Wednesday, November 24, 2010

questions about why I vlog

A college student in America recently emailed me on YouTube via my Myargonauts channel, and asked me if I would answer a few questions about my vlogging experience for a class project.

So here are his questions and my answers.

Thanks for stopping by.


Have you ever felt nervous in front of a camera? Does the nervousness ever go away or is it something you just learn to deal with?

I don't feel nervous just talking to a camera. I do sometimes get nervous talking in front of large groups, but being a teacher gets you used to being up in front of a group and retaining their attention.

I don't think of all the people that will eventually watch the video - I just pretend I'm having a chat with one friend.

How do/did you overcome or learn to deal with camera shyness?

Again - I never really had camera shyness. I was in drama club and speech and debate when I was in High school, so

I've had lots of practice talking in front of others.

The first few vlogs I did with me just talking at the camera were a bit awkward, but I've gotten better by watching others and editing helps. It helps to think about what you're gonna say in detail before you start to record, so you're not searching for words while on camera.

What advice do you have for anyone wanting to start their own vlog?

Watch other vloggers that you like - what do you like about their videos? Try to imitate their pace\style\topics, etc at first and then develop your own style.

If you want loyal viewers, then try to find a niche to fill - there are 1000s of vloggers - but not everyone is talking about the same thing - find something somewhat unique to talk about and then be consistent and sincere.

What equipment do you use?

Hand held digital camera for on location and sometimes indoors, and my built in iSight camera on my Mac.

Is the type of camera important?

It is if you want to shoot widescreen or in HD - but for simple vlogs where it's just you talking at the camera, then not really.

Lighting and sound are more important - make sure your face is well lit and we can hear you and there is no music drowning out your voice.

What software do you use for editing video?

I often just upload what I shoot straight - I'm kinda known for my one-take vlogs. But when I do need to edit or add titles, I use iMovie on my Mac.

What is your editing process?

If I'm trying to be more entertaining than informative - then I try hard to keep the pace brisk and edit to the music.

Why did you decide to start vlogging?

At first I was just uploading small 1 or 2 minute clips - mostly of my school life.

But I started to watch more and more YT vloggers in Japan and I thought I could take a shot at talking to the camera.

I was already getting emails with questions about Japan, even tho I only had about 100 subscribers when I did my first on-camera vlog. Then I looked around YouTube and noticed no one really had made videos about the process of becoming a JET and I found my niche.

Did you know any other vloggers at the time?

I was an active commentator on other vlogs, but I didn't know any of them in person.

Was it hard to start a vlog?

No - they're incredibly easy to start. Everyone has a few good stories to tell, etc.

They are though very hard to maintain. To post consistently for a year or two takes some dedication.

You will run out of ideas or motivation from time to time, but if you have loyal viewers, they'll inspire you, give you suggestions, and make you want to keep going.

How did you know what to say or what to vlog about?

Well, there seems to be a bottomless well of people that are interested in Japan and learning Japanese who watch YouTube.

So talking about Japan became my main niche.

When I decided to start talking about movies or my other interests, such as watching Sumo, I actually started new channels so it wouldn't distract from my main channel's Japan focus.

Why have you continued to vlog?

Well, the JET Programme recruits new JETs every year, so there are always new folks coming along that want to come to Japan and learn about JET. So I keep vlogging for them.

What motivates you to keep vlogging?

My viewers are by and large a great group of people. They are very appreciative of the work I do, and they leave me great comments and send me wonderful emails. That is a big motivation. And now that I'm no longer a JET, but am back in Japan and teaching at a university, I hope to have all new insights and adventures that I can share with my viewers.

-Jason H.

No comments: