The Youtube Creator Academy is an online course by Youtube itself, available in different languages. It looks like a really good starting point for anyone who wants to start a serious channel:
A friend gave me the feedback that my videos were too long. I had heard in several occasions already, among which during the vlogging course that most people watch a video for one minute at most. Then they browse to something else.
Until now I hadn’t really payed attention to the length of my videos. I wanted them to be short, say 3 to 5 minutes, but getting them out was more important to me than editing them to be shorter. I just had enough on my mind with the whole hassle of recording them, making a story of what was recorded, adding video overlays and all the other technical aspects. Video length was just not my priority.
But, after having had that feedback I thought, maybe I should do something with this. Maybe I do want to tell too much and I need to keep it short and crisp.
So I read a few articles
And looked at the statistics of my channel and saw that indeed people were watching only 1 to 2 minutes. So then I felt it was a waste of time to make long videos no-one was watching.
So I decided to make shorter, more to the point-videos. The plus for me is that recording now takes shorter and editing takes less time. It’s a lot harder to be informative this way, but what’s the point of making things nobody’s watching?
I gave myself the challenge to now make videos of 2 to 3 minutes length approximately. I also try to put the most engaging content and the main message within the first minute of the video. Let’s see how long I can keep up with this video length. And whether it will improve my engagement!
Did you adjust your video length to your follower’s attention span? Did it work? I’d love to hear your experience!
I thought I’d check what Facebook groups exist about vlogging, because I think Facebook groups are good ways to connect and interact with people who are learning about the same thing. Rural Web’s ways prescribe however not to create something new unless it doesn’t exist yet. This also holds for online communities – if a community already exist, then join it; don’t create your own unless you have to.
So it turns out there are quite a few facebook groups about vlogging already. The trick is to find the interesting ones. I found the following handful which look promising. Others are specialised groups, i.e. for travel vloggers or beauty vloggers. I’m not interested in those, so I won’t mention them here, but once you’re a member of one group you’ll get suggestions for similar groups.
So how to choose which group to join? I made a shortlist of groups and added some of their characteristics for comparison. I don’t want to get flooded by enormous numbers of posts, so I added the number of members and posts per day, as well as whether the groups are open or closed. I will make my decision based on this information. From my experience, good facebook groups need to be moderated. A smaller community will have better quality conversations. And if a group is public, then all my friends will get notified about everything I post or like – in this case I would like to have some privacy thank you ver much.
My shortlist of interesting Facebook groups:
- New youtuber support group – related to http://vloglikepro.com/ – 10k members, 60 posts per day, closed
- YouTube Vloggers – Starter Group – 4k members, 11 posts per day, public
- YouTube, Vloggers & Bloggers – 1k members, 78 posts per day, closed
- Youtube Vloggers – 16k members, 39 posts per day, closed
- THE YOUTUBERS VLOG – 750 members, 6 posts per day, public
- Vloggers Youtube Nederland – 400 members, 50 posts per day, closed
- Vloggers (videobloggers) Nederland – 100 members 1 post per day, public
- Several closed groups by the Vlog Academy – B2B closed groups – payed!
I joined one English and one Dutch group – the first ones of each category. I’ll keep you posted with how interesting they are.
Did you join a facebook group when you started vlogging? What does it yield you?
The videos I had released until now have been primarily about Learning to Vlog. I want my vlog to be about Rural Web however and Learning to Vlog is supposed to be only a recurring item within that theme. So from December 2017 on I tried to start vlogging increasingly about Rural Web topics. I was still searching for my ‘ voice’ in vlogging, but also how to make vlogging a more constant part of my life. The holiday season was a busy time which I wanted to spend with my family, but I also wanted to keep up the vlogging. The result is a mix & match of very different videos. One about my work – receiving a delegation from Senegal (in French), some about the holiday season, one with new year’s greetings.
I think this video represents a bit what I want with my vlogs: to show something of my personal life, but also to show what I do as an independent volunteer.
Filming with your phone and an external mic is not as straightforward as you’d think. The next step in searching how to get this done – try another camera app. According to this article this might be a solution: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/38281476/android-video-camera-with-trrs-external-microphone-recording
With a few months of vlogging experience and all the experience I now had from the first week of November, I felt it was time to buy some gadgets to make my vlogging life easier. Finding the right gadgets however turned out to be more challenging than expected.
The first microphone I bought didn’t work well with my phone. I then bought an adapter, but this again was the wrong way around! I finally bought a good microphone, only to find out that the standard camera app of my phone wouldnt use the microphone to record sound. * Sigh * So in the end I never use the microphone. It did came handy when we recorded this Seepcat Video, but otherwise I just my phone’s inbuilt mic.
Something else I bought was a selfie stick and I thought to be smart and buy a simple one, which has a shutter release button connected to your phone via the audio input. Turns out this is a feature designed for Apple and older androids and no longer works on the newer phones. Again * Sigh * and returned the stick and bought a new one. This new stick was a very good buy actually, because I chose one with tripod legs! I never use it as a selfie stick, but I use it as a tripod a lot. It can be adjusted in height which is a big plus as well. The only drawback is that it can sway for a bit when you start filming, but after a minute or so that’s over as well.
Making the video for the first week of November was extremely difficult. I had to figure out what software to use, because I had used a video camera instead of my phone and the 4K filesizes could not be edited with the apps I had. After searching for a bit and testing a few things I decided to use Kdenlive to edit. This is freeware and therefore fits my wish to use free or cheap software so that anybody would be able to replicate what I was doing. Learning to use Kdenlive was quite alright. It’s not simple software, but if you don’t want too complicated things, then it’s ok to use. It did give me some technical problems however, which were quite irritating. But I did manage to overcome them.
After the week of Novermber 1st, I continued to record vlogs while trying to edit my video(s) of that first week. The videos I was recording were mostly about learning to vlog (again), since I wanted that to be like a storyline throughout my vlogs.
During the company visits in that first week, I noticed that I found it really difficult to actually vlog – so to direct the camera at myself and to talk into the camera. I therefore decided to apply a trick which I had applied before – I set myself a vlogging challenge with the purpose of making a homevideo. I would truly vlog for one week and see how that feels and what it would result in. I think I kept it up for one morning and quickly had enough of the vlogging. It’s not really for me, I guess. Despite that, I learnt a lot from the challenge, namely to record video from different angles and to record more what I do, than just talking heads. I really prefer that style over talking heads, because it shows a bit of my life – which was something I wanted – and is less boring. I first released the vlog to Facebook, for friends and family and then published an edited version on youtube.
The first week of November 2017 was full of fun and exciting events for me and my wish to vlog about all of this was why I started vlogging about a month earlier. Despite all the preparations I wasn’t really ready to vlog about this week, and editing it all took over a month! Nonetheless, in the end, I managed to make two vlog out of the footage that I had and I might even release some more videos about this week in the future.
Something you might not yet now about me is that I work in the water sector, at the Dutch knowledge institute Deltares. I work there as a geodata expert and in 2017 I was the projectleader of a plastic recycling project in Senegal.
During the Amsterdam International Water Week (AIWW), my partner from Senegal – Mamadou Diaw – was in the Netherlands to attend both AIWW and the VIA-GO side-events. VIA-GO was organized by VIA-WATER, which is again one of the financiers of our Greening Plastic Project. A lot of organisations were also organizing side-events in the week of AIWW with the result that I had a very fully-packed week with among others the following things:
- a vlogging course on monday
- a VIA-GO course on tuesday – on business skills, finding funding for your project or enterprise and marketing & communication.
- the FABFORUM on wednesday – Francophone Africa Business Forum, organised by the NABC
- On thursday a delegation from the Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso visited Deltares with the NABC. I had organized their visit, but could not attend myself, because:
- Also on thursday, together with Mamadou – we visited Plastic Fantastic
- and on friday: Weteringsplastics
I made recordings every day, but found it really difficult to make real vlogs. It all resulted in two videos:
The first week of November
Visiting Plastic Fantastic
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.
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.