Chris Brogan on Video Blogging

Magazine Contributor
4 min read

This story appears in the September 2011 issue of . Subscribe »

If you're reading this article and you've never watched a YouTube video or a TED talk, run out and buy a lottery ticket. You are now the exception to the rule--by far. YouTube is serving up billions of views a month. It's ranked the number two search engine. And that's just scratching the surface in terms of all the other video sites out there.

So why aren't you doing more with video?

Start Video Blogging
People often ask about the gear, so included here is a list of gear and sites to try (see sidebar). But the real trick to video blogging is not the tools you use, it's knowing how to start (including getting the confidence to show up on film), knowing what makes a passable video and knowing what your viewers will want from such an experience.

The Confidence Game
The best way to gain confidence using video is to practice recording yourself. Practice brevity. Practice not saying "um." Practice looking right into the lens of the camera. Practice speaking slowly, and without letting your voice waver. These things all come with practice. I promise.

How to Start
Pick a topic you want to cover. I do a lot of book reviews and interviews at, so those are the types of videos I record. Yours might be interviews. Or walk-throughs of homes you intend to sell. Or reviews of products. Or customer testimonials. Having a sense of what you want to record is important.

Go for Quality
Recording someone on a Flip camera from eight feet away doesn't work. Get closer, and frame them from their chest to the top of their head. Keep the camera facing the speakers. Models like the Kodak Zi8 allow for an external lavaliere microphone. Use it.

You can find inexpensive LED lights that attach to most cameras at Practice simple lighting. Don't spotlight people like you want them to confess.

If you can, edit. I use really inexpensive software, or I make sure that my recordings are very brief. People don't want to wade through garbage, so learn to cut stuff out.

Just Press Record
Your viewers want to be educated and entertained. By giving them video to go along with your words, you're enabling them to connect with you. It's a win-win. I look forward to hearing how your efforts turn out, so drop me a line on Twitter (@chrisbrogan), OK?

Tools for Making Video


  • Flip MinoHD: A mini, portable video camera with 720-pixel HD resolution, 60 frames per second and a digital zoom lens. The 4 GB is $100; the 8 GB is $140.
  • Kodak Zi8: A mini video camerawith 1080p HD video at 30fps. Records up to 10 hours and has a built-in USB arm. Get it for $180.


  • Windows Live Movie Maker: Make and edit movies using photos and videos; add specialeffects, themes, soundtracks, transitions and more; and share videos online. Available as part of a free download for Windows 7 and Windows Vista.
  • iMovie: Mac users can organize, edit and watch videos, turn them into movie trailers and upload them to the web or use iTunes to sync them with Apple devices. In the Mac App Store for $15.


  • YouTube: The most popular online source for sharing and watching videos for free. Upload and edit videos directly in You- Tube, shorten or combine video clips, add music with AudioSwap and include transitions.
  • Vimeo: Upload up to 500 MB of video for free each week. Customize your videos, join groups, discuss others' videos and learn how to make better ones at Vimeo Video School.
  • TubeMogul: A brand-focused video-marketing company that claims to reach 700 million internet users worldwide through its PlayTime video advertising platform. Video analytics and reporting help clients monitor their campaigns' success.
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