1. Don’t need expensive equipment
It’s not about how much you can spend on expensive cameras. It is all about what you do with your camera. Let me put it this way, just because you have expensive cameras doesn’t mean your video is going to good professional. You video still can be terrible with all the professional gears.
That being said, camera should have at least 1080p HD standard. Right now, almost all the cameras in the market have 1080p HD standard. Even the cheapest ones in the market should be acceptable. So you don’t have to spend a fortune to buy a camera.
If you are going to talk a lot in the video, you also need to consider camera with good microphone. Audio is really important because you want your viewers to be able to hear what you’re saying clearly.
If you don’t have camera, you can always use your smart phone. Now days, everyone has some kind of smart phone, and almost all the smartphones out there have very good built-in camera. Also many of them have decent built-in mic to shoot your video with.
When you get down to it, good quality video is all about the content. If you tell a very good story, it doesn’t matter what kind of camera you use.
If you are starting out, I don’t recommend getting expensive cameras and gears. Start with whatever you have around you and try to focus more on the content of the video instead of camera and equipment itself.
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 good way to start. But of course, free softwares are limited what you can do, so as you get better, you can slowly upgrade your software.
2. Don’t foget the audio
Have you seen some of the videos where you can’t really hear the person talking, or there is loud buzzing in the video? It pretty much ruins the video and you ending 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 the camera. Many 0f the point-and-shoot cameras and smartphone have descent built-in audio you can record with. 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. If you use GoPro, understand that GoPro is action camera and it doesn’t have great built-in mic.
If you are shooting your video indoor, make sure you are shooting in the quiet place. If you are in outdoor, make sure there is no wind blowing. Once the wind is blowing into your camera, you pretty much ruin the audio. If you are going to shoot video outdoor where lots of wind, you might want to consider getting windshield for your mic. It’s little bit tricky to get windshield for your point-and-shoot camera, but you can always work around it.
Basically, you have to think about the audio before you start shooting your video.
In the beginning, video with good audio is all just all trial and error. If you end up with bad audio, find out what is causing the audio and try to fix it by changing location/positions or getting a better mic equipment.
3. Study film making techniques
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 or shots are combined.
I know vlog is bit different than making a film, but you can make your vlog look professional and creative 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.
Casey Neistat’s vlog is good example. He is a filmmaker and he decided to create a daily vlog and make it like a film. His vlog is very popular with millions of subscribers and millions of views.
4. Never shoot video verticle
Don’t make a mistake of shooting your videos vertically. This mistake is often made by those who are shooting video using your smartphone. Unless you are using 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 video so that video is steady, specially when you are talking on the camera. Even if you are shooting sceneries, use the tripod to shoot the steady shots of the sceneries. If you need to pan it, try to use the tripod to pan it to get the smooth shots.
Avoid shooting moving shots much as you can. If you need to shoot while moving, make it very short, or use some kind of stabilizer. The gimbal stabilizer are getting very affordable, and there are gimbals for smartphone, point-and-shoot cameras and GoPros.
Many vloggers uses mini-tripod such as Gorillapod instead of big tripod. They are easy to carry around and it can be bent different ways. 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 how important is audio, but the lighting is just as important. Have you seen a video that is too dark to see what is going on? Dark video is the worst and you end up not watching the video.
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 get the sun light to shoot the video, so sometimes, you have to invest money on lighting equipment. Best light source to shoot video is the neutral light or white light.
One option is to use portrait light by using three different light sources.
If you are makign makeup video, you can also use Diva Ring Light.
But, sometimes, when you find yourself trying to shoot a video in a dark place, you just have to be creative. Some times, you have no choice but to use a flash light to shine your face to shoot a video.
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
Sometimes, making the video simple as possible is the best. This means, don’t add cheesy or weird transitions, or experiment with crazy and wild effects. Make the video simple as possible to tell the story.
9. Tell story
At the end, you need to tell story on your video. Obviously each video is different and it doesn’t mean you are making a short movie every time. 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.