At last week’s BlogWorld conference in Los Angeles, bloggers of all kinds, gathered to hear tips and tricks from premier bloggers and learn ways to take what they do to the next level. During the session, “The Tools, Tricks and Art of Video Storytelling, former TV producer and founder of LifeAfterKids.TV and DVINIDEAS, Marla Schulman, showed off the Sony Bloggie® camera and shared her advice for making better videos for your blog. (Disclosure: We gave Marla the Sony Bloggie Touch™ camera when it launched this year). We wanted to share some of the simple tried and true techniques Marla used as a video pro and now video blogger to help your videos get more views.
Control your set, lighting and background. When you’re in a pinch or not able to plan for your “shoot” it may seem like you have to take what you can get in terms of location. But the truth is, you can do simple things to improve your circumstances. Make sure the light is never behind the person or thing you’re filming. When you’re facing your subject, have the light to your back so the person you’re filming is well illuminated. Don’t settle for a bland wall as your background, pull your interviewee away from a wall to make the shot more interesting. If they’re sitting, ask them to stand and pull the seat away from the wall. Adding a little bit of depth to your shot will make it feel better composed.
Spot check the audio. It takes two seconds to roll a test and play it back to ensure your audio is recording, the microphone works and any sounds in the room aren’t drowning out your subject. Anyone who has rolled video has made the mistake of shooting something awesome then realizing you forgot to turn the microphone on or it was out of battery. If your camera doesn’t have an external mic, get close to your subject to make sure the onboard mic is picking up the sound of their voice. A good image is important, but without good audio your shoot is a total bust.
Develop a rapport. When you can, research and pre interview your subject. It will make you both more comfortable when it’s time for your interview. It will also help them remember you if you’re in a sea of people wanting an interview. Marla interviews celebs often and says building a rapport will help you stand out when you’re vying for time and ultimately lead to a better video blog
Restate your questions, listen and be flexible. Always ask your subject to restate your question. If you choose to edit your video it will help you shave a ton of time if you can remove your question and have their answer stand independent. Also, even though there is a lot going on when you’re a one man band video blogger, you’ll want to make sure you’re listening. If you can, plug headphones into your camera to monitor on the spot. Listen to what your subject is saying and give them the chance to tell you a story maybe even better than what you asked for.
Know your tools and keep them with you at all times. There are cameras on so many devices that there is little to no reason not to shoot video when you’re inspired! Even if you don’t do an interview, you can film 10 seconds of an event or place and add that to your blog post to include your readers in the experience via video. Cameras like our Sony Bloggie models (yes, we may be biased) are perfect to keep in your back pocket and have on hand for easy capture and upload. But we aren’t the only ones who think so. Marla actually used the Bloggie Touch camera to catch this video of Bachelorette Ali and her beau at a Sony event in Century City. Marla credited the fact that she captured this video, one of her most popular videos to date, to the fact that she had the tools right there and was easily able to take advantage of the situation. With the Bloggie camera in her back pocket she was able to grab the video in a few minutes and actually uploaded the video right on the spot using a VAIO® PC in the store.
Want more tips on video blogging? Join Marla for a live Twitter Chat on Sunday November 13, 2011 at 7PM Pacific Time. Follow #vidchat on Twitter to view the conversation and use #vidchat to be part of it.
Do you have tips you’d like to share for capturing better video for your blog? Leave them in the comments below. Also, if there is something you’d like answered about how to improve your video blog, drop it in the comments below.