Most video blogs on the Internet can be found on YouTube. They represent a special form of information exchange – an audiovisual blog entry. Most video blogs have nothing to do with the presenter’s usual range of topics. They often show the personal side and provide an insight into the everyday life of the video maker. Unfortunately many video blogs are neglected and poorly produced due to their secondary role in relation to other videos on the YouTuber’s channel. As a result the general opinion of a video blog is that it is a quickly recorded, unedited message made on a hand-held camera. I believe that a video maker should put in as much effort as they can for all of the videos they produce. For a bit of assistance, I will list five of the biggest video blog mistakes here and show how they can be avoided.
Error #1: Going on and on like there’s no tomorrow
You should always keep an eye on the length of the video. Try not to make it longer than 5-10 minutes. The longer the video, the more likely it is that the viewers will lose interest. It is best to provide a brief overview of the topics at the beginning of the video. This method draws in the viewers’ attention! Of course you want people to get to know you better through your video blogs. However you should select your topics carefully without putting too much emphasis on yourself. You shouldn’t recite your entire resume – a rule of thumb is to stick to one to three topics per video blog. This is perfectly adequate and you can draw from a large pool of possibilities later on.
Error #2: No creativity
Making your video look better doesn’t necessarily mean using compulsory special effects or color correction. There are two main editing techniques to make short homemade videos more attractive: cuts and transitions. A type of cut particularly popular for video blogs: the L cut or Jump Cut, also in conjunction with a zoom. The video becomes faster and more dynamic by applying this technique. Using jump cuts also makes the video shorter.
Movie Edit Pro, for example, has many transitions to choose from. I especially like the simple Alpha Magic transition, which fits perfectly with flashbacks. With this, you can visually process the narration of past events even better.
Error #3: No setup or the wrong setup
I continually see underexposed videos. There is a very simple solution to solve this problem. There are, for example, light kits, ring lights, or LED video lights that you can either position to your film location or directly mount to your video camera or digital SLR camera. It is very difficult for viewers to follow the entire video when there is insufficient lighting.
Don’t annoy your viewers with shaky videos. Web cameras that are already attached to the monitor are often used for filming. But what should you do with camcorders and SLR cameras? The solution is obvious – set up a tripod. You don’t have to spend too much on a stable model. A flexible 3-meter telescopic tripod is not required. Think about what you want to do with your videos. A tripod for 15 euros is sufficient for any good video blog. I don’t think anyone should be subjected to watching shaky videos for a long time. The same applies for the video sound. Most recording devices have an internal microphone. If you are unhappy with the sound, you can either rework the sound or set up an external microphone which you will then connect to the camera.
Error #4: No perspective
A video blog is something personal. Normally the camera settings “Medium Close Up” (upper half of the body against the background) or “Close Up” (head against the background) are used. I’ve already experienced seeing half of the speaker’s head disappear off the screen or being able to see just the forehead. For close-ups, it is important to either position yourself in the middle or to stick to the rule of thirds. It also makes sense to integrate different perspectives during the video blog – this makes your video more animated. If you’re not sure whether you have positioned yourself well, simply rotate the display of your recording device. This way you can align yourself to the best position. If this is not possible, simply make a test recording.
Error #5: Stagnating and not improving yourself
There is no shame in learning from others! Video blogs are like anything else in life that you want to learn to do: watch and be inspired by other video bloggers that you like. Look at the techniques and ask yourself what the video blogger does so well. And then it gets even better! Pay particular attention to the little things, such as the choice of words or the timing of the music. Perhaps you want to record you video blogs while standing instead of sitting? Maybe you want to edit a new intro? Or change your background? As long as you are happy with your videos yourself and you keep them varied, the more chance there is that other viewers will enjoy them.