This is the second part of my three-part ‘Essentials For Videoing’ vlogging series. Now, whilst I don’t consider myself an expert in any way, shape or form… I have spent this year filming and uploading vlogs and have learnt so much that I hope sharing that knowledge with you will make your vlogging journey, if you chose to take it, easier. I’m including some hints and tricks that I have also picked up along the way.
Last week I wrote a blog on the technical equipment I have found you need to film a vlog and listed the equipment I use and why.
Today’s blog is a list of other things to think about when vlogging. I hope you find it useful.
What to Vlog
Your first decision is deciding what to vlog. This leads on to where you should vlog, which camera and tripod to use, a script (if you need one), your appearance and all the following points.
Looking on the internet it seems that vlogging can be done for any subject, so choose your’s and off you go. Make sure that it is something that you care, are enthusiastic or are knowledgeable about as people can tell if you are trying to create content purely for views and people love to watch someone talk about a subject that they truly love.
As I am doing this as a career, I have a strict schedule for vlogging so I can work out easily what the next video is and when it is due to go live on my channel. To help me, I have recently starting using a whiteboard. This was mainly brought into play because I needed to get ahead so that I could take a complete break when my Dad took me to Spain for my birthday and Mum said I couldn’t work while I was away and had a total break from caring for my Uncle, watching over my Nana and doing my own work.
I wrote up the list of things I upload for both my YouTube channel and my blog down the left hand side of the whiteboard and the date the week commenced across the top, with the days of the week underneath. Then I wrote one-word notes of what needed to be prepared, what I was uploading when and what stage they were at for example: (E) – editing, (W) – write, (F) – film, (D+W) – do and write, (W + W) – watch and write, (U) – upload, (T + D) – title and description.
Every week I make a ‘weekly vlog’, where I tell you about what I have been up to in the prior week (link here). Then I started filming ‘gluten and yeast free baking’ videos (link here), ‘style’ videos (link here) and alternating the ‘style’ videos with ‘whatever I want’ videos (link here), as well as creating five blog posts a week.
Using the whiteboard clearly showed that filming the vlogs was the most important thing to do so that I could then edit them during the day on my big computer in my studio, then write blogs on my phone when I had to be up at the house.
I found this a very useful way of keeping me on schedule and I plan to continue using it. My life is often interrupted because of things out of my control so it’s important for me to know what the next best use of my time is when I have five minutes spare. I am also hoping this will eventually help me reach my goal of being ten weeks ahead on both my YouTube videos and my blog posts.
Where to Vlog
Your second decision is where to vlog which of course usually depends on what you are vlogging.
My weekly videos can be filmed almost anywhere, at home, out in public, with or without friends, with family or on my own.
I am still anxious at the thought of ‘weekly vlogging’ in public, so I film in my studio at the end of the day and, recently, my Mum gave me the challenge of making it about the best thing that happened in the day. I face a lot of challenges being a carer, and sometimes it is difficult to focus on just the good things, but, having been set the challenge, I have been happily surprised to find that something good does happen every day.
So, basically, for filming my weekly vlog segment for the day, I need a quiet place, a light backdrop and not too much background noise (yes, this is aimed at you my puppy who snores, eats and plays in them sometimes!)
With my gluten and yeast free baking videos I need much more space, but use a plain background, my big tripod (link here for what I use) and a cupboard that is doubling up as a table, so that I have enough room. Again, background noise is important to minimise, a challenge living next to a train line, but this is the only place I can film my gluten free and yeast free baking videos so I am making the most of it.
For my style videos I use a different wall for my background and need enough room to have a rail for the clothes I’m going to display. The camera needs to be on the big tripod way back so I can move around and model the clothes as well.
My ‘whatever I want’ videos are filmed wherever makes sense, using the tripod that fits and whichever background suits.
I hope to become more confident as time passes and vlog outside, which will give so much more choice of natural backgrounds and better lighting.
Once I’ve decided what I’m going to vlog, I think hard about my appearance. It may sound vain, however, I feel that looking right is a huge part of uploading a successful final product. So, I think about what I’m doing and look through my wardrobe to see what fits.
I once saw a vlog of Zoe Sugg baking cupcakes with multi-coloured sprinkles and she wore a dress with multi-coloured polka dots and I would love to afford to do something similar, however, that’s for the future when my budget allows.
I also think about my hair and only plan vlogs (apart from my weekly vlog) for days when I’ve washed my hair as it is bouncy and looks great. I also don’t want to get into the habit of washing my hair everyday as I feel that this won’t do it any favours in the long run, and the days that my hair looks less bouncy allows me to spend my time editing, test baking and writing my blog posts. This is less of a problem now that I’ve re-styled my hair shorter (link here for the transformation video) but I still like it to be clean.
Now, this may vary from video to video, but your background is extremely important.
When I started filming, the colour of my background wall was a very dark brown which didn’t look good when editing, so I bought some paint and changed it to a white wall which made everything look so much brighter and, therefore, better.
Choosing a background colour is obviously up to you, but I would suggest making it light so that you stand out more, while thinking about the colour of clothes you will wear (you don’t want to clash!) and it should enhance you, not draw your watchers’ attention away from you!
Watch out for inappropriate items slipping into the background that you only notice when editing (too late!), for instance a plate with the remainder of your lunch on I would not consider a good thing, or a pile of paperwork that you haven’t got around to sorting yet.
Do include accessories that are special to you. I use my stuffed dog Shep, along with my unicorn money box, my glass ‘Beauty and the Beast’ rose and some John Lewis drinking glasses that I love as part of my background.
These are all things that make the video more ‘me’ and hopefully adds a touch more of my personality to my videos.
Before filming I think hard about what the video is about and the points I want to cover. I have, over time, developed a set intro and outro and catch phrase which helps me start and end each video and it’s almost like a mental note to remind me to zone into the ‘vlogging me’ when I use them when filming. The intro phrase and catch phrase puts a smile on my face and makes it easier than trying to think up a separate opening phrase each time. The outro phrase helps me finish each vlog without having to think how to end them, yet again saving me time.
So I research the topic or recipe and make notes. Then I think it through, listing down one word or short phrases as reminders. I tape these notes just under the camera so I don’t forget to cover all the important points or tell my audience an important message at the right time (like for instance, pre-heat the oven to …).
Over time I’ve made laminated sheets for listing the equipment and ingredients needed for my baking videos, followed by a note for the oven heat needed, and the cooking and cooling times. This is great because I use whiteboard pens and they allow me to write down the notes, and rub them off again for the next video. This means I don’t need to refer back to my phone or computer when I need to film it, it’s all there ready.
This is a moving target and the overall notes are updated frequently and added to, but the basics are there. Using a script works for me and I hope will help you.
Just a quick thought and possibly one of the most important things I have learnt, is not to worry about messing up when filming or getting every video perfect every time. This is where the magic of editing lies and where it becomes invaluable, but more of that later.
Well, that covers equipment, my next blog will cover editing and electronics.
Remember be brave, be happy, be kind, be you!
See you next time…