What I’ve learnt from filming my first vlog

Oh my goodness, where do I start? I’ve got a lot to learn. Here’s 10 video basics that I’ve learnt from doing my first vlog.

I literally decided I was going to vlog and the next day with my iPhone I just hit record and started. I am so glad I did. I think if I’d have put anymore thought into it I would have definitely backed out.

I know myself and I’ve never wanted to vlog before. Painfully camera shy and overly self-critical I know it’s something that I can live without. But, I love a challenge and pushing myself out of my comfort zone and this is exactly what I’m doing. And, the best thing is, if it really isn’t working, I can just stop. That’s the beauty of this. It’s a learning experience and I can take it at my own pace.

Anyway, I wouldn’t advise putting absolutely no thought into starting a vlog if it’s something you’re really keen on doing.

I’ve had to learn a lot quickly, so why not learn from my mistakes!

Here’s a very basic top 10 things you need to consider before you even start.

1 – Get technical

Can your laptop, camera and internet connection do what you need it to do? Mine didn’t. I just about had the camera bit covered but my dinosaur of a laptop and home internet were not up to scratch.

This made everything painful and some things impossible. In the past month I’ve been through upgrades, work arounds and learning new apps.

2 – Time

Everything took far longer than I expected.

Tech upgrades definitely slowed me down, not only during the editing of the video but, continuously through the uploading process too. It is unbelievably frustrating.

Teaching yourself new apps is also time consuming. I know this will get quicker but, if you’re just starting out it can get pretty demoralising in a very short space of time.

Uploading to the internet was particularly painful, after twelve failed uploads in four days I camped out in the nearest Apple store. It took two long evenings there to get it sorted out. Ouch!

My best bit of advice would be to take however long you think it’s going to take you and then triple it. At least for the first few vlogs while you find your feet.

If you build this in to your expectations you won’t get disheartened like me and you’re more likely to get your video out when you want to. My vlog ended up getting published two weeks after I wanted it to go up!

3 – Landscape

Always film in landscape. This is so simple. It just looks better and makes the most of the screen space. Otherwise you’ve literally cut your screen by two thirds and it’s much harder to watch.

What’s worse, is that I knew this. I do this in my job, I tell other people to do this, so why didn’t I tell myself? Idiot! 😩🤦‍♀️

I have to cut myself a little slack because the footage in the vlog is from my iPhone, I did most of my filming on the Go Pro and just as a little belt and braces back up I made similar recordings on my phone.

It’s lucky I did because my adapter didn’t arrive in time for me to be able to download footage from my Go Pro onto my laptop. So, if I hadn’t doubled up on footage I’d have nothing to show after a months worth of recording. Phew!

4- Stabilise

Get yourself a stand, clamp or anything to stabilise your footage. Wobbly footage is the worst and at best is put up with for a few seconds.

My first vlog is like the Blair Witch Project. In case you’re too young to remember what this is, it’s a horror film set in the woods where people lost film footage on camcorders. The footage is so wobbly the film made me feel sick. A more modern day equivalent would be Project X, this film was also recorded on hand held cameras and also made me feel very sick indeed. There’s a pattern emerging here. 😂

I’ve bought one tripod clamp and a phone holder for the car to remedy the situation, fingers crossed the next vlog is going to be a lot easier to watch.

5- Lighting

Dull rooms and dark days take the shine off of your footage. Lighting is key to bringing out the best in your video.

I have become obsessed with lighting. After looking back at my first vlog I know I need to use more natural light, brighter light and perhaps invest in some soft photography lights.

This aspect is definitely going to be one of the harder ones to perfect. I’ve only recently seen those Lumee phones cases which have the right kind of light for the perfect selfies. Never in a month of Sundays did I think I’d ever want a light up selfie phone case. In fact if you’d have asked me before February, I think I’d have probably told you to stop being such a ridiculous human being – oh how times have changed!

