Unsure of where to start your journey into the highest reaches of the vlogosphere? This quick guide will help you along the path toward vlogging success.
Image via Fun For Louis
Vlogs — routinely produced, bite-sized, personality-driven videos featuring day-to-day activities and lifestyle content — are one of the hottest videography trends of the last few years. The biggest vloggers aren’t just big. They’re huge. Good Mythical Morning alone has collected almost 11,ooo,ooo subscribers and garnered over 2,5oo,ooo,ooo views since 2008. People are making money as professional YouTubers — and you can too with these easy steps and equipment suggestions.
1. Choose the Right Camera
Image via YouTube
Versatility is one of the most important qualities to consider when picking the right camera for everyday shooting. You need to be able to get up and go without worrying about the capabilities and/or limitations of your camera. Vloggers have quite a few camera options at their disposal:
- Canon PowerShot G7 X – $649
- Canon EOS Rebel T5i -$649
- Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV – $948
- Canon EOS 70D – $999
- Sony Alpha a7S II – $2,998
- Sony Alpha A7R II – $3,198
Of course, remember that your camera is only a means to get your story to the people. Successful vloggers know that telling an interesting story is everything. Find an angle. A unique focus. Filtering the world through a one-of-a-kind perspective is the best way to compel people to watch.
2. Maintain a Steady Shot
Image via Shonduras
Given the hectic, unpredictable nature of filming a vlog, it’s tough to know what the shots will be or where your day might end up. Maintaining a professional, visually appealing aesthetic is a top priority when trying to gain subscribers and followers. Spare your audience a case of motion sickness and stabilize your camera.
Gorillapods, like the one seen above, are stellar for quick tripod setups. They’re also perfect for maintaining a steady shot at a comfortable distance from your face. Manfrotto’s PIXI Mini Table Top Tripod (seen below, via B&H) is an excellent accessory for point-and-shoot cameras. Plus, with the KLYP+ attachment, you can even use the PIXI Mini to stabilize an iPhone.
Keep in mind, you don’t necessarily have to think small. Sometimes you just can’t beat a standard tripod when capturing a timelapse or still shot. Solid models start at less than $100 — just find one that fits your needs and budget.
3. Pay Attention to Audio
Image via B&H
Vlogs are not meant to be cinematic masterpieces. They’re fast-paced, brief, and directed at viewers who aren’t expecting world-class quality. Nonetheless, bad audio can ruin your final product and chase away your audience. If you want keep your subscriber’s eyes glued to the screen, make sure their ears are satisfied. One of the best audio recording options on the market is the Rode VideoMic Pro, which will set you back about $200.
Again, you simply can’t beat consistent, clear audio. Unless your vlogs require boom mics and intricate staging, Rode’s the way to go.
4. Don’t Neglect Lighting
Image via F&V Lighting
Lighting for a vlog is a bit tricky. You’re usually on the go, or you don’t have time to stop and properly light yourself or your subject. Obtaining a well-lit shot takes practice, but knowing how to position your body and camera in relation to the sun or nearest light source is crucial. Small LED panels (like the Z96 above) are moderately affordable, coming in between $100–$200, and they can be attached to the top of your camera.
5. Perfect the Edit
All the footage you capture throughout the day/week/month is worthless if it doesn’t end up pieced together in an entertaining way. Video editing can be tedious, but it’s vital to the success of your project — so be prepared to spend some serious quality time with your NLE. Some YouTubers (Casey Neistat, for instance) prefer Final Cut Pro X. Others, like Ben Brown, edit in Premiere Pro. Just go with the one you’re most comfortable with because you’re going to be working with it constantly. The scheduled, routine nature of vlogging demands it.
Getting into the flow of shooting and editing a video per day/week/month takes discipline, but it is possible. Below, previously mentioned travel vlogger Ben Brown demonstrates how he edits his daily vlogs.
Get Inspired: Six Successful Vlogs
Vlogging can be liberating, emotionally and creatively. Frankly, there are no rules for content, structure, length, you name it. Vlogs must simply be engaging. They must compel people to subscribe and return for every new episode.
For some vlogging inspiration, check out these successful channels. Notice each creator’s approach and the atmosphere they cultivate. Remember, it’s their one-of-a-kind view of life that keeps people coming back again and again.
Sam and Niko (from Corridor Digital)
Got any tips for up-and-coming vloggers? Share them in the comments below!