There are so many cool videos out there on the web. You want to be the host behind at least one of them. Well, you need to start a vlog then. A vlog is a video weblog AKA a video blog. As with anything else you do on the web, the most important thing to nail down is content. You have to have something useful and interesting to say. But, you also need to have the right equipment for the job.
A Good Tripod Or Monopod
A good tripod is worth its weight in gold. Tripods are devices that hold onto a camera for you so that you get a steady shot. In general, the more money you spend on one, the better quality you get. Entry-level tripods start at about $30. For a good one, expect to pay over $100, but it’s worth it if you plan on doing a lot of video.
Alternatively, you could buy a monopod. A monopod is a device that allows you to have precise control over your video camera while still allowing you to move it around. This is ideal for action shots. So, for example, if you’re shooting you, or someone else, running, jumping, or doing backflips, you’ll want the flexibility of a monopod. Tripods just don’t cut it, because they’re too bulky and they don’t allow freedom of movement.
They’re designed to eliminate camera shake. A monopod will not prevent camera shake, but it can help cut down on the weight you have to hold – also a good idea if you’ll be doing a particularly long shoot.
Don’t settle for anything less than the best lighting you can afford to buy. The standard setup for film and photo shoots is a three-point lighting system. In this lighting setup, there is a “key light,” a “fill light,” and a “back light.”
The key light shines directly onto the subject – in this case, you or whatever you happen to be shooting. The fill light also shines on the subject but at an angle relative to the key. It’s also positioned lower so that it “fills in” the subject, erasing harsh shadows like the ones caused by a person’s nose. These are called chiaroscuro effects, and it’s something professionals take time to eliminate for a good shot.
Finally, the back light shines on the subject from behind and gives it a rim of light that effectively separates the subject from the background. This helps to define whatever it is you’re shooting.
If you’ll be indoors, try to buy 5000K or brighter light. This light mimics natural outdoor lighting. Also, pic up reflectors so that you can more accurately control the light source. Being able to bounce light from your back light or fill light will help further reduce harsh shadows.
A Good Mic
A good mic, like a Blue mic, is also a good investment if you plan on doing a lot of video. Professional mics cost thousands of dollars, but something like a Snowball gives you good quality at a price that almost anyone can afford. If you’re going to be doing the talking head thing, you can also invest in a lavaliere or clip-n mic.
If you’ll be using a mobile device to shoot your video, consider using iRig Pre or smartlav and iXY.
Use Your Phone
One of the best ways to shoot is to use your own smartphone. A phone? Yeah, a phone. You see, most smartphones these days have awesome cameras. There’s no need to actually go out and buy another one. Don’t think that smartphones are capable? Check out this series of films shot entirely with an iPhone. Some of these were even shot with a 4S, not even the 5 or new 5S – and the camera is even better on the new models. Plus, manufacturers, like Apple, are incorporating sapphire lenses to help the camera resist scratches so you can use this as a “daily driver” while shooting videos on the weekend.
Shoot A Test Shot
Do a test shot. See how it looks. Upload it to YouTube, and invite people to watch it. Have them use a program like http://youtubedownload.altervista.org/ to download or convert the video to see how it holds up. Programs like YTD install on your computer and allow you to convert YouTube videos to a video file on your computer.
The biggest issue with this is that you must always remember to respect intellectual property with video content – this is something you really need to make explicit with your viewers because not all YouTube channels want users to download its videos. And, when you do download videos, sometimes, some quality is lost in the video. But YTD downloads in HD, so it’s a great way to see how well your video is shot and edited, as well as have it passed around offline. Just remember to respect intellectual property rights when using downloaded material.
Use Professional-Grade Recording Apps
Something like Filmic Pro is probably going to be necessary to get the best shots possible. It’s a professional-grade video app for the iPhone and Android devices on the market right now. It “upgrades” your phone’s camera and allows you to shoot in 24fps, gives you advanced editing features, and produces one heck of a video.
Carmen Palladine is obsessed with online videos. Whether for professional or personal use, she knows the power of video and the importance of making and sharing them smartly.