1. Don’t need expensive equipment
If you are just starting out, I don’t recommend getting expensive camera. Start with whatever camera you have around you. Focus more on the content of the video instead of camera. It’s not about how much you can spend on expensive cameras. It’s all about what you do with your camera. Just because you have expensive cameras, it doesn’t mean your video is going to look professional. Your video still can be terrible with all the expensive gear.
That being said, your camera should be able to shoot the video in 1080p HD. Right now, almost all the cameras on the market equipped with 1080p HD standard. But if you are on the budget, 720p HD should be acceptable.
If you don’t have a camera, you can always use your smart phone. Now days, everyone has some kind of smart phone, and almost of the smartphones have very good built-in camera and mic.
In terms of video editing software, you can always start with free ones. Here is complete list of free video editing software you can consider. Many of the free editing software can do basic editing, so it is a good way to start. But of course, all the free software are limited what you can do, so as you get better, you can slowly upgrade to better video editing software.
2. Don’t forget the audio
Have you seen some of the videos where you can’t really hear the person talking, or there is a loud buzzing in the video? It pretty much ruins the video and you end up not watching the video. Even though you don’t need expensive equipment, you still have to think about the audio.
Most likely, you can get away with built-in audio in your camera. Many 0f the point-and-shoot cameras and smartphones have descent built-in audio. But if you use DSLR camera, built-in audio is not very good. So you might have to think about getting external mic that you can connect to your DSLR. Also Gopro camera doesn’t have great microphone.
But there are few things you can do to get the best quality audio as possible.
If you are shooting your video indoor, make sure you are shooting in the quiet place. Try to avoid shooting you video outdoor if you do lots of talking in the video. But if you have to, make sure you choose quiet area and there is no wind blowing. Once the wind is blowing into your camera, you pretty much ruin the audio. If you have to shoot your video outdoor where there is lots of wind, you might want to consider getting windshield for your mic.
Basically, you have to think about the audio before you start shooting your video.
3. Study film making techniques
You can make your vlog looks more professional by using many of the filming techniques. It is easy to just hold the camera to your face and just shoot. But if you take some time to figure out different way to tell your story, you’ll stand out from rest of the vlogs out there.
You can learn a lot by watching movies or TV shows that you like and studying them. Whenever you see an interesting shots, ask yourself, “How did they do that?” Sometimes it is very helpful to see frame by frame and see how they put the shot together. If the camera is moving, pay attention to the way the camera is moving. Look for different type of camera angles and how they edited the video.
Pay special attention to the transition or cuts. Video transition is a technique used in the video editing where different scenes are put together to tell a story.
Casey Neistat’s vlog is good example. He is a filmmaker and one day he decided to create a daily vlog using film techniques to tell his stories.
4. Never shoot video vertical
Don’t make a rookie mistake of shooting your videos vertically. This mistake is often made by those who are shooting video using your smartphone. Unless you are using video for your social media such as SnapChat, there is no reason for you to shoot video vertically. Avoid Vertical Video Syndrome!
5. Use tripod
Nobody wants to see shaky videos. Use tripod much as you can when you shoot your video, specially when you are talking on the camera.
Try to avoid shooting videos while you are moving. If you need to shoot while moving, make it very short. If you need to shoot long moving shot, use some kind of stabilizer. Now days, the gimbal stabilizers are getting very affordable, and there are gimbals for many different types of camera. Here is review of Smooth 4 Smartphone Stabilizer by Zhiyun.
Many vloggers use mini-tripod such as Gorillapod. They are popular because they are easy to use and easy to carry around with you. When you use mini-tripod such as Gorillapod, be sure to choose the right size for your camera. If you have big camera such as DSLR, you need to get bigger Gorillapod. If you have smaller point-and-shoot camera, you can use smaller Gorillapod.
Gorillapod isn’t the only mini-tripods that is out there. There is Gekkopod.
..and there is Fotopro UFO.
6. Always think about lighting
Before you shoot your video, one important question you need to ask yourself is, “is there enough light?” We talked about importance of audio, but the lighting is just as important.
Sun light is the best light source, so try to utilize sun light much as possible. Best place to shoot your vlog is in front of your windows where you get much sun light as possible.
But I know we can’t always shoot the video in they day light. Sometimes, you have to invest some money on lighting equipment. One option is to use three different light sources to light the subject.
If you are shooting video where you are talking in front of the camera, you might want to consider using Diva Ring Light.
7. Use right music
Music is very important part of video production. Select the right music based on what kind of mood you are going for on your video. Music can be also used as transition to break off the video into different sections.
Always avoid using copyrighted music on your video. There are many original music that you can use on your videos that are not copyrighted. If you are not sure where to get your free music, check out this post – Ultimate Resource for Free Music for your vlog.
8. Simple is the best
Make your video simple and basic. This means, don’t add cheesy or weird transitions and effects. Make the video simple as possible to tell the story.
9. Tell story
At the end, focus on the content of the video. Tell your story. Before you shoot your video, just think about what is your video going to be about. Try to think about beginning, middle, and the end. Avoid shooting random things and go all over the place with your camera. Focus your video on one or few things at a time.