So you've decided to start a video blog, great. Now as you know, ninety nine percent of video blogs are absolutely awful. The one percent that aren't bad tend to grab a whole lot of viewers. So, how do you get into that top one percent? Well, besides great content, a good sense of humour or interesting commentary, it all starts with presentation and production value.
“Production value? I'm just pointing a webcam at myself!” yes, that's true, but nevertheless, production value counts, and production value starts with your vlogging room. Here's how to get it all set up.
Set Design for your video blogging room
If we're talking about a vlog, set design isn't nearly as complicated as when you're filming a movie, but it's still something to consider. What sort of vlog are you doing? You can just set up in your bedroom and call it a day, but if you take a moment to dress the room up in a way that reflects your blog's content, viewers will appreciate the extra effort to lend the room some atmosphere.
You may want to take a moment each week to make sure you're keeping the room nice and neat. They say that the camera adds ten pounds, well it also makes a room look ten times as messy as it actually is. Unless you're doing a vlog from the perspective of a slob, keep it tidy or expect a bunch of comments making fun of you for dropping your laundry on the bed.
You should choose a room where you can get some peace and quiet, such as your bedroom or your office or the garage. Now, vlogging in Florida, vlogging in the summer is tough, because the best way to get crisp, clean sound is to turn off the air conditioner. The AC just makes too much noise. Make sure the TV is off and, if you can hear it, unplug the fridge when filming. I good microphone is one of the most important aspects of great video. Look into getting a simple lavalier or lapel mic that you can pin to your collar.
With a window near by you can usually get away without adding additional lighting is already there, but if you want take your production quality to the next level, invest in a lighting kit. You'll certainly need this if you are going to be filming on cloudy days or in the evening. Just be sure that people can clearly see your face while you're speaking into the camera.
You may want to do a few test shots to be sure you're not overdoing it. It's fun to play with lighting, but if you want the focus to stay on what you're discussing in your video blog, then you'll want to keep the lighting simple and prioritize clarity of image over giving the room a brooding atmosphere for no real reason.
Selecting Video Equipment: Going Pro vs. Staying Amateur
If you're just doing the vlog for fun, then you'll probably be improvising from the start, using whatever camera and equipment you have handy. Over time, though, you may want to step up your game with some more professional grade and prosumer grade equipment.
If you want to start out with professional grade equipment, well, it's going to be pretty expensive. Setting up an at home studio can cost up to two grand just to buy the bare essentials. If you're vlogging for an employer or a client, that's one thing, that's an investment, and you probably have a corporate account to draw from in budgeting your studio, but if you're doing it for yourself, for fun, then wait until you have some viewers coming in regularly, figure out how to monetize your vlog with affiliate marketing or banner ads, and then use the revenue from the vlog to upgrade your home studio.
Webcam and Tripod
You should invest in a quality webcam and the Logitech C920 is the logical choice. A good tripod can come in handy to especially if you want to record with your iPhone or Android mobile phone. Watch this video and discover the Best Webcam and Mic to Get Started!
Get Out of The Room
Now and then, viewers will appreciate it if you take them outside of your home studio. It can really switch up the look of your vlog and make things more interesting. When leaving your studio, just bear in mind that you don't have as much control over everywhere as you do over your studio, so keep a few tips in mind when it comes to shooting in the wild.
First of all, be wary of light levels. Learn how to use your camera's exposure settings so that your footage doesn't wind up looking too dark or over exposed. Shooting outside with natural light is generally a great way to ensure that you get full light coverage.
Secondly, if you can't control the noise levels outside, you can always dub it later with a voice over, it doesn't all have to be live.
And finally: have fun. If video blogging gets boring for you, then what's the point? Just improvise, play around with editing software and have fun with it.