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Blog Clinic: How to start vlogging

So, you've got a blog. You love writing it and feel part of an amazing online community  - but now you're ready for the next step. If you're considering vlogging - or if you've already started filming and want to up your game - this week's Blog Clinic is for you.

Video can be a hugely influential medium for bloggers, and smartphones and YouTube are making filmmakers of us all. Award-winning film director Vicki Psarias from Honest Mum shares her top tips.

Vicki Psarias will among the line-up of experts at Blogfest '15. Book your ticket herevlogging

1. Get the basics right
You don't need the technical skills of a pro to make good vlogs, but you should aim for the highest production values where possible. Most importantly, shoot landscape and make sure the image is in focus and the sound is fully audible.

2. What to shoot?
As with blogging, make sure your personality comes through - this is what viewers will return for. Keep your videos short - generally under 10 minutes, and often three is enough. If you want to score views on YouTube, bear in mind that users are primarily looking for answers to questions - tutorials will always be popular.

3. What about uploading to YouTube?
Keep your titles short, catchy and relevant. Think about SEO - what keywords will make sure your content is found? This is also important for your description; tags count for the least on YouTube.
Your YouTube channel is your shop window, so make sure you upload landscape images for every video, title your images too and order your videos into playlists. You could also make an introduction video.

4. Where to shoot
Most vloggers shoot in their home, but think about the backdrop - too messy or fussy and it'll be distracting, too flat and it'll look boring. Experiment with styling - fairy lights, flowers and ornaments can all be a nice touch. Filming in a different location? Make sure you seek the relevant permission.

5. Equipment
While you can use a phone or laptop, if you're thinking about vlogging regularly it's worth investing in a proper camera - there are plenty that will yield professional results without jaw-dropping price-tags. 

Bad sound will turn viewers off, so it's worth getting clip mikes and a directional mike for sound and doing sound tests. Also, consider a tripod to ensure your shots are steady.

vlogging equipment

6. How to light a shoot
Natural light and even table lamps can produce great results. If you're inside, have a window facing you.

If you want a more polished look for static videos consider these 3 main ways to light:

  • Key light – use a natural light from a window as the main light, or film outside (ideally in cloudy weather or in the shade).
  • Fill light – light behind the camera to fill the shadows created by the key light for a softer lighting.
  • Back light – placed behind you, it makes you stand out from the background.

7. How to shoot your vlog

If you're vlogging solo, pick up a small, lightweight monitor to hook up to your main camera or an inexpensive second camera with a long lead, so you can look at yourself while you are in your shooting position. A camera with a flip screen is also helpful so you can check you are in focus.

8. How to gain confidence

Fake it till you make it. And while you're doing that, shoot as much as possible, even if you don't use the takes. It's important to naturalise the process of filming.

9. Grow a thick skin

You're putting yourself in a public arena - take advice from those wanting the best for you and ignore the rest.

10. Editing and music

There are lots of editing software packages available for home use. Good ones include Sony Movie Studio, Photoshop or HitFilmPro3 - there are cheaper alternatives available too.

I always purchase music from Audio Network which is inexpensive. 

11. Getting your film out there

Make sure your channel is branded with your logo, url and watermark. Share the links on social media, especially Google+, and embed the film into a blog post to maximise reach. Do engage with your audience by replying to comments too.

Whatever stage you're at, it's well worth having an 'On Camera' section on your blog and including one or more of your best films on your sidebar. Use a screenshot on your homepage to avoid slowing your blog down.

Shout about your work too - if you don't promote yourself, no one else will.

Now get filming, folks!

We'll be updating this series regularly, so if there's something in particular you're itching to know - do jump on our Facebook page and let us know!

Still got questions? Book in to see Vicki Psarias at Blogfest for one-on-one advice. 

Don't forget to check out the Best Vlogger finalists in the inaugural Mumsnet Blogging Awards too for more inspiration.

Last updated: 23-Oct-2015 at 3:00 PM