A vlogging course (part 2)

By the end of October I participated to the second meeting of our vlogging course.

This time we were only with 3 students and one mentor. We started with restating what we wanted to achieve with our vlogs and how we wanted to approach this. We then recapped some of the theory we had discussed in the first part of the course – namely how to tell a story in 5 shots and then it was time to practice. We were assigned to take the video camera and make our first shots while walking through our office building and getting coffee. It felt really stupid to directly vlog in Public! People were watching and ducking away. But those hilarious moments are always good for vlogs.

Despite my experience, it wasn’t easy. Not easy to vlog in public. Not easy to get direct feedback. But very inspiring to see how others are doing and what experience they bring to the table.

After this first exercise, we got the assignment to think up a story in five shots and to go and shoot it. We decided to make a little video in which we would show the use of the Deltares Nitrate App and so we went outside, and recorded the video at the pond surrounding our building. Again, people watching, commenting and asking what we were doing. But lots of fun, especially when one of us nearly fell into the water.

Finally, third exercise, an interview. Searching for a good location was a challenge – too little light, too much light, not a nice environment, too much background noise… We ended up in a bridge/hallway where again the light was not ideal, but at least the background looked nice. But then taking the interview and talking in front of the camera again were really difficult, but good to experience.

I didn’t make a real vlog of the footage we shot that day. Maybe I should still turn it into a vlog. I did record a vlog-message and posted this directly on facebook, which god enthousiastic reactions. I also included this as a subtopic in a bigger vlog about the week as a whole, as it was a pretty crowded week for me: the first week of November.

The first vlogs

I Started my vlog fairly rapidly. I didn’t want to figure out everything beforehand, because I know I’m really good at starting something but then I have a hard time finishing it, let alone releasing it. So I thought I’d challenge myself and just dive in and learn along the way. Just doing stops you from getting parralized by overthinking.

Diving in and learning along the way is also a RuralWeb Way and therefore a lifestyle I’d like to live by. One of the goals I have with these vlogs is to revive and grow the RuralWeb community. And one way I wish to do that is by walking the talk and so by living by the Rural Web ways.

The first few vlogs I was still heavily experimenting and figuring out the technical aspects of vlogging. The first vlog is named ‘About this vlog‘, reflecting how I was still searching how to communicate what I was doing. It resembles a bit the announcement, but this time I also explain what a learning circle is and how to join my learning circle by using the tag combination #Rweb #vlog.

In the second week I challenged myself by just filming in different settings and locations: while commuting, while walking on stairs, while in the attack and while in the living room. All that to find a good place where I could vlog and to find out how making videos would work. I made lots of mistakes, like holding the camera vertically and looking at the microphone hole on my phone instead of into the camera lens. Pretty dumb, but glad I found this out at the beginning of my vlogging career!

In that period I watched a lot of vlogs by other people, like Casey Neistat and Peter Mckinnon. And so I was introduced to the “Quantity over Quality” rule. A rule I don’t really agree to any longer, but at that time I figured: ok, let’s put as much learning as possible into as little a timespan as possible – let’s make multiple vlogs per week! The idea is that quantity will make you follower’s base grow faster than quality videos necessarily will. Posting twice as many videos will also give you twice the experience. By posting 3 videos per week I hoped to cram 3 year’s experience in one. But editing videos takes a lot of time. I quickly realized that the only way to keep up with such a pace would be to do raw vlogs. So I thought I’d do “daily raws”. However,  never did them in the end. Maybe I still should make them to prevent holes from falling in my timeline..

The first few vlogs were very difficult to make. I had no experience, I faced technical difficulties, keeping up the pace next to a job, voluntary work and being a mother is not so easy. But I had to start, because in the first week of November, I would have a week full of awesomeness that I wanted to vlog about. So I HAD TO build some experience beforehand. Let’s just say that you learn most from you biggest mistakes. And you learn a lot by simply putting into practice.


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