These are some of my best tips on improving your blogging abilities. Some require money, some require your common sense and a little preparation.
Lighting is very important in the sense if your viewers can not see you well, it tends to make for a crappy video. Obviously, if you are doing a spontaneous vlog at night in the city somewhere and streetlights are your only source of lighting there might be little you can do to improve that and that’s ok, given that not every vlog you will do will be like that. Lighting can dramatically improve your vlogs if used correctly. It works wonders for photography as well. Poor lighting will not necessarily ruin your vlogging, but it will certainly not improve it. Lighting can change your viewer’s perception of your vlogs in different ways, usually only for the positive because you are bright and highlighted. Proper lighting will make you “pop out” in the video and make you the focus of the vlog.
Bad lighting will often make the viewers distracted or probably worse, bored because they can’t really see well what’s going on and might just hit the next button. Will you always have the absolute best conditions for the best videos possible? No, you will not and that’s ok though, most high-performance cameras will have the ability to see and process light better than your eyes will. Even in low light they have the ability to process the film in a way that creates much brighter picture than appears to be in reality. Natural sunlight often times is enough to make perfectly great films or vlogs. If you’re in a room at night though and want to vlog you should turn on all lights in the room that you can to get the best results and clarity. If you’re looking for more than what your overhead lights will provide, check out super cheap lighting kit that can make or break your vlog.
It is very often one of the most overlooked things because you will not realize the audio quality of your vlogs are bad until after your finished. Even though YouTube, Vimeo or other platforms people upload their vlogs to are “video” sharing sites, no matter how great your video is if no-one can hear you, then you’ll have to go back to your day-job. Viewers will tend to be forgiving if your video quality is sometimes bad, viewers will almost never forgive you if you consistently put out videos that no-one can understand what you’re saying or there is so much audio interference from wind, background noise or something unaccounted for. Viewers will expect your audio to be perfect, your viewers have likely watched TV for years and expect perfect audio quality because that is the standard on TV. If you want to attract viewers to you channel you can’t afford to have less than what your viewer’s current standards are. If your audio is disruptive or not balanced correctly you will lose viewers and fans (or never gain them to start with). Check out my Microphones page to get an idea of what you can do to improve your audio quality.
Generally speaking about audio quality, if you own a relatively good camera like the Canon G7X or 70D the internal microphone of the camera will usually be good enough for indoor recording where there is not too much noise that will disrupt your blog. This is on a very basic level of audio recording though, your voice will probably not be as full or clear sounding with a internal stock microphone. There are countless videos on YouTube that will compare and contrast stock microphones vs. upgraded or external microphones. The majority of the time you will see “and hear” having an upgraded external microphone will absolutely improve your vlogs. Starting out if you can’t afford an external microphone, then you should always be conscious of your environment and be close enough to the camera to get good audio quality. If your on a really tight budget and can spare few bucks for a very sizable gain in audio recording than buy the Rode VideoMicro. It is probably the cheapest and highest quality microphone you can get that will give you better results.
Motion creates emotion! It’s true whether you realize it or not, tell me which would you more likely to view and continue to spend your time watching; a guy sitting on his couch talking to the camera for 5-10 minutes with no movement or a guy that’s out doing something, moving around – possibly showing you something you have never seen or done and explaining something he wants to talk about?
My guess is you would probably pick the guy or girl who doing something, moving around. Why? because it’s naturally more exciting and attention worthy. It’s fun to show your viewers some things they have never seen, it may be something you have done or seen thousands of times yourself, but with the power of the internet, you will have viewership from all over the world and somebody say for example Europe, Asia, California may have never seen your city on the East Coast and vice versa. So it makes sense to get out there and show off a bit what you’re doing and where you are at.
Imagine a movie where a guy sits on the couch and just talks to you and explains whatever he is talking about. Does that sound like a movie you would want to go see? Probably not, naturally motion creates emotion, incorporate movement into your vlogs. Your views and subscribers will increase with more variety in your vlogs. It’s certainly ok to sometimes sit down and simply talk or explain something. Often times it is completely necessary and makes for good content as well. My suggestion is to limit this type of vlogging because it can get boring for your viewers after a certain point.
Ok, so a camera is probably the first thing most vloggers tend to be concerned about. It’s really not the most important tool in the shop though. The core principle of being a vlog, is the content being in video format vs. print or text such as a blog or book. Having a “good enough” camera is essential for making high-quality vlogs or videos. This website talks about several different cameras to vlog with and any choice of cameras from this website will get you good results. Do you need to purchase a new camera or have a high-end camera? No, not necessarily, the reality is many cameras that are not too old, say made after 2012-2013 are capable of taking nice videos for your vlogging. So if you have an old one lying around it might just do the trick.
Does using an older camera you might already own or can obtain for a low-cost mean that you will be able to compete with (video quality) some of the vlogs coming out right now? No, the newer technology is almost always better and improved. The technology in cameras from 5 years ago is good enough to start vlogging, as long as the camera is of good quality and features when you got it, basically meaning it probably wasn’t a low-end model. It should be over 12-13 mega pixels at a minimum if you’re considering using an older camera. Pay attention to battery life while filming and also the overall video quality and audio recording capabilities.
I recommend the Canon 70D as my top pick for a value-minded vlogging camera that will last you for several years to come. The technology in that camera is reliable and will be good enough for several years to come, even though it has recently been replaced with it successor the Canon 80D. The Canon G7X or Canon G7X Mark II is my next pick as of this writing. You might decide either one of these cameras is not right for you and that is ok depending on your circumstances and preferences. The camera itself, is obviously a critical tool for vlogging, but it is not the only thing to consider, as any camera no matter how expensive it is, it will not make you appear to be star or look well with out all the other considerations. The next consideration is the most important even above your choice in cameras.
The most important thing that you can possibly do to increase the quality of your vlogs is CONTENT! Content is King! It just is and always will be, if you don’t have good content then no-one will care how perfect your lighting, audio and camera’s picture is. I can’t cover what all goes into producing good content in an article like this because that’s a whole separate topic. But to keep it simple and sweet your content should be entertaining or helpful. The viewer will not care about you sitting on the couch complaining about how hard life is or how your parents made you mad, etc. The viewer wants to gain something from the experience of watching your vlog. So to keep it simple, you need to offer something worth seeing!