6 – Have an idea of what you’re going to say

I don’t want to be scripted but I do need to spend a little more time thinking about what I’m going to say. Why? I need to stop saying UM or ER! I became very frustrated watching myself back when I kept saying um.

By being a little prepared with your topic you’ll prevent any awkward silences and ‘ums’ and ‘ers’. It will also help with the flow of your speech and look more professional.

I think this one’s going to take a bit of time as I am going to have to train myself out of it. Identifying this fault is the first step, so at least I can keep it in mind when I’m in front of the camera.

If you’ve got any advice on this one I’ve welcome any tips and tricks to stop the dreaded ‘um’ from reoccurring. Pop any advice in the comments section of this post.

7 – Look at the camera

Looking directly at the camera is a simple way of engaging with your viewer. Think about the news, and other television programs, presenters look at the camera and speak directly to the viewer.

When I’m filming on the iPhone I realised I’m not looking at the camera. Looking at the camera is difficult. I am struggling with this because the lens on the iPhone is tiny, I think this would be much easier on a bigger camera. To fix this I’m having to put a little colourful post-it by the camera to train my eye to the lens.

Fingers crossed I’ll get better. Do you have any tips on how to look at the camera? If you have any I’d welcome them!

8 – Editing

Leave a few seconds at the beginning of your footage so you’re not always turning the camera on and off at the start and end of each clip.

I think I’m doing this is because I’m nervous and just want to get the filming over and done with but I really need to stop this!

It’s only a little thing but I do think this will make a big difference to the transitions between the footage. It will make things a little bit smoother and give my vlog some finesse.

9 – Style

Working out a style is important. Formal, funny, factual or casual – have an idea how you want to come across. I’d like to be more chatty and share my thoughts and feelings to give my vlog a more personal tone.

Again, this is something to work on, I definitely think as I relax more this will come naturally.

10 – More not less

Film more footage than you need – you can always edit it down!

It wasn’t until I’d started editing that I’d only just managed to take enough footage for the vlog. I’m filming more for the March vlog, I’m definitely one for the belt and braces approach. Always have a back up and a plan B, C and D!


Vlogging is an art form and definitely takes time to learn and develop the skills needed.

Vlogging isn’t easy, it takes more time and effort than I originally thought. I have a new found respect for people filming and creating their own videos regularly.

Good luck if you’re going to start creating your first vlog, I hope these 10 tips help you get off to a better start than me!

I’d welcome any advice about how to improve my vlogs, so please leave any comments below, let’s have a chat.

Watch Bright Lights Big City’s first vlog

9 thoughts on “What I’ve learnt from filming my first vlog

  1. I completely agree with every point you made! When you watch people on the internet who are “professional” vloggers, you think it’s going to be so easy, and then when you get down to it, it’s so much more difficult. I really struggle with looking at the camera and also I fidget loads (like play with my hair and stuff). I mean I guess you have to start somewhere! Great post Rebecca xxx

    Melina | http://www.ivefoundwaldo.com

    1. There’s so many things to think about all the time – it’s quite overwhelming really. I’m sure it’s just practise and getting some equipment to help me on my way!

      I think people don’t realise how much goes into vlogging and blogging – it’s time and labour intensive.

      I’m really glad I’ve started vlogging, I’m enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would and I am learning a lot. It makes me appreciate how amazing some vloggers out there are!

      I didn’t know you vlogged Melina, have you got a link? I’ll watch and subscribe! B xxx

      1. I used to yes though I haven’t updated it in a while because of uni taking over :p I’d love to get back into it though. It was always a great place to make friends 🙂

      2. Ah you should! You’ll have to share your link with me 🙂 so I can play catch up!

        It’s hard trying to balance Uni and blogging. I did a masters fairly recently and worked full time – that’s when I started the blog and I literally couldn’t do that on top of everything else. It’s hard work- I don’t think many people understand that! X

Leave a Reply