I recently attended a Vlogging Session with Three at their Discovery Store in Islington. Three are committed to helping their customers develop their technology skills and as such created the Discovery Centres where they hold free sessions throughout the year in a range of topics including Online Basics, Kids Coding Club, Podcasting, Blogging and more.
Currently located in Islington, Maidenhead and Swansea you can easily book onto a course on their website and they can cater to businesses, schools, charity organisations and more. You have the option to bring your own device on the day or you can borrow one of their tablets for the session. Digital technology can be daunting when you first start and Discovery wanted to create somewhere you could come and ask anything about digital technology, a chance to offer practical advice and not confuse with any technical jargon unless you are on a more advanced class.
I have always been intrigued by the idea of vlogging as I know it’s become very popular over the years. I have previously attempted YouTube, but I realised that not only do I love to ramble, but I have no knowledge of how to capture the best footage nor know how to use any of the fancy features that you always see on other videos. I was really interested to take part in the session as this year I made the choice to put more into my blog than I ever have. I have started to see more results, higher views and more opportunities come off the back of that, and it just feels inevitable that I will need to branch out to vlogging at some point.
The session was broken up into study topics, with a break for lunch, and we were tasked with mini briefs throughout the day to get the creative juices flowing and to test out what we learned. The topics on the day were accessing vlogs, vlogging types and influencers, top tips from the pros, your identity and uploading and sharing. Three provided me with the iPhone 8 for the day and after downloading iMovie I was all set for the Vlogging Session to begin.
iMovie is the perfect app when it comes to starting video blogs as it gives you the ability to create both movies and Hollywood style trailers, which would be perfect for creating a welcome video for your channel or you only want to upload small videos with a little more assistance until you are more confident. Choose between 14 trailer templates with the ability to customise movie style logos, cast names and credits. The trailer option is also great for just having a play around and getting used to being on camera and trial runs.
If you want to jump straight into the movie side there are 8 unique themes with matching titles, transitions and music, as well as 10 Apple designed video filters. iMovie gives you the ability to enhance your video with slow-motion, fast forward, picture-in-picture and split screen effects. You can create a soundtrack using built-in music and sound effects or songs from your own music library but remember to check copyright options on any creations that are not your own as YouTube will remove your video if you breach copyright laws.
I asked Ian from the Discovery Store how you could avoid hearing so much wind in an outdoor video and he said that getting a microphone helps. You can download audio apps that connects to a Road Mic (LavMicrophone) plugged into the iphone, and a Dead Cat Sticker (also known as a wind muffler) helps collect your audio without picking up the wind as much.
Another helpful gadget when vlogging is a tripod and I really like the Gorilla Tripod, which comes in multiple sizes and can be extended or shrunk so that it can be altered to the preferred height when filming. The Gorilla Tripod locks your phone in place on top, and is very lightweight, so you can actually pick it up and walk around during filming and feels slightly more secure than just having your phone in your hand, and can still have a microphone attached.
In terms of actually uploading to YouTube we were given some pointers and tips which was great as we were pretty much a room full of novices when it comes to the world of YouTube. Firstly unlike tags on a blog post that tend to be one or two words, tags on YouTube can be a mini sentence, and you can use Sem Rush or Google Adwords to check for relevant titles and tags as it basically shows you what people are searching for when it comes to the topic you are posting on.
Whilst thumbnail options will be given you do have the option to create your own and upload separately, and one way to create thumbnails is using the app Canva which has a Youtube layout base for you to work from. Make sure to categorise your videos and put the year in the title as this makes the video rank better. In the description of the video you can put as much information as you wish, if the video is off the back of a blog post you could essentially copy and paste the entirety and just amend it slightly to be relevant to the video.
I spent the day with fellow blogger Pixie and we put some of the things we learned into action during one of the creative breaks. Now neither of us are rushing to start vlogging any time soon as we need to get a little bit more serious and have a few more practice runs, as you will see from our video from the day, but I would really recommend looking at the courses available at your local Three Discovery store. I learnt a lot on the course and love that you get a chance to play around and practice what you learn as I’m a very hands on learner over reading or listening. I think that when I do decide to branch out into vlogging I will be confident in creating a video using iMovie, and I hope you enjoy our little play around video from the day.