All about Video Blogging, or Vblogging

It had to happen. First of all, blogging (weblogging) is spreading like wildfire with everyone posting their thoughts, rants or just minutiae online on their own blogs. Then came podcasting, the audio equivalent of blogging. The hottest new thing today is video blogging (also called vblogging or vlogging).

What is a vlog?

In its simplest form, a video blog (vblog or vlog) is the serial publication of videos on a website, encouraging audience response. Although this new form of web communication is still in its infancy, video bloggers have already begun to regularly publish online.

Many vbloggers are using video blogs to create their own mini-shows, using an RSS feed to deliver new episodes automatically. Others are experimenting with the new technology. Like any new community technology, there is no telling where vblogging will go in the future.

Why use vlogs?

You may already express yourself on a regular blog. Think of all the communication you’re not delivering by writing everything down: the smug little facial expressions, the tone of your voice, and the smart retorts between you and your partner.

In addition to this, they are a fantastic tool for delivering unspeakable content. Being in the right place at the right time can get your vblog off the ground. Or if you like to blog about sporting events, a vblog can allow you to capture the action and deliver it to your fans, not just describe it in words that are too pale.

If you’re a long way from home, this can also be a great way to keep up with friends and family. Think of it as a great new way to share baby’s first steps with your grandparents.

And then you may have harbored a secret dream of being the next big TV newscaster or reporter. This may be your perfect opportunity.

how to vlog

Creating a video blog is not as easy as writing a regular blog. With an ordinary blog, you just have to be able to write a normal post. But with vblogging, you’ll need to have access to a good computer that can work with movie programs, as well as a camera that can take videos and take pictures.

The first part is the easiest: create your digital video on your camera or camcorder. There are an infinite number of ways you can put together your vblog; you’re not tied to a studio and you don’t have to adhere to any rules you haven’t invented yourself. Once you’ve created your video, you need to download it to your computer in preparation for formatting and compression.

You can use a variety of different movie programs to work with your video blog, but the most commonly used are iMovie (for Mac, comes as part of the operating system) or Movie Maker (for PC, comes as part of Windows). Other widely used are Final Cut Pro and Avid Free DV. If your camera or camcorder creates Quicktime movies, Avid Free DV is a great idea.

Once you’ve downloaded your movie, you can use your movie program to make any changes to the video clip, insert a new movie, create titles and/or subtitles, and even add music to your video.

Once you have finished editing your movie, you will need to compress it to prepare it for uploading to your vblog. But here is the trick. You want the movie to be as compressed as possible so your audience can download and watch it quickly; but the smaller you compress your movie, the less sharp your video quality will be. The idea is to find a happy medium, with your movie as small as possible, but with enough resolution that your audience doesn’t squint to turn your grainy square-pixel image into something vaguely human.

As you work changing your movie’s compression, you should be able to monitor the expected file size at the bottom of the dialog (in any of the above programs). Ideally, you want to compress your movie to no more than 5 megabytes (approximately 5,000K). If possible, you should compress it to a single megabyte. Video blogs shot with minimal movement and with a solid color screen behind the vblogger’s head will compress the most, but they are the least fun type of video blog to create.

Once you’ve compressed your video blog, you’re ready to post it online. As a compressed Quicktime movie, you can place it on your website with a direct link to it, just as you would a normal web page. Or you might want to get involved in a video blogging community; if you do this, each community will have their own rules for putting up your new vblog and organizing the introductory information around it, and you should read this carefully.

You should also carefully read the user agreement. Some video blog sites may not accept vblogs with certain types of content; others can help promote certain types of content. You definitely need to know what your chosen video blogging community will help with and what they disapprove of.

After publishing your video blog, download it once and take a good look at it. Does it download fast? How is the video quality? Anything you need to change?

Once you’re happy with your new vblog, promote it. Set up a link in your email signature line or post links on bulletin boards you frequent. Creating the vblog is only half the job; someone has to see it now!

To help ensure your vblog doesn’t get lost in the shuffle, create some text around it as well. Major search engines only search for text, not video. You must give them text to categorize your vblog, or they will ignore it.

What else should I know about video blogging?

A great additional tool that you can use for your video blog is an RSS feed. This is technology that allows people to subscribe to your video blog and download it to their electronic device automatically (it can be downloaded to a computer, PDA, phone, and of course other devices now).

Congratulations! He now he has become a video host, the star of his own diminutive network.

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