Sometimes the best part of vlogging or making videos for YouTube or just yourself is always having a camera around to capture the moment as it happens. How many times have things come up or happening and you wish you had a camera or something better than your smartphone to capture the footage? I live on a busy farm where stuff is always happening or people are coming and going. There is actually quite a bit of interesting things that take place on a good sized farm that are interesting or funny and although I like to capture some of them on video, half the time it’s hard to always have a camera available.
These are some basic common sense strategies for setting yourself up to get great footage when the opportunity presents itself.
I always recommend as a vlogger you should have a camera close by at minimum. Usually, for most people, this is the smartphone in their pocket. This is a good strategy for simplicity. Most smartphones made in the last year or two take really awesome video for most close up situations. I almost always carry my smartphone with me most places and usually try to have it mostly charged if I am going to leave the house for awhile. So although that sounds so incredibly simple it’s a staple as a vlogger to have a camera available all the time. A fully charged or mostly charged smartphone will usually get you 15-25 minutes of good solid footage before draining your battery into the danger zone that no-one ever wants to go into, the dreaded red coloring on the battery. I usually stash a power bank in my car or camera bag for situations where I will need more battery juice.
When I am looking to film on my Canon 80D or high-end DSLR for a more fuller and better quality of picture I usually keep my DSLR right in my living room on a sturdy tripod. I don’t keep it in the closet or in my camera bag or somewhere out of reach. I keep it right in the middle of where my foot traffic activity is and that is in the middle of the house, in the living room. This always allows me to start a vlog very easily if the mood sets in or it allows me to easily grab the camera if I want to take it outside of the house to record something. This might sound very basic like I said earlier but it really can make or break a potentially great vlog or video just by simply having a camera available.
I don’t leave the camera laying around on the coffee table to accidentally be dropped, have the dog knock it over with his tail or have it get soaked if I spill a cup of coffee on it in the early morning. I keep it out of the way but yet conveniently available. I also keep my smaller tripods on the shelf next to it if you look really closely you will see a handful of Joby tripods on the top shelf in the picture where the “y” is. That way I have all my like-kind camera equipment together and always know where to find it. This isn’t rocket science, just being organized. Although as you can see some of my books are a currently a mess, but that’s ok, I usually strive for realistically practical vs. perfection. 🙂
The next piece of practical advice that is essential for a vlogger is always having charged batteries available. That high-end vlogging camera will be worthless without a charged battery. I recommend at the very minimum having two (2) batteries for your primary vlogging camera as it is always far too easy to shoot some video footage throughout the day, drain one of your batteries and then need another battery before the other can even finish charging. I personally recommend for comfort a minimum of three (3) batteries for extra convenience if your are serious about vlogging or use your camera a lot. I have often times had a jam-packed weekend visiting something new that I record, burn through 2 batteries on Saturday; get busy that night and forget to charge the batteries and then hit the ground running again Sunday morning with something else I want to record but now don’t have the necessary batteries charged.
So always having a charged and extra battery ready to go, this may once again sound like common sense but it should always be done for the sake for future videos you want to make. I am at the point I keep a battery in my DSLR camera at all times and have three (3) extra batteries around that are charged, that way I don’t ever anticipate running out of battery juice under normal circumstances.
The next piece of advice I will offer to be prepared is again about batteries but this time talking about external microphone batteries. Most serious vloggers or people who want professional results from the videos use an external microphone for the best quality of sound. Most of the time these external microphones use a 9 volt or AA batteries to power them, always make sure that you have these available. I always carry an extra 1-2 batteries for my external microphone simply because they are so small and cheap to purchase it would be ridiculous to have your microphone quit in the middle of your vlog because you ran out of battery juice. I 90% of the time or more use a Rode Stereo VideoMic Pro which is about the size of a baseball and uses one 9-volt battery, the battery is said to be rated for around 70 hours worth of juice for this model. I have never tested it exactly but I wouldn’t be surprised if it actually goes longer than 70 hours, never the less I would not want to run out of batterry juice when I need it!
When getting ready to record video when using an external microphone I automatically just turn it on and have it ready, even if I might not shot for several minutes or a long period of time simply because if you don’t turn it on and start filming your audio will be completely blank and will ruin your vlogging if you are talking. DO NOT make that mistake, saving a few minutes of battery life is not worth the inconvenience of always turning the microphone on and off and potentially forgetting to turn it on when you really need it. It’s quite easy to forget, so just when you are ready to start filming soon, turn it on and leave it on until you are done. Always keep a spare battery ready to go though in case you have not changed it in a while.
These are some basic tips for always being prepared to vlog. Recapping the article into a few basic words, keep your camera close by, have a few extra batteries available, make sure those batteries are charged, and make sure you have charged batteries available for your external microphone. These are some incredibly basic tips but without practicing them you could potentially lose out on capturing some really great video when you really want to. Don’t be that guy, you can’t vlog about how you missed out on some really great vlog footage because you forgot to charge your camera battery or worse you lost it and can’t find it because you are not organized.