as a Sony Bloggie or a Flip. If you have a phone with a video function, that will work, too. Whatever you feel most comfortable using or have available to you is fine.

As you can tell, I don’t think there are really any rules to vlogging (you can do what you like) but I do have some tips to help you make the best video that you can:

  • Decide what you want to talk about beforehand and if you feel more comfortable write notes with bullet points of the things you absolutely want to include, or even a full script, just to keep you on track. Not that I ever waffle…
  • Be yourself. No seriously, don’t try to be someone else or be something that you are not. When the real you shines through you will create something magic! And whilst we are on it don’t be afraid to do something different if that is what you want.
  • Most people, when talking on camera for the first time, talk too fast. Talk slower than you think you need to, and try to leave pauses here and there to let people catch up.
  • Don’t worry about seeming too professional, that will come in time. The um’s and ah’s will slowly stop (at least that is what happened when I did a radio show every week!) the more video blogs you make.
  • If you are filming yourself talking to camera, make sure that you are in the shot (unless you are anonymous!), that you are lit well and that you can be heard. There is nothing worse than checking back afterwards and realising that the camera has been focused on your right ear. If you have one, consider using a tripod as this will help with the positioning for the camera.
  • Do a quick check of what’s behind you before filming. You really, really don’t want this video to be the thing that shows your boss what sort of lingerie you like because half of it is drying on the radiator behind you.
  • Be aware of privacy issues, too – if you’re filming at the table, are there envelopes there with your name and address showing? Can you see through the window to see the name of your road? Do photos show the name of the school your kids attend? Spend two minutes just checking you’re happy with everything that will appear on screen before you hit ‘record’
  • If you are behind the camera, try not to use the zoom unless absolutely necessary – on a small picture, zoom quickly becomes really disorienting for the person watching. The same rule applies to using a pan or tilt shot – less is more. It’s better to physically move closer to something if needed.
  • Do keep an eye on length. A video blog really should be less than five minutes in length, because otherwise people start to drift off, or even worse click the little x to close the window!
  • There is no reason why if you want to you can’t film something twice. If you are talking to the camera then you can film as many times as you want. It is really simple to use video software to edit the finished videos together.
  • Once your video is recorded, you can use simple programmes like iMovie or Windows Movie Maker to edit together your clips, or add titles and music.
  • Next, you need to upload your video to the Internet. You can upload video clips to Facebook, or to public video sites like YouTube, Vimeo or Google Videos. Be aware that uploading can be REALLY slow, and may take several hours.
  • Once the upload is complete, you will be able to view your video on the YouTube website, but you can also copy what’s called the ‘embed’ code next to your video – if you paste this code into a post on your blog, the video will be embedded, as we have done in this post.

Of course you can ignore all of this advice, and randomly film anything you like, just like I do…like, me, disco dancing in a lift at Butlins.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Marylin February 15, 2011 at 8:58 PM

I may have started dancing at my computer to the disco lift… ;)

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Karen Jones February 16, 2011 at 1:20 PM

Great post Pippa, would have been soooooo much funnier if you had kept dancing when the door opened !

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Alex February 17, 2011 at 9:47 PM

I miss those disco lifts sooooo much!!!

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Aly February 26, 2011 at 12:24 PM

Oh your so funny! Have made notes.Now how do I get to review a video camera?

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Andrea Wren March 10, 2011 at 9:05 AM

Hi Pippa – an excellent and informative post! I have yet to start video blogging but for my blog (a travel site) it would be very effective. I’ve never been that sure of the technology to use, though my camera will be fine, I’m sure.
So, on my next trip I do intend to make a vlogg and post it!

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