How to make a video blog?
August 10, 2011 5:23 AM   Subscribe

How to make a good, interesting video journal/blog of my wilderness adventure?

I'm about to leave on a solo trip into the Alaskan wilderness for just under two weeks. I'd like to record a video blog of my experiences while I'm out there. I've never tried recording myself on video before.

What are some techniques to help make my videos watchable (or at least editable into something that's watchable)? How should I be setting up my scenes where it's just me talking (probably in front of an attractive landscape)? How should I talk to the camera (or should I be talking to the camera)? Any tips for making this into something people will want to watch?

I'll have a compact point-and-shoot camera (Panasonic Lumix TS3) and a Joby Gorillapod to act as a tripod.

Bonus Q: Suggestions for topics that might be interesting and germane.
posted by justkevin to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Have you watched Grizzly Man? The journal footage is pretty compelling, even if the content is pretty off the wall.
posted by OmieWise at 5:31 AM on August 10, 2011

Survivorman does this well too. He has a thing rigged up so he can film himself while walking. He'll also place the camera somewhere, film himself walking off (or climbing something), then come back and retrieve the camera.

Night vision camera might be useful.
posted by backwards guitar at 5:35 AM on August 10, 2011

I believe instructables has tripods that you hold out so you can look at the camera while walking and not have it super close to your face.

I suggest watching some youtube personalities and TV docos to see what works.

waterproofing of some sort might be important for your gear.

And lastly, I know you know this, but stay safe! Camera does not take priority over life. :)
posted by titanium_geek at 6:21 AM on August 10, 2011

I live in the Yukon and have taken several trips to Alaska. I play around with photos and video a bit as well. I am, by no means, experienced in pulling footage together but I have received a fair bit of positive feedback on some of the videos I've made.

The scenery up here lends beautifully to making videos but you could easily be trapped in gathering too much footage and not editing appropriately. We usually head out with DSLR and camcorder in hand. Without over planning or sacrificing what we are there for (seeing the north and all it has on offer), we snap and record away. I sometimes talk at the time I'm recording but I have found this interferes with my ability to do some clever editing so I often stick with a voice over at the end. If you are very interested in presenting information and being seen talking on your video I suggest that you take a look on You Tube at "Urban Telly". There is a guy who presents a number of 90 second updates on London who I think does a great job. I've also met with great success by putting the video to music and just inserting the occasional note in the video. Follow this link to see a sample of a clip that took me about an hour to pull together at the end of a day out that we recently enjoyed I have two others posted that are of the Haines and Skagway area that you may also like but I have not posted any videos with commentary on them. I'm not sure how that happened but I know the videos posted were put there primarily as an album for family members overseas to view - they have probably heard enough of my voice over the years and are content listening to music. I post videos under the name "Smelly1184". OK, anyway, back to my point. After you download your clips and pictures, you will see what makes sense and what the "good" shots are. Linking the story line together becomes easier. I think it is better to keep you videos to a maximum of 8 minutes and do a number of episodes. As a beginner, I have found that using a good program like iMovie makes editing a breeze. I taught myself the program in about 30 minutes and over time I have been improving my eye for editing - I still have a very long way to go.

In summary, here are a few things that work well for me that you could consider.
1. Have a focal point. When taking pictures of scenery have some kind of a subject that creates interest in the photo but if you have a person in the photo make sure they are off to the side a bit. This makes the scene stick out better and makes the subject look more natural.
2. Less is more. You will see bears and eagles and moose and salmon and and and. Wildlife is everywhere up here. Clips of wildlife are great - 8 minutes of an eagle perched in a tree is a drag.
3. Contrasting colours. Your subjects and the scenery look better when there is contrast so avoid wearing camo from top to bottom when heading out on your Alaska adventure
4. Variety. Each town you visit will have a lot on offer - catch snipits from a number of areas.
5. Logical order. I have found that making a story of our weekends out and dropping clips in a chronological order makes for a nice video. It also saves me time linking clips and pictures together. You notice the light changes and the video comes together as a nice story.
6. If you are choosing music to go with your video try to find music by local musicians, that was written about the area where you filmed or has a similar subject/content to what you are filming. I am shameless about using Canadian music that fits with my film content for most of my videos made about the north.
6. Put the camera down some times. You don't need to get a shot of everything - create videos and memories in your head too. I have loads of pictures and videos of bears - all kinds of bears, but the best memories and shots I have are of the unplanned and humourous memories of my family when things didn't go quite the way they were supposed to.

You'll have a great time - it will rain - it might snow - come prepared.
posted by YukonQuirm at 7:57 AM on August 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

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