Video blogging is a great way to build a relationship with your target audience and to establish yourself as a thought leader and subject matter expert in your field.

In this article I cover the technical components of producing a professional level video blog.

Video blogging is generally accepted to be more casual in terms of both the delivery of the content and the technical production elements. But keep in mind that poor content along with poor video will lead to fewer views and less subscribers.

So it is best to set a goal to prepare good relevant content for our intended audience and to make it look and sound worthy.

In my last blog article and video I covered what to do to prepare and deliver your content, so you might be interested in also reviewing that content.

Equipment

Here is my suggested list of equipment:

  1.  Video camera with microphone input feature

  2.  Camera tripod

  3.  Two video lights with stands

  4.  Lavaliere or directional microphone

  5.  Microphone stand (if using directional mic)

  6.  Microphone cable and adapter

  7.  Plain wall or backdrop

The simplest setup would be a camera mounted on a tripod pointed at the presenter who is either standing or sitting. You can even use your smartphone if it has good video capture. To improve image quality I suggest adding some lighting to your subject, especially if you are using a smartphone. You would need a way to mount your smartphone to the tripod and you can buy an adapter for this purpose on Ebay or probably from an electronics or camera store.

The Backdrop

Using a blank wall or paper backdrop removes visual distractions from your set and keeps it neutral. I use a white roll of paper but it is actually quite difficult to get the background white without the subject appearing too bright. Here is a link to another video that explains how to do this using an iPhone.

To achieve a white background you would need at least 4 lights, 2 for the backdrop and 2 for the subject placed on either side. If you use a white background and just 2 lights on your subject, the background will most likely appear grey. So you might want to choose something more colorful. You can purchase a variety of colored paper but you would need a way to hang it. I use a curtain rod in my home when I am not in the studio for video blogging.

The Camera & Microphone

For video blogging I suggest a dedicated video camera that accepts a microphone input. This will provide much better sound than using the in camera microphone. Without it you pick up a lot of ambient sound including room echo. These sounds cannot be eliminated in editing so it is best to control when recording. Dedicated video cameras are easier to use than photo cameras that also record video.

DSLR cameras like the Canon D60 and Nikon D5200 have become very popular for video as they record high quality video and can be also used for capturing great photos. Some like the Canon D60 do accept external microphones but most do not have a headphone jack to monitor the sound recording. If you plan to use this type of camera with an eternal microphone, I suggest a shotgun directional microphone on a stand. A lavaliere microphone might rub against the clothing and thus create unpleasant noise that you would not know until you listened back or found out in the editing process.

You will also need microphone cable to run from the microphone to the camera unless you are using a wireless lavaliere microphone. I suggest using balanced XLR mic cable with adapters. Microphones vary greatly in quality and cost so either do some research or shop from a trusted store that provides good advice. You can ask my recommendations in the comments section below.

If possible, monitor the audio with headphone connect to the camera.

Lighting

You can use 2 video lights to start placed on either side of you subject. Adding one or two more to lights your background is an option that can provide some improvement to the look of your video.

There are many options for video lights on the market today, from the traditional halogen lights to daylight balanced LED lights or fluorescents.  You can even start with work lights used in construction that is available from home renovation supply stores.

The more direct your light is thrown on your subject, the harsher it might appear. I suggest bouncing the light off a white ceiling or wall or if possible adding some inflammable diffusion material for a more pleasing effect.

Recording

Once you have everything set up have your presenter practice speaking directly to the camera. Do not zoom in or out while the person is speaking. If the presenter makes a mistake and wants to start where they left off, you can zoom in or out to make the transition from the last sentence to the new one appear more natural.

Most people present with better energy when standing but this will depend on the preference of the presenter.

Framing the subject as a medium close-up to a close-up will help keep the viewers’ attention on the eyes of the presenter and make it more engaging.

If you are not monitoring the sound with headphones, play back the recording to make sure proper sound was captured.

Editing

Capturing good quality video and audio will make editing much simpler, as there will be less to adjust in the image and sound quality. The key is creating good content that appeals to your target audience. Good quality video will just make the good content more pleasing to watch.

There are free versions of video editing software that comes with most computer packages or you can download Windows Movie Maker for free. Mac’s come with iMovie. Both are quite easy to learn for basic editing.

Steve Goldberg