This is a very basic guide to vlogging. Really, specifically how I vlog as a person who does this for fun. I started off recording long and unedited vlogs, and now my vlogs are short and edited. I care about making good videos, but I’m not big into video production. This is how I vlog quickly and easily.
- Camera: I mostly vlog with the camera built into my Mac (and sometimes my iPhone). Use what you’ve got.
- Lighting: I basically turn on every light in my apartment when I vlog. If it looks really dark, I will drag a lamp up close to my face or take the shade off. If it’s light enough out, I also open the blinds for natural light. Experiment with the lighting in the space you have. It’s really important that we can see you.
- Camera angle: You know how to look better on camera? Use the right angle! I put my laptop on a high surface (on a chair if I’m sitting on the floor or on a stack of books if I’m sitting at my desk).
- Environment: Choose a quiet place with as few distractions as possible. If you can find something interesting to sit in front of, that will give your video a nice feel. I often sit in front of my bookcase.
- Content: You don’t have to have the whole video planned out, but have some idea of what you’re going to talk about. Tell us your topic so that we know and you know.
- Engage: Look at the camera like you’re talking directly to your audience. You’re not just having a conversation that a camera happens to be witnessing. You are here with a purpose, and it’s amazing how interested your viewers will be if you look interested in what you’re doing.
- Film to Edit: I know that I’m going to edit my videos, so I record them in such a way that they will be easiest to edit later. Instead of shooting for one take, I record in little vignettes. So, in the first I will just introduce myself and say what I’m going to talk about. Then I think about what to say next and record that part. In between is a bunch of me just staring at the camera or touching my hair, which I edit out later. This gives my videos a faster pace and allows me to cram a bunch of information into a short video. Instead of slow talking and ummmm, I get right to my point and then move onto another. The ummmms hit the cutting room floor (or the blooper reel).
- Record Very Little: If your goal is to edit a vlog quickly and get it up online, then don’t record a bunch of footage that you’ll just have to sort through and edit later. For my 55 second intro video, I recorded a total of less than 2 minutes of footage. Editing took me only a few minutes. Sometimes if I’m dealing with a complicated topic, I will record 6-8 minutes and then when I get frustrated trying to edit it down, I just re-record the whole thing; now that I already know what I want to say, it’s easier to record it quickly and leave out the rambling. If it’s going to be easier to re-record than edit, then that’s what I do.
- Editing Software: I use iMovie, which is the free editing software that comes with every Mac. Windows Movie Maker is free on PCs. YouTube also has editing features built into their site. This information will be iMovie-centric, but hopefully relevant even if you’re using other software.
- Start with everything: I open a new project and immediately import everything I recorded into that project. I want to start with everything I have and then edit out what I don’t need. As opposed to just dragging what I want to use into the new project. From here it’s just about cutting instead of mixing and matching.
- Cut: Since we recorded with editing in mind, this should be fairly simple. In iMovie, I highlight what I want to cut out and just hit the delete button. Having recorded in little vingnettes allows me to just cut out all the dead space between where I last stopped talking and where I started talking again. What’s left is just me talking! Now, someone who actually knows what they’re doing could make these edits fancy and stylish, but sharp cuts are not all that noticeable and serve me just fine, even if my hair looks a little different from take to take.
- Review: I edit a video the same way I edit a blog post: I go through it all, focusing on spots that need work, and then I watch the whole thing from the beginning to the end at least once to be sure it’s as tight as possible.
- Upload: I usually upload directly from iMovie. I keep my video private until it is completely done processing and then I watch it again to be sure everything is in sync and edit the title/tags/thumbnail to be sure everything looks good. When I’m done with that, I make it public. And, bam, you’ve vlogged! I can do this whole thing in 15-20 minutes.
- Last note: Call it vlogging (blogging with a v). Not vee-logging or v-blogging or video blogging (unless you still say electronic mail). #VEDA is either veeda (what I say) or vay-da.
If you are just getting into vlogging or just making the move to start editing, then I hope you found this helpful. If you are ready to take things further, then I would suggest bothering Nico, Patrick, Pham, Joey, or Rachel (they know what they’re talking about). Happy vlogging!