BlogHer Food '11 Liveblog: Vlogging for Beginners: Bring Your Cooking Videos to Life


Welcome to the BlogHer Food '11 liveblog of the Visuals: Vlogging for Beginners - Bring Your Cooking Videos to Life panel.

Learn how to enhance the entertainment value of your blog by creating cooking videos. Using a mock studio kitchen, a consumer-friendly Flip cam, lights, and a computer, food bloggers will learn video production and editing basics from three veteran TV pros, including Liz Weiss, Carolyn O'Neil, and Mria Dangerfield, who met as CNN colleagues. All attendees will spec a cooking video, and several will have the opportunity to test-shoot some video live.

CO: What is a vlog? It's no different from a blog but is in the form of a video. It provides a new way for you to express yourself. Blogs have text and vlogs have video.

Your ability to put video on your blog is a fabulous thing and testimony to technology advances. Used to have had to spend a minimum of 2K a day for the crew + 8K camera and an audio guy. Now you can use your phone to do video.

It's about the wrap and not the recipe. You can practice the recipe over and over but unless you have the wrap there's nothing. Garbage in is garbage out. Poor lighting, poor focus, poor acting, poor recipes. It's garbage, you can't polish it up.

Background --- up here we have a merlot color background. You want to make sure that you don't have something weird like a restroom sign or exit sign in the background. Hang up fabric behind you if you don't have a good background.

Tip: Make friends with manager of William Sonoma, they change their backgrounds and store props often and those are tossed in the trash - they change them every 2 weeks. You might be able to take them and use them for your vlog.

Foreground -- food styling, some flowers, apple with a lunch. think about non-food props in the foreground. Not too busy - too distracting for viewers.

include the ingredients and utensils for your recipe - it gives viewers a hint of what's coming and it also reminds you how to do your recipe.

Invest in a banner (step & repeat) that carries your logo/tag line/sponsor message on the step & repeat. If your video gets shared, your brand stays with the video even if the video somehow loses your url.

Plan ahead.

Food Styling is important.

TIP: Clear bowls -- make up sponges can prop up plates to give viewers a view of the food prep/finished.

Look the part - use costuming or wear clothing that represents the message you're trying to convey.

There should be a beginning, middle and an end to your vlog. "Tie it in a bow" to close the show. Have it tied to the spirit of your blog, wrap up your message.

A video Carolyn did for WebMD is shown, (I believe it was this one about healthy snacks for kids.)

Liz is up now.

She's showing a picture and pointing out problems (shot is too wide, hand sanitizer is in the show, the chef in the video didn't wash her hands so it was distracting -- the props don't work.)

Tell your story, it's not enough to just video tape a recipe. you want to make sure the clip makes sense - tell a story, how is this video an extension of your voice?

She loves Weelicious - Friday videos. Cook with kids. Kids like to watch them too.


*You need to know your audience.
*Have the finished dish nearby.

Do you need to write a script? That depends on your comfort level. Detailed outline. Introduce yourself, tell viewers what you're doing and why. Provide three key points. Have a closer - some sort of call to action.

Tip: * Don't use the word "amazing" -- it's over-used. Absolutely also over-used.

Now Mria is up: Talking about equipment.

MD: There are a lot of ways to shoot video now. Video cam, flip, laptop, cell phone, still cam with video.

Do a test shot. Get your set ready and take a test shot, look at the background and the props.

Lighting - best time to shoot is daytime in natural light. Bring in extra lights lamp, table lamp. If it's a sharp bulb, diffuse it - picture frame with fabric in front of it. Look for white balance setting on camera. What's the white supposed to look like?

Create a camera kit - duffle, camera, tripod, clamp lights, diffuser frame, microphone.

Make sure it's quiet when you're shooting. Turn off the tv, cell phone, kick the kids out, take the dog out. Use an external mic to improve sound.

Make sure you see the food in the video, ingredients, shot of the final dish, recipe or list of ingredients.

Be careful with too much light - bright sunlight, diffuse it, do it on a cloudy day.

Don't be wed to the cook, counter, camera - be creative, you don't have to always be the cook behind the counter in front of the camera. Go outside, move to another room, do something unusual.

* Use a tripod to steady the camera
* Have someone else shoot for you
* Try a two or three camera shoot or use an overhead camera for wide shot, close up, medium shot
* If you only have one camera and you go back to shoot a second version make sure you have continuity, leave space for graphics and use natural sound.

Editing software:
* Start with title page
* Add effects (transitions from one shot to another, don't go too crazy)
* Use music (make sure you're authorized to use the music)
* Add graphics (words on the screen)

Tip: You can start with iMovie or windows movie maker for editing.

From the audience: How expensive is the software -- it can be free, $50, really good stuff $1K.

Final Cut costs about $100, or you can edit on youtube, using the youtube editing tool.

From the audience: for cheap music/sound effects.

Sites recommended for uploading:
* Youtube
* vimeo
* dailymotion
* ifoodtv

There are limitations with vimeo and youtube is a great search engine,which is useful for getting viewers to your vlog - the player isn't as pretty but the search makes it worth it. Go with these two. Comment approval is available on youtube if you don't want to deal with mean commenters.

If you'd like additional information or have more questions, tweet the panelists here:

Eat Relate Love has volunteered to come up and create a vlog. She reviews the props for a couple of minutes and they're shooting the vlog now.

Tip: If you're shooting with more than one camera at a time, do that clap (the directory's box) so that you can synchronize the video from the multiple videos.

Question from the audience about getting permission from those who appear in your vlog. Ask for permission when shooting on private property. When shooting in public places, get written permission to use individuals in video.
- Vlogging public figures (they have no control over how you use this film.)
- Vlogging private figures (Private citizens are protected and you need a release statement.)
We watched the vlog made by Eat, Relate, Love and another vlog was shot with another volunteer (sorry, I didn't hear her name or blog name, if it was you, leave a comment and I'll add you.) Mria shot the video with a handheld camera.
Liveblogged by Denise -- contact me about changes or problems needed.

Handout_-_Visuals_-_Vlogging_-_Produce_a_Good_VLOG.pdf128.78 KB
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