Learning to Vlog: Jan – Sept

Here’s my experience with vlogging until now:

In January 2017 I made the new year’s resolution that I wanted to vlog for Rural Web. I had this idea, but had other things occupying me, so I didn’t do anything with this idea until may 2017, when our communication department asked whether there was anybody interested in vlogging. I raised my hand.

In July I went to Senegal and I made a video about that trip and the project I was working on, and placed this on youtube. It turned out to be extremely useful when communicating with people who were interested to learn more about the project. Unfortunately the video wasn’t made very well due to technical difficulties and my lack of experience with video editing essentially. So the video needs to be redone more professionally. Watch the video about the Greening Plastic Project on Youtube.

After that movie I started to think more seriously about how I could make vlogging a workable part of my life. I tried to answer for myself a number of questions:

  • how I would approach it
  • what I wanted to achieve with it
  • who was in my audience and what would they be interested in
  • how would I grow my follwer base?

I also started to make more and more homevideos just to learn more about editing videos and I made a few test-movies where I talked to the camera and tried to make a vlog out of it. This was just to get an idea of what it would my vlog would look like and so I’d have something to show people if they had questions. I felt I would need permission from both my husband and my employer to start a vlog, because I would be exposing not just myself, but also the people around me; and I only wanted to do this if they’d agree. And agreement would probably only come if they’d understand.

September – our communication department organized a first meeting for aspiring vloggers. We had a meeting with two professional film/documentary makers. Here’s a description of what we did:

  • A round of introductions where we spoke of our experience with vlogging, watching vlogs, film making and photography:
    • Our vlogging ideas and aspirations (which were very diverse).
    • What movies already existed that we featured in; and
    • Which vloggers inspired us.

What I learnt:

    • That Peter McKinnon and Casey Neistat are interesting vloggers to follow
    • That Snagit can be used to make screencasts
    • That good sound is more important than good visual quality
    • That 4k is what you want to shoot in – 4K, refers to a horizontal screen display resolution in the order of 4,000 pixels. (src: wikipedia) – if not that, then Full HD (1920×1080 px) is recommended.

     

  • After the course I set myself to searching for interesting vloggers to follow, as an inspiration and to learn from them. It was quite hard to find anyone posting interesting content, because I’m not interested in pranksters or beauty vlogs.
  • By the end of September the vlog-announcement went online and about a week later I published the following article about my learning path:

 


My name is Cheryl. I’m Learning to vlog for Rural Web Africa
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The announcement goes online

By the end of September I recorded my vlog announcement. Every youtube channel has a trailer in which one can present oneself to new visitors. This gives an idea of what the channel will be about and may help to decide whether it is worth to follow somebody.

In my trailer I announce my Rural Web Vlog, which will be about Rweb topics: personal, professional and community development, Africa, ICT4D, web development and achieving your own goals.

This was the first video I uploaded to my channel and I promoted it by sharing it on facebook groups a few weeks later. Naturally it is the video most people see as anyone who comes to my channel the first time will watch this movie.

Putting the announcement online was like start signal. I now am a vlogger and have to publish regularly. I didn’t feel I was ready for it. I still had (and have) a lot to learn. But, my idea was always to just get started and to learn along the way. That’s the Rural Web way to learn and as the Rural Web community manager it is only fitting to walk the talk…

My announcement is ‘a talking head’. A form I’m not particularly fond of, as it is quickly boring. I did add the RuralWeb outro to liven things up a bit and this should give a flavor of what my vlog is supposed to be about, namely rural development.

The reason I didn’t post the announcement to facebook immediately is that it is kind of scary to put yourself out there, like that for everyone to see and comment on. What would happen? Would there be haters? My plan was to dedicate one of my first vlogs to fear, but actually there’s much more happening in real life than I could ever capture in my vlogs. so the vlog on fear was made much later and probably needs to be redone sometime, just like the announcement.

Did you announce your vog? Why? Did you feel you had to do that? (I did) are you happy with how it turned out, or was the video quickly replaced?

 

 


My name is Cheryl. I’m Learning to vlog for Rural Web Africa
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Learn to vlog with Homevideos

While I was still deciding whether vlogging would be something for me, I decided to gain more experience by making homevideos.

This allowed me to learn more about editing videos and videography. The only thing I did was to record more video than I normally would have. I did not make any vlogs in the sense that I did not talk into the camera. I edited the movies to homevideos to show to friends and family.

