My First Vlog - Fear vs Finished Product

I am not a fan of having my photo taken, I never have been! I remember cracking a tantrum when I was all of 5 years old because I didn’t want to have my photo taken on a family day out; I don’t remember why I was so against it but I do remember getting my way.  I’ve always been pretty good at avoiding being captured on film but now in the midst of adulthood, I not only fail to avoid having my photo taken, but I’ve even had to put my face in front of a video camera for our YouTube channel - oh the horror!

Up close and personal

Alas, this is marketing - and video? Well…If you’re planning to market yourself, your blog or business, or you’re simply trying to extend the reach of your content - it’s time to accept that video is where it’s at! Who knows, in the future we may all be small screen stars, and piece to camera experts, but for those of us who aren’t quite there yet and still feel as uncomfortable with a camera as we did at 5 years old, I’ve put together my top 5 list of ‘things not to do’ for successful video blogging.

No 1: Forgetful me

Don’t presume that just because you’ve written the content you’ll be able to fluently reel it off once in front of a camera. The camera is evil, it looks you up and down making you nervous and clammy, it fixes its aperture on you and just like the neuralyzer (flashy thingy) in’ Men In Black’ -  you forget everything.

How to overcome this?  Know your subject, know the few key points you want to cover, take a deep breath, speak slowly and don’t over complicate things; be as natural as possible.

No 2: the hot box effect

Don’t underestimate the illuminating heat of lighting – If your first video takes a little while to get right (and believe me, mine took a ‘’little while’’), then those lights looming over you can get rather hot; you start peeling off your clothes and before you know it you’re recording an episode of the naked news. Make sure if you’re filming week after week or day after day, the environment you’ve chosen is well ventilated and apt for filming. Wear appropriate clothing and try not to hyperventilate, it’s okay, just count backwards from 10 and roll with it!

No 3: Auto cue = auto fail

You may want to keep something on hand to remind you of the story you are trying to tell and keep you on track when recording, which is fine – but don’t rely on cues.  Having to stick to a script can actually make you more distracted and forget where you should be looking and what comes next.  Just take your time and appeal to the camera as if it really were your friend.

No 4. Noise

If you are filming outside, ensure you aren’t too near to passing traffic and the mike you are using is directional or equip to cancel out or muffle background noise.

If filming inside be aware of noises that could come from the room and disrupt filming. During my vlog filming there was a very noisy air conditioner that made sporadic rumbling noises even when turned off.  I had to re-record additional takes, and repetition can mean frustration, both for you and the camera crew - time is money!

No 5: Don’t forget the constraints of time and budget

Your first video session will invariably take longer than you originally conceived. It will take time to set up your location and find out how everything looks and feels. It will take time to get used to speaking in front of a camera, and in front of cameraman or even a webcam.  Be realistic about what you can achieve and leave room for the challenges you won’t be expecting!

So that’s my top 5 things to be wary of during your first vlog! Although daunting and a little stressful, my first vlog recording was a fun experience and the more I get used to the idea of looking ridiculous in front of the world, the less I care. The main thing is to give the audience value and engage with them, video is the perfect platform for getting right in front of your audience and building the relationship at face level. So... despite a shaky start (literally, my fingers were trembling - if you can, find something to hold onto) I would recommend giving vlogging a go – you don’t have to be the next viral superstar but you might just surprise yourself!


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