7 Ways to shoot a better video blog

7 ways to shoot a better video blog from XOSarah.com

Over the past 5 weeks I’ve been shooting weekly videos for the Badass Babes E-Course. It’s been a bit of a learning experience, and after answering some video-making questions in the Babes hangouts, I figured I’d share what I’ve learned here as well!

Write a script

Don’t just set up your camera and start talking. You may spit out some great info, but you will have quite a challenge editing if you don’t know what you said and in what order. Having a script guarantees your video will flow with a beginning, middle and end. And you’ll avoid rambling and wandering away from the point you were trying to make.

Invest in a webcam

This is one of the best investments I’ve made recently. I purchased a Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920. It plugged straight into my laptop and the video is 1000 times better than the built-in camera. (You can generally switch from the built-in to the webcam under preferences w/out any set up needed)

Design your set

I began shooting videos the week after I moved in, which means the first place photos went up in my apartment was right behind the couch I sit on when I shoot. I went with large pieces of art and photos with a few bright pillows on the couch. Minimalist and non-distracting, but it still gives my videos a little personality.

If you don’t have a lighting set-up, use natural light

This is how I shoot my videos because I didn’t feel the need to purchase lights (and my apartment is too tiny to store them). I always shoot in the middle of the day and open my blinds so the maximum amount of light comes in without shining directly on me. I also turn on a few lights in the room to make sure there aren’t any weird shadows since the window is to my left instead of right in front of me.

Shoot continuously w/Quicktime

Instead of starting and stopping the video each time I mess up or forget what I’m going to say, I shoot in two or three blocks. I use Quicktime to record and let the video run as I say the lines over and over until I get them right. I also minimize the video window, so I can see my script and not get distracted by my own face.

Create a video intro

Don’t just jump in and start talking. My videos all begin the same way, a hello from me, then music and a title graphic that I created in Photoshop. I layer these into an intro using iMovie by dragging the graphic I created into a title slide.

Add cutaways when you have long lists to read

Sometimes I simply cannot get the words out without screwing up, and this generally occurs when I have a list to memorize. So instead of killing myself with 50 takes, I read the list directly from my script and then add a cutaway graphic with a bulleted list (again made in Photoshop). You can do this by dragging your image into iMovie and dropping it onto the video clip you want to cover. It with then give you a list of options, choose ‘cutaway.’

Any questions??


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  1. says

    Great tips, Sarah! I’ve recently gotten into vlogging as well but instead of just using a script and trying to memorize it and hit all the points every week, I use a teleprompter I made. It’s a glass picture frame without the backing and I use an iPad app that mirrors the text. It’s set up so the iPad reflects on the glass and I can read it while looking directly at the camera. This won’t work with a laptop camera though! It requires a lot of space for it to work. I shoot from about 10 feet away.

  2. says

    Great tips, Sarah! I plan on starting a video series sometime soon + will be moving in a couple of weeks. I’m already dreaming up set ideas + can’t wait to get started on the next (um, most crucial) part–content!

  3. says

    Great advice! I’ve been hesitantly considering vlogging, or maybe just micro-vlogging with giveit100 but I am just so awkward and don’t know if I should.

    • Sarah Morgan says

      Maybe start by making a few practice videos so you can get used to talking to a camera. I was super awkward at first too and shooting took forever, but I’m getting the hang of it!

  4. says

    Awesome tips Sarah! I found the tip on creating a short intro especially useful because for some reason I never thought of doing that. Now if I could only find the courage to hit record!

    • Sarah Morgan says

      Creating an intro helps me get a video going – otherwise I get stuck with how to start. Try making a video just to practice – takes the pressure off!