Now, they see you… Now, they… well, they still see you.
In the past several years Blogs have become a mainstay of Internet content. Providing information (sometimes unsolicited), entertainment, and more often then not, opinions. Hopefully, this will do all three.
So, you have your blog setup and you are posting away but you aren’t seeing the results (Hits – to use the parlance of the Net) that you feel, your words are worth.
How, you ask, can I get more attention to my blog? One way many bloggers are seeing more hits to their site is adding video content. This is everyone from that annoying blonde girl who uses profanity non-stop to the major news outlets, like CNN. Video is easier, cheaper and in most cases, faster than typing your blog. (…Says the guy typing this blog post)
Most laptops on the market today already have a built in camera but these tend to be fairly low quality and have super wide-angle lenses to avoid focus problems. You may notice when using skype or another video chat service, when the person you are talking to gets closer to the camera, the center of the image becomes distorted.
A simple DV video camera and tripod is a better solution if you have it available. If you do not have a tripod, use your imagination, use a table with a stack of phone books. The goal is to get the camera to the approximate height you are at.
Once you have your gear ready, shoot some video. Get familiar with the camera. This is the fun part, so play, play, PLAY… Don’t worry I will sit here and wait… Ok, you have a good handle on the camera? Below I have outlined some basic steps to have nice clean images and hopefully good content. (That part is up to you). The higher your “Production Value” is, the more likely you will have return viewers.
First, the one thing that the human eye needs to see is light. I can’t stress this enough, if you want to be taken
seriously, make sure the viewer can see you. There is nothing more annoying to a viewer than working to figure out what they are looking at. Before you ask… NO, the light coming from your computer is NOT enough and unless you are a Na’vi from Avatar or a Smurf, you should appear a normal human flesh tone. I don’t expect everyone to have a bunch of film lights at home, so use a kitchen or office that has plenty of light.
A really important thing to appear credible is not to fumble over words or going into a long “stream of consciousness” rant. Most people want the facts, info, procedure that you are trying to relay. They probably don’t have time to hear about what your dog did with his bone or that Jr.’s first little league game is next Tuesday. Remember to stay time relative. If your blog posts on Fridays, talk to the camera as if it is Friday. For example, talk shows use this same technique when prerecording episodes. If you absolutely refuse to rehearse, get some teleprompting software. There are many cheap and free versions available. Type up your notes, paste them into the software and BOOM, you are professional by Tuesday.
Editing is not only for Hollywood. Take out all the “UMMs”. If you are doing a demonstration and are moving your camera a lot, remove that footage. Believe it or not, moving the camera makes many people motion sick. There is a good chance, that if they get queasy from your camera work, they won’t come back. Make it look as good as possible. There are plenty of programs available for simple video editing. Most modern computers, PC and Apple alike, come with simple software for this purpose. Use them.
I am not sure if you have heard of an obscure, little website called youtube.com. Check it out. They have made web-videos a common place for millions of households. They also have a very easy to use uploader and provide links to paste into your blog, to provide instant viewing at your site and it’s free. Not to mention, if you get enough traffic, they will start to pay you. They are not the only company that provides these types of services, so do some research and see which you like the best.
I hope some of this helps. If you are having trouble, feel free to send me an email or twitter message and I will respond as soon as I possibly can.
BIO: Steve Everson has produced 10 short film and holds a Masters Degree in Movie and Television Producing from The Academy of Art University. Check out some of his latest project A MidSummer Nightmare, The Betrayal, on his Vimeo site.