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Getting User Input

Producing your very own vlog

Ever hear of a portmanteau? It’s when two different words are combined to form a new one that best describes the situation. Think about Brangelina, the couple known separately as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, or staycation, the stay-at-home vacation, though it’s generally more home than vacation. In the video world, the portmanteau of choice is vlog, the strange blend of consonants that brings together the words video and blog.


Before the turn of the millennium, one might take the odd word vlog to mean something completely different. And since then, what constitutes a vlog has morphed immensely. But these days everyone knows about the vlog. Some of the most successful content creators are themselves vloggers. The vlog has, in fact, become a staple of YouTube. Some vlogs are quite funny, and others, truly infor- mative; some are simple, and others are highly produced, yet way too many are simply not worth watching.

That’s because vlogs are poorly produced, or they lack focus in their subject matter — or they suffer from a combination of both. Like most other staples, the bar has been raised on what’s now acceptable.

Here are some suggestions to maximize your potential when it comes to your vlog:

» Use a good-quality camera. Though a DSLR produces the best quality, a point-and-shoot camera or even a webcam — as long as it can capture

HD — works pretty well, as shown in Figure 4-7. Plus, it’s simple to use and requires little, if any, setup.


The built-in webcam on a MacBook makes it easy to shoot

the next installment of your vlog.

» Use a separate microphone. It may not always be easy to work with a microphone, but trust us — it’s often worth the aggravation. Why have your

voice sound tinny, distorted, or muffl    when all it takes is plugging in an external microphone? Even a cheap one makes your voice sound better than your camera’s or computer’s onboard microphone. You can even use a lavalier, as shown in Figure 4-8.

» Be consistent. If you’re looking for an audience, think of yourself as a brand. That means the format should remain consistent with each video. Be original

and spontaneous. Here’s an opportunity to show how unique, creative, funny, and talented you are.


A lavalier clipped to a lapel can greatly improve audio quality.

» Use good lighting. These videos are about you, so if you think the overhead

lamp and illumination from your monitor will suffi     think again. Whether you’re outdoors or indoors, we strongly recommend making sure that there’s ample light. If you don’t want to use photo lighting, a plain household lamp (with shade) that’s capable of providing bright, soft illumination is a good place to start. If you’re out and about and can’t set anything up, make sure your setting is one with a suffi          amount of ambient light, natural or otherwise.

» Don’t ramble. The diff          between a great vlog and a terrible vlog

depends on several factors — the host’s sense of presence, the subject matter, and the length, for example — but it’s the host not getting to the point that often acts as the deciding factor for the viewer to move on to another video. Don’t be that person. Instead, plan in advance what you want to say or what you’re going to do, and when the time comes to record it, manage your delivery eff                      Be sure to capture several takes so that you end up sounding as fl  as possible.

» Don’t count on needing only a single take. It’s not a sport, nor is it some-

thing you need to do live, so always take your time and reshoot parts that aren’t perfect — not just for getting your vocal delivery right but also to make the video visually more interesting. You can do that by shooting each take from a diff angle or by framing your subject a bit diff