A bit of background on me. First off, I don’t have an answer for this question that will work for everyone. In fact, I don’t even know if the vlogs I’ve made are ‘good’. But my name is Julien Solomita and I’ve been vlogging and documenting my life for nearly 5 years now.
‘Good’ is such a subjective word and a vlog is, literally, the most individualistic creation anyone can attempt because everyone’s life is different. The contradiction comes when you realize that so many vlogs on the Internet are exactly the same.
I feel like there is a learning curve that requires, as many art forms do, a lot of time and effort. And failure. Becoming ‘good’ at vlogging can only happen when you’ve made 10, 20 or even 50 vlogs that you don’t necessarily like. With this learning curve, of course you are going to have to start basic and learn the ropes of how to carve out your day in bite size form to be consumed online. And definitely do that. Watch a lot of vlogs and figure out which direction yours should follow. You’ll hit a point where you’re sick of watching certain ones, then you won’t ever make a vlog like that. It’s a weird process but it definitely helped make my videos something I’m proud to put my name under.
To simplify some of my best advice on how to make your vlog ‘good’ I’ve broken it down into 7 steps.
Make A Video You’d Want To Sit Through
This is such a crucial thing to think about when filming, editing and conceptualizing a vlog of your life. Would you want to watch it? If yes, why? And If not, why? Constantly ask yourself this about what you’ve created because just like the people who may some day watch your content will change, so will you. And because of that, your answer to the above question will forever be in flux. One day you may be very intrigued by a format you used, and another day in the future, you may be bored to death by it. That’s pretty much it for this one. Just always be asking yourself this question:
A video I made called ‘What Is A Vlog’ where I ask and attempt to answer the question so many people have asked me.
Try A New Technique Out As Regularly As You Can
The only way I’ve improved in making vlogs is from trying to implement new shots, edits, colors, sounds, structures and voices into my final product all the time. At first this may not serve a specific purpose in that day’s vlog. But as you try new things, you’ll get better at them. And I’m not referring to traditional film techniques where there’s a right and wrong way to do something. I’m taking about having a tilted shot with 90% of the frame empty. Using that last 10% to portray something without putting it in the viewer’s face. Sometimes I will set my camera on the counter and see where it focuses, then I’ll leave it there to time-lapse a shot I didn’t even really plan at all. Sometimes I hate it, sometimes I like it. But doing things like that are what keeps it fresh for me as well as my audience.
Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously
No matter how cinematic I’ve ever attempted to make a vlog, I never want to come off as a ‘filmmaker’ in the traditional sense. Because I’m really not. I use film as my medium to make videos but the term filmmaker just feels like the reserved booth in the restaurant where I popped in to use the restroom. And I’m fine with that. I’m a normal person who bought a camera to film what I experience for a 24-hour period. And who then composes it into a summation of my existence. Have fun with the idea of being able to show the world your human experience. Realize that tons of other people might be wondering how a completely random person lives their life, and not only lives it but shows it. Humans are voyeuristic by nature, and the Internet has given us the ability to satiate that curiosity. Give them a ruse with your vlog.
A vlog where literally start if off by putting the camera in my bowl of cereal.
Watch It On Mute And See If It Still Holds Value
So much of a vlog can be flooded with disclosures, music, laughter, voices, sound effects, memes that sometimes it’s helpful to see what you’re bringing to the table in a purely visual way. This is just a small tool that can help you see your own content from a new perspective. Watching on mute can cut through the distraction and let you make a better visual appraisal.
I believe this vlog of my first trip to London speaks to the point of watching on mute.
Know Your Tools
As a creative person, you can only make what you can physically bring to the table. In other words; you can have the best ideas in the world, but if you can’t execute them they serve no other purpose than fantasy. I’ll never forget the first time I met a photographer named Matjoez. He is a time-lapse photographer from Australia that I had found out about, become a fan of and watched all of his content for nearly a year. In getting to shoot with Mat I was able to watch him use his camera in person. He knew every little button, function, setting, preset, color profile, shortcut, indicator that the camera was built with. He had so clearly been an absolute student of that camera for so long that it was like watching a robotics engineer control a robot he created with his bare hands.
You must study your camera. And when you’ve finished studying it for the day, wake up and do it again tomorrow. The better an understanding of your tools you have, the more dynamic your creations will be. This is such a crucial point if you ever wish to set yourself apart from the millions who now buy cameras and vlog with them. There is also no better feeling than knowing exactly what to do with your gear to maximize the money you spent on it. I personally use the Sony α7S II and after nearly two years of turning it on in the morning and off in the evening, I realize I still have more to learn about my camera. And I’m eager to find out what that is
A vlog I made when going plane-spotting at the Burbank airport that I was able to capture using the lowlight/slow-mo capabilities of my Sony α7S II.
Write A Worthwhile Diary Of Your Life
A vlog channel is a diary. It’s living and growing and being interacted with. But in its essence it’s a diary of your life that you’ll always be able to look back on and relive far, far into the future. Of course, this hinges on you investing in state-of-the-art storage solutions, but that’s par for the course. Use the tools you have at your disposal to make immersive, emotion-filled and exciting depictions of being alive. One of the biggest treats as a vlogger is having a distant memory of doing something, but instead of just shrugging it off as that tiny thought like everyone else in the world has too, you get to watch a video of that exact memory. You get to relive it. It’s a really wild thing that I love about my job and one of the coolest ways to grasp the progress of being alive, growing and ever-changing.
Don’t Play It Safe
This is your chance to make something that nobody has ever made. You have a completely unique life from everyone on earth in some respect. Bring that out in your video. Look at your day differently than all your friends. Then film it. Rinse and repeat. And if you ever feel like you want something more from your creations, break a rule that you had been following for whatever reason. You make the laws of your content, that’s why it’s yours and nobody else’s. You’re the director, producer, and writer of your life and the audience you find might never feel the same without seeing that story.
A vlog I made called ‘Average’ where I delve into what the vlog looks like when shown in a completely different respect.
Vlogging is an expression of self. I encourage you to selfishly create things that you really like. If you like your hamster, film your hamster. If you enjoy laughing at dumb things on the couch with your girlfriend, vlog the hell out of that. If you’ve watched my content you know by now that I’ve done both of those things. The vlog that you make is your handshake with the unacquainted world. It’s a powerful thing, and I don’t think I could ever go back to living without this outlet in my life. So go grab a camera and get started. Just make sure the red dot is flashing.