In September we went on a holiday. This was of course the perfect occasion to film a lot and to create videos. Videos with a storyline.

We drove in one day from Utrecht (NL) to Normandy (FR). I decided to make a movie of it. I made a lot of short videos along the way and added them together … And behold! A clip was born. You can view it in this Google Album: Learning to Vlog.

During the holidays I also made a lot of short video clips. I had an app at that time which would let you collect 1 second videos each day and it would stitch them together to a longer video. It gave a fun and playful overview of our holiday, although 1 second video is a bit too short to my liking. It did show me what you can do with very short videos – you do not need to record everything to give an impression of what happened, the ambience etc.

I published my holiday homevideos privately on facebook – only to be seen by friends and families. I think I will continue to make home videos next to the vlogs. It gives you an opportunity to learn and the result are fun to watch, especially years from now when they will help bring back memories.

What do you do to improve you videography skills? Do you also make homevideos to gain experience?

 

 


My name is Cheryl. I’m Learning to vlog for Rural Web Africa
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A vlogging course – part 1

Vlogging is the new rage – it hasn’t gone unnoticed. Probably a lot of people and companies are interested in using this new medium. So does the company I work for and when our communication department asked who would want to vlog, I volunteered.

In September 2018 we had a first meeting for aspiring vloggers. We met with two professional film/documentary makers. We started with a round of introductions where we also spoke of our experience with vlogging, watching vlogs, film making and photography:

What do you want to achieve with your vlog?

We told about our vlogging ideas and aspirations; which were very diverse, but very inspiring as well. I couldn’t wait to see the vlogs my colleagues wanted to make, it sounded so inspiring! Of course we all work in the same field of water management. Knowing that these kinds of vlogs are either rare or non-existent, made me exciting to imagine what they could be like if well-made. For me, my aspirations are always hard to put into words as I am not a simple person, but a person with very diverging interests. I wanted to make a vlog for Rural Web, which would teach tech, inspire people to develop themselves and inspire people working in rural development. I also want my vlog to be very personal and therefore to have a bit of my personal life shining through, so to speak.

What experience do you already have?

We also spoke about movies we had featured in or helped creating. Many of us had some experience one way or another. For myself, most experience I have was through “A Call 2 Action” – the competition during which Rural Web was born. Participants to A Call 2 Action had to make 2 videos during the event. One with a pitch, the other was more playful, showing – not telling what the idea was. I found it very difficult to make these videos, but the professional editors saved me 🙂 .

I had deliberately started to record my tryouts ahead of this course, so I would be able to show them and get some feedback. I don’t remember the feedback however, only that I felt quite embarrased showing my work.

Which vloggers inspire you?

Finally, we talked about our homework – vloggers that inspired us. I hadn’t watched any vloggers until then. My knowledge of what was going on on youtube was based on the videos my toddler was watching. Blippi and toy unboxing or colour-learning videos. Most of us were not vlog-watchers at that point, and it was often said that vlogs are often plain boring. But they don’t have to be. If you follow persons you find interesting, then the vlogs quickly become interesting to you. So vlogs are not about that which is shown, but more about the person behind them and the stories this person tells. One of my colleagues for example liked to sail and was following a sailor who is circumventing the world. Another colleague was into photography and brought under our attention two of the biggest vloggers in the world:

Other things I’ve learnt:

    • That Snagit can be used to make screencasts
    • That good sound is more important than good visual quality
    • That 4k is what you want to shoot in – 4K, refers to a horizontal screen display resolution in the order of 4,000 pixels. (src: wikipedia) – if not that, then Full HD (1920×1080 px) is recommended.

It was very nice to be able to exchange with other people who were thinking to start vlogging. The ideas and topics were very divergent and it was clear that our communication also wasn’t sure what they wanted with this vlogging pilot. I think my ideas were most advanced and I had already decided I really wanted to vlog. One more colleague was also highly convinced and she was about to go to Tanzania. Something she wanted to vlog about. Shristi got a high-speed personal vlogging course and this resulted in a fantastic movie (and 300Gb of footage as I’ve heard). Check the first Deltares vlog here: Cascading effects on critical infrastructure in Tanzania – YouTube

 

 


My name is Cheryl. I’m Learning to vlog for Rural Web Africa
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