Right now, “vlogs” are starting to become popular in movies and television, on YouTube, and just for fun. They’re short, or long, videos about what you did that day, an interesting place you’re at, where you’re exploring, and a lot more topics. Basically, a blog but with videos instead of words and pictures. Before starting our road trip to Death Valley National Park, I decided I wanted to start a video blog on YouTube.
I wish I could say that my inspiration for starting my video blog was something like meaningful, but that would be lie. I saw a couple people on the internet doing it and a celebrity or two and I thought that would be pretty cool. I decided I actually wanted to do it for two reasons;
- I went to go see Spider Man; Homecoming and the movie opened with Peter Parker doing a “video diary.” I thought it was awesome that all these little clips were strung together and showed what was going on.
- After this, I thought it would be a cool idea that, in addition to my blog, I would start a video blog because I could show people what I was looking at through my eyes and what I thought about where we were at that moment. It would give me another chance to share my travels, experiences, little life clips, and more.
Here’s the hard part. You have this amazing idea and you’re totally ready to start, but let me tell you this: It’s so hard! To actually step in front of the camera, talk naturally, and not look super awkward is difficult. I’ve never been camera shy, but doing something like this is a lot different. Performing and pictures are easy for me because during a performance I know exactly what to do and in a picture all I have to do is stand and smile. However, in my videos, I have to come up with what I’m going to say on the spot, talk like I’m telling you about my day in person, and not look like weirdo doing it.
A key thing for videos is really getting into it. No one wants to watch someone who just stands there, is kid of monotone, or is too quiet and talking too fast. So, you have to be 110% into it by using exaggerated gestures, talking like your on a radio show, smiling, plus a lot of other minor things.
“You don’t have to be great to get started. You just have to get started to be great.”
When I first started, I felt very uncomfortable. Since I had to be a little over the top, I wouldn’t film anything if a single person other than me was around or could hear me because I felt embarrassed and I was worried people would think “what in the world is that girl doing?.” Eventually, after doing a few videos, I realized that people all over the world are doing this, especially teens, and I have nothing to feel weird about. But, I still would wait until only one or two people were around.
Recently, we went to San Francisco and it’s typically an extremely busy city bustling with people, which means I wouldn’t be able to wait and film in solitude. This trip was the trip where I had to do my ridiculously exaggerated videos with a crowd full of tourists around. I got over my remaining awkwardness about it and embraced the fact that this is really fun and cool to be doing and I’m trying something new.
Sure, my first videos weren’t the best, but as I keep going and learning more and more, they’re getting better and better.
What I’ve Learned And My Tips
Doing a video blog has taught me what to do and what not to do.
- My number one word of advice is: do not look at yourself in the camera. In “selfie” mode, you HAVE to look at the camera lens no matter how hard it is to divert your attention away from your face. It looks like your looking off in a different direction and that’s weird to watch.
- Take your time! You do not have to rush yourself and end up mispronouncing words, talking too fast, etc. In fact, it’s better to take your time and do as many takes as you need.
- Avoid saying “um.” Figure out what you’re going to say before you hit record so you”re sure of what your saying. And if you do, that’s what retakes are for.
- Try new angles. As good looking as you probably are, no one wants to watch a 2-3 minute video of your face. Try doing some panoramic videos of your scenery, some closeups of things around you, maybe a time lapse, plus there are a ton more. I like to have someone else hold my phone and record me for a change in perspective because you can still see me and the landscape.
- I always end up laughing at myself after watching all of my bloopers. Don’t be too hard on yourself because you’re going to mess up. Laugh it off and keep going.
Along the way, I’ve found some things that improve my videos and help me:
- Obviously you want a YouTube account or any other public video site to showcase your videos and work.
- One if my favorite things to us is my PopSocket. You can use it as a stand, a grip if your doing a moving shot or if it’s windy, or as a grip so you don’t drop your phone. I like it because I don’t have to figure out how to hold my phone around it’s bulky body.
- To go along with this, I use a PopSocket Holder. You can literally stick it to anything to hold up your phone so you can use both hands.
- Another thing that makes a serious difference is my Selfie Light. If the lighting around you is weird or it’s dark, then you can use one of its three settings to provide a natural light to make you look better in your videos.
Want to see some of my videos? Check out my YouTube channel at Natalie Bourn or check out my video below!