Friday, 25 March 2011

The making of a vlog

All this is new to me. I started vlogging so that I would be quick and able with video film making and posting for my work which sometimes takes me into emergency responses with World Vision. I should also say that its fun, just in case you were wondering.

Monday saw me struggling to upload my latest vlog. For the first time I hadn’t been able to send it straight from the movie editor. I had a problem to solve and found a way. That wasn’t the end of the story though because my vlog had been saved without one sequence and with half the subtitles missing. I had to delete the vlog from you tube, re-edit the subtitles, reinstate the lost scene and watch it all carefully this time before I uploaded it again.

Each vlog I make teaches me new things, let’s go back a couple of weeks and see how these lessons have built up. I have been vlogging around my weekend hikes in the Palestinian West Bank and Israel. I was nervous about talking to my little Flip camera camera in amongst a crowd of strangers so I took myself a few metres away for my first couple of pieces to camera. As the hike progressed I got less self conscious, no one seemed in the least concerned, or even interested. So my confidence grew and by the end of the hike I was filming from the middle of the group.

When I got home and downloaded the video clips onto my computer I discovered that I had failed to start recording the first few times, instead I had started the camera when I wanted to stop and got a lot of rollercoaster sequences. No vlog this week then? I decided to make a virtue out of necessity and filmed myself explaining what went wrong, then I used the mistakes as a humorous sequence. I was lucky that I got another funny moment recorded that made a good strong ending. I learned that editing is much more important than filming but does rely on having usable film sequences.

The next week it was a quiet walk in Israel on the site of a Palestinian village. I had previously failed to get close ups of the flowers that were the main attraction of Holy Land walks in the spring so I tried using the macro setting on the KodakZi8 camera but ended up with a lot of colourful fuzzy useless shots – the depth of field is from 10 to 20cm. On the mountains setting the focus starts at 25cm so don’t bother with that macro setting. It was quite a windy day so a lot of my shots had unusable audio because of wind roar and that’s where the fuzzy shots saved the day because they had clear birdsong audio. When I edited I stole good audio and used it to replace poor audio over good visuals. I didn’t have a good punchy sequence for the end so I used a title board to have some concluding script which I linked to the opening title script to tie the story together.

That brings us back to this week. I tried to apply the lessons I had thought I had learned. I still didn’t get the close ups right and I was so over confident I had a lot of sequences that bounced around too much to watch, the visual equivalent of severe airplane turbulence. I also had too much recorded. The editing approach I use is to put all the sequences I want to use into order and then cut them down by editing out stuff that’s too long, politically incorrect, too repetitious, badly filmed, and simply boring. I saved the dialogue from some of the bumpy visuals by putting it with smoother sequences. That also saved on the length of the vlog. I subtitled the Arabic discussion the group had with a Palestinian shopkeeper and added a couple of explanatory notes in brackets. Once again I used a title board to save me when I didn’t have suitable film at the end and then I slipped in a surprise sequence as a last laugh.

This week the challenge is to remember all those lessons and find another approach to telling the story. Wish me luck, or better still make your own vlog so you can tell me how to do it better.

1 comment:

  1. Wel! Each vlog gets better and better. Crackerjack?
    The olives trees look amazing. Looking forward to the next.