Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Does the Camera Love You? Maybe Not...


Many of the bloggers I subscribe to have suddenly turned to video blogging overnight, it seems, and as is the case for many of us, what I used to be reading I am now watching. The video revolution (ie. You Tube) has truly taken over the internet, and for the most part, it's a good thing. In many ways, it's faster and easier to view a video then read through a long blog or article. But those putting together the videos (the new directors, actors, and set designers of our generation) need to be cognizant of the fact that one cannot just set a camera up and hope for the best. Over the last few weeks I have seen truly excellent videos, which succeed in getting their message across in a professional and clear manner. I have also seen some odd ones, where there were all kinds of problems that the videographers were more then likely not aware of. In one video I viewed recently about blogging tips, the woman's face was so close to her computer camera that there was an odd fish eye effect. Also, she was apparently in her office during the filming, but the background was dominated by a dark prison-like window that I found very distracting. In another video, there were two individuals being interviewed. One was clearly comfortable being filmed, but the other was visibly squirming in his seat, and kept pulling at his shirt collar in a very distracting way. In yet another video I viewed where a woman was announcing the launch of her new business, which was supposed to empower women, she herself looked exhausted and admitted that it was 1 am and she couldn't wait to get into bed. I'm sure this was not good for business. I asked myself, why the rush to put out a flimsy quality product when she could have produced something on a weekend or on a day when she wasn't so wiped out? Not only was I not interested in her business, but I felt so sorry for her I almost e-mailed her that she should try and get some sleep.

The timing of this blog is not accidental, as I am about to start a series of videos featuring some of my book and film reviews, and I plan on keeping the following tips that I have come up with in mind:

1. Do the best you can to maximize sound and film quality. There is nothing worse then not being able to see clearly what's going on, or to hear what's coming out of people's mouths. If the content is not clear, people are not going to spend the time watching, so take the time to get it right, no matter what equipment you are using.

2. Be aware of what's in the background. If you are using flowers, for example, make sure they aren't wilting, as was the case with one video I saw, and that they are set far back enough so they don't look like they are sprouting out of your head! Go for a solid or nonbusy background, and make sure there is adequate lighting.

3. Make sure you know what you want to say ahead of time. Perhaps it's not necessary to memorize everything, but I have seen videos with many more "ums," and "well...ugs..." then I care to admit. Practice what you are going to say, and at the very least, edit out all the extra mutterings you don't need, they won't do anything for you.

4. Make sure your company name and/or logo are well displayed at the beginning and end of the video. It's all about branding, and you aren't going to get any name recognition of no one knows your name.

5. Check out vlogblog.com, it's a great resource for video blogging and contains content such as
video shooting tips, monetizing content, great links, technical tips, and other resources.

These are my tips for now. Has anyone seen any odd or poorly done videos, or conversely any really great ones that they'd like to share? Let me know and I'll post the link. And in the meantime, happy blog - oops, I mean, happy "vlogging."

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