Top Ten Vlogging Tips from Boris Willis

As you know, Boris Willis was our curator for our last Kinetic Cinema of the season. The subject of his evening was dance vlogs: a video blog with dance.  As an experienced dance vlogger, Boris has many insights into the process of creating videos, performing for the camera, editing, and using the web to share his work online.  He has graciously offered some helpful information about making dance videos, and creating dance vlogs.  Check out his inspirational work and helpful tips below.

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Capitol Spring 2 by Boris Willis

Boris writes:

Why should artists create a dance vlog? I believe the answer lies in the number of times we have to explain what we do and have little in our culture to point to as an example. We have an opportunity to reach out to the public to show and explain the process of what we do, why we do it and how we feel about it. Here are some tips for you to think about as you make your dance vlogs.

  1. Have a vision
    Find a way to make videos that you feel express who you are and what you want to say as a dancer. That being said, don’t just turn on your camera and dance, find a way to make an interesting and exciting video. Look at commercials and other short videos as inspiration.
  2. Vlogging is personal and performative
    Make your vlog about you because it is the one subject that you know more about than anyone else. Dance, talk about dance, talk about making dance while you are dancing, dance about making dance.
  3. Understand how the web is used
    Just because you have twenty minutes of footage doesn’t mean you should post it all to your vlog. Generally speaking three minutes is the most someone will watch. In other words keep it short, a sixty second video is plenty. As you gain more skills you will be able to make longer videos compelling by the way you edit them. It is always better to leave them wanting more than to bore them. Make stuff that people want to see and make it short enough that they watch it all.
  4. Edit
    Learn how to use the tools of video editing. There are free editing tools that come with your computer operating system, Window’s Movie Maker for Window and iMove for the Mac OS. If you want to be able to do more sophisticated editing you can get Final Cut Express for the Mac and Premiere Pro Elements for the PC. For professional level editing you will need something like Premier Pro CS 4 for the PC and Final Cut 6 for the Mac. The great thing about video is that you can take the time to get it right and make your content compelling. However, the most important edit you make is at the end of your video, use a black out when the video is over and put your credits at the end of each video without a blackout so the credits are the last thing your audience sees. That way if your video gets distributed around the web everyone will know its yours.
  5. Get the best camera you can afford
    You never know what will become of your work it is always best to get the highest quality video of your original work. When you put it on the web it will get compressed and lose quality but that is what we expect from the web. Having a high quality version for showing offline is a very good idea. I also recommend that you use a camera that records to video tape so that you have a backup. I always shoot in HDV but down-convert to SD to save disk space then compress it to the Quicktime format which eventually gets converted to flash.
  6. Find a video host that you like
    I have been in debates about whether it is better to put your videos on Vimeo or YouTube or There is no reason not to try all three and of any number of others. Just find one that you like. If image quality is what is most important then Vimeo is for you. If ease of distribution is what is most important then is for you. If getting your videos seen by a large number of people then YouTube is the way to go. There are pro’s and con’s for all three services and I use all three and others as well. Once you decided on a host for your videos choose a host for your blog. Blogger and WordPress are two popular services that give you a variety of tools to enhance your content.
  7. Be Consistent
    Follow your vision, update on a regular basis, make videos in manageable viewing times for your audience. You are not going to make money from advertising on your vlog but you can use your vlog as a tool to get work by showcasing your skills as a performer, choreographer, editor and artist. Let your followers know what you are up to especially when you are taking a break. People want to know that when they go to your blog there is regularly new content there that they want to see. Your dance vlog should be fun and informative. You should do it because you enjoy it.
  8. Say hello
    How do you get people to follow your vlog? Email your friends, comment on other people’s vlogs, tell people you meet, get cards made. You can get free cards online from Vista Print.
  9. Music
    Don’t use copy-written music. Find a musician among your friends or on the web that will let you use their music in exchange for some cross promotion. You can find plenty of music at this url Learn about Creative Commons use and credit the musicians for their work.
  10. Describe the videos you make
    Write a description of the videos you post and use tags to help yourself and others find them. It is time consuming at first to describe your work but the value in doing so cannot be underestimated. Describe what you are doing in the video, give the location, who is in the video, when it was done and what the video is about.

-Boris Willis

This entry was posted in artistic process, artists, education/learning, Kinetic Cinema, production tips and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Top Ten Vlogging Tips from Boris Willis

  1. Aaron Jackson says:

    Sound advice for any vlogger, not just in the dance community. – Much appreciated. Regarding cameras: I use a Flip HD camera and can output from my editing program Final Cut Pro to tape if that is how you want to archive your final edited video. Best to have a camera with mic inputs though for better audio quality.

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