Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What is Vlogging

Greg Evans, editor of InterfaceNZ magazine has asked me to write a regular column on video - starting with vlogging.

So what is vlogging? Well, I don't want to limit this to text - so how about we start by watching my little video I just made: What is Vlogging.

You can probably tell by the quality of my video that it took me all of 15 minutes to make.. including recording, compressing and uploading. Ironically it will take me about an hour to prepare the supporting text!

And that's the beauty of Internet video these days. Thanks to services like Youtube and many others, you and I and everyone are able to publish video at next to no cost, in hardly any time, and with very little technical ability. That's a media revolution right there! With so many of us taking advantage of this opportunity, there is A LOT of video out there. With so much video, the chances of each of us finding something that is interesting, useful or unique becomes very likely, so we are now a lot more ready to forget about questions of quality because we have rediscovered what it means for a video to be interesting, useful or unique. That's another revolution right there! We've learned to accept that its the content of the video that matters, regardless of the image quality and cost of production. Even TV news is less interested in "broadcast quality" images, and seem quite happy using footage from Youtube at 320x240 compressed and at 15 frames per second. So the barrier of entry is now low on all fronts - access, cost and expectations.

If you want more to think about on this, I'd highly recommend Michael Wesch's presentation to the Library of Congress: An Anthropological Introduction to Youtube

Ok, what about vlogging?

Vlogging combines the words video and blogging. Regular readers of Interface should by now know what a blog is, but in case you're new to it - here's my attempt to explain a big thing: A blog is a website that is regularly updated with new content by the same author/s. Each new addition of content is called a blog-post or post and appears at the top with old content moving down the blog. A blog provides readers with subscription features that alert them when posts are added. Most blogs today include options for readers to add comments as a way of encouraging discussion and feedback with the blog author/s. Many journalists and social commentators use blogs, as do some teachers and politicians.

A video-blog or vlog then, is simply a blog that uses video as its primary media in each post.

I wonder if you can now guess what an audio-blog is? What about a moblog? The first 10 to send their correct answers in to Greg the Interface editor, will win a years subscription of Interface... I just made that last bit up.

Ok, so now you know what a vlog is, and maybe some of you want to set one up. Well, that's easy and wont cost you a cent! (Except for the woefully expensive monthly Internet charges in NZ).

First step is to create an account on Youtube. It doesn't have to be Youtube, there are other video publishing services, but let's keep it simple.

Your next step is to post your first video to your Youtube account. There are 3 ways:

  1. Upload a video you have from your computer
  2. Record a video directly onto Youtube by way of your webcam
  3. Record a video with your mobile phone and send it to your Youtube account via its own email address.

Youtube has great help videos for learning how to do any of these things, and more.

That's it! You have created your first post to your Youtube vlog. Other people can access your vlog by going to

Some people take vlogging further by setting up a blog on a service like Blogger, and then either linking their Youtube video into their blog, or uploading a video directly into their blog with Blogger's video upload features.

If you want people to be able to download your videos so they can play them off the Internet, or so you can turn your vlog into a podcast, then you'll have to use a different service than Youtube. I use It offers you all the features of Youtube (less the popularity) plus some significant extras, such as file download, and cross posting your video to other sites like the Internet Archive.

So there you have it. Take the time to watch the help videos. Its a great way to learn. If you want to find out all there is to know about vlogging, then the Wikipedia article is a great place to start.

See you next issue with another how-to on DIY video.

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