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Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Pointing The Camera At Yourself.

A friend of mine recently watched one of my vlogs (video blogs), for the very first time.
He told me this via Twitter and whilst he made no comment about the actual content of the video, the one comment he did make was to say that he could never do that himself.

This is a very common reaction when people, especially friends, see one of your vlogs for the first time.
I can understand that.
Pointing a video camera at yourself can seem a little strange, when you think about it.
There is a big difference, in my opinion, between recording yourself on a webcam, in the privacy of your own home and filming yourself out in the open.
We've all grown used to seeing people filming with video cameras in just about every imaginable situation. Maybe even when we haven't thought that the filming was appropriate?

But, how often have you seen somebody pointing that ubiquitous video camera at themselves and talking into it? And if you have, what did you think?

My own reaction and i suspect that of all vloggers, would be to inwardly congratulate that person (after all, i wouldn't want to disturb a fellow vlogger now would i?) and to wonder who they were, what they were recording and for what.
But, i imagine most other peoples reaction would be to look, maybe stare and to think that the person was a little weird. I've seen that reaction myself many times. I've also seen it when somebody has filmed me talking into a camera.

Most of us aren't natural extroverts and those first tentative steps into vlogging can be a little daunting.
I can't pretend to have completely overcome those feelings of self consciousness when i do it now. But, it's amazing how much more confident i am now at pointing the camera at myself, after 4 years of vlogging experience.

In fact, a recent experience proves just that point.
I was in London meeting up with some friends from San Francisco. People who i had met via YouTube and vlogging, as it happens.
At the end of our time together, i decided that i wanted to record a short vlog, talking about the day. Without thinking, i got out my camera and recorded a vlog between myself and one of my friends, in the street. This filming attracted some of the usual strange looks from a nearby construction worker. But, i didn't give it a thought.
Maybe, it's just easier to point that video camera at yourself, when you are not alone?

So, i guess what i'm really trying to say here is that the vlogger is really no different to anyone else. They just tend to use their cameras a bit differently to the rest of the population.
I doubt that many vloggers first pointed their video camera at themselves, outdoors. I suspect that we all first did that in the privacy of our own homes and that makes perfect sense.
I can still recall the first ever vlog that i made at home and how i felt when making it. It was a strange experience. But, once i'd done it, i got the bug and have never looked back.

You may well feel, like my friend did, that you couldn't ever do it yourselves. But, i felt the same myself at one time.

Since getting into vlogging and video making generally, 4 years ago, i have tried to encourage others to follow my path. Most vloggers will tell you that the vlogging experience has changed their life, in some way. I am no exception to that and would encourage everyone to, at least, give it a try. After all, what have you got to lose?

By all means, make those first tentative steps using the webcam on your computer. Many people record all their vlogs this way and why not?

Why not watch some vloggers on YouTube first, to see how others do it?
One thing to be mindful of here though. Don't be put off my the apparent good quality of the vloggers you watch and discover. Many of those vloggers will have been vlogging for years and they will all tell you that they are a lot better now, than when they first started out.
We all have to start somewhere. I still watch my very first vlog and cringe a little. So, you are not alone.

So, are you convinced yet?
If so, get recording and let me know how you get on.
Best of luck.

All of the above doesn't, of course, answer that age old question of why on earth you'd ever want to talk into a video camera in the first place.
What drives the vlogger to vlog?
What do you talk about?

Well, the answer to those questions is material for, potentially, many more blog posts.
Watch this space.


  1. Even after four-and-a-half years, it's still a bit odd for me to vlog publicly when I'm alone. But that discomfort is half the fun ;^)

  2. Ken: I know what you mean. I do wonder if iPhones etc make it easier though? I certainly don't feel so self conscious talking into my phone, as i do my video camera.