Vlogging: More Tips (A BlogHer Conference Video Blogging U Follow-up)

by | Aug 11, 2011 | Video | 3 comments

Last week at BlogHer I spoke on a panel with Carley of DigiTwirl and Corinne of Craftovision.

I didn’t get a picture of us together (FAIL), but I DID get a picture of me with my microphone!

me and the microphone

And people. The room was PACKED! Word on the street is that many were turned away.

Not unlike Mary and Joseph were turned away.

And that is why I am writing this post here… Not that I took notes or anything (since I was speaking and all…), but it was liveblogged! Which means, if you weren’t there, now it’s kind-of like you were:



Though the session was 75 minutes… it still was not enough time. Additionally, Corinne, Carley and I all come from very different video publishing experiences. There was A LOT we could have covered, yo.

What I’d like to do here, though… is share some basics for those of you who are just starting out. I want to share just some things to help nudge you and encourage you to give video a chance… or to give you a pinch of courage. Sure, I could make a video post, but I’m not gonna. The beauty of being a blogger and one who video blogs is just this – I can do either! And you can too! Besides I have videos about vlogging here, here and here!

First… be mindful of the 3 C’s of video:

  • Sound
  • Lighting
  • Background

Oops. Those don’t start with C! I was just seeing if you were listening.

I crack me up.

Sound. If there is one thing to give preference to – it’s sound. If the sound sucks, so will the video. Short and sweet. Think about it, do you watch a video that makes you plug your ears or one you can’t hear? Do unto others, people. Do unto others…

Lighting. I go with natural as much as possible. But that isn’t always possible. My fancy-pants way of solving that problem is… I turn on every ceiling light and take the lampshade off a lamp and set it a few feet away. Sometimes 2 lamps. Understanding lighting takes some practice. When I am in my office with 2 red walls, I have learned it is harder to brighten-up the space. Rooms with lighter walls, easier. Practice and test. And sometimes I just say, “The heck with it!” because let’s be real… there’s no time like the present and I have my make-up on and I won’t be wearing make-up the rest of the week, so…!

Unless it’s sponsored or a paid gig… I sometimes go with the poor-er lighting. Otherwise, sometimes a vlog is a vlog and people maybe need to hear about your lighting fiasco.

Background. There are no hard and fast rules… but I will say this… if it looks like you have a filthy home… all I will be thinking about is the fact I would never eat food you make. In short – the background can distract from your point. Like a port-a-potty… unless you are vlogging about port-a-potties, maybe that shouldn’t be your background. Just sayin’.

Tips for the busy:

  • Bang out several videos in one day. I don’t do my hair and make-up everyday. SHHHH. I generally like to be somewhat groomed in my videos… so if I can knock out a few while I am all prettied-up… that’s all kinds of win.
  • (I am not saying YOU have to do your hair or wear make-up… But c’mon… you know you do…)
  • It’s OK to if your kid/dog wanders into the frame… or your phone rings. I generally try to turn off my phone, but you can make these interruptions work for you. People LOVE bloopers…
  • People LOOOOOOOVE bloopers.
  • It’s nice to change-up locations, but find a go-to space. One that has good general light, sound, ambience and let that be your default space. Get to know that wall/corner/where ever… You will become familiar with that area and that can help you save time in set-up, testing, etc…
  • A room without carpet or high ceilings or sparse furniture can affect sound. I have a GREAT kitchen area visually, but due to wood floors, tall ceilings and lack of furniture… it is not the best space when it comes to sound. Echo, echo…
  • Just like blogging, make a list of topics! I have made my fair share of “I don’t know what I’m gonna do” videos, and fine. Whatever. But the best ones are the ones where I had a little plan. Map out key phrases, and note creative shots and stuff.
  • I am so technical.
  • THAT’S the thing. You don’t HAVE to be technical, but there are some simple things you can be doing to make better video!
  • Length. Less is more.
  • OH! Here’s my one big piece of money advice – don’t let any one clip go more than 25-30 seconds. Keep people guessing. If you drone on and on, you’ll lose them… Chop. Chop. 10-15 seconds (or less) and insert a new clip. Keep with the tone and the theme you need, but since we can’t add special effects like Hollywood (all those flashy things keeps our attention) — we can add a sudden stop, start and/or switch. Or whatever you want to call it. My biggest piece of feedback about my videos is people like the short clips. I may get a boring clip in there, but they know I will be changing it up soon. Short. Simple. Fast.
  • There are exceptions to the above. But not many.
  • And when all else fails – edit.
  • And music. Royalty free, of course. Light background music or *zings* can add so much. You don’t have to, but you can. If you do, just be mindful that the background tunes don’t drown out the voice that is speaking. I will admit, I still struggle with this one.
  • One last tip to keeping it short – add text. If you lay text on video… you can weave in nuance/humor and save time. I like to use text as that subliminal message or inner voice. Try it. You’ll see

I think that’s plenty. It can be overwhelming. Start small. Focus on one or two things… and work new practices in. Baby steps.


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