October - December 2006 Vol 2 Issue 11
As a blogger on the Internet, it's possible to post entries for the entire world to read about the biggest, or littlest, happenings in one's life. Now video bloggers, or "vloggers," are adding a twist to the genre, documenting their lives in mini-movies. So, you would like to know what are video bloggers? So, here is the answer. Videoblog, a portmanteau combining video, web, and log, (usually shortened to vlog) is a blog that includes video. Regular entries are typically presented in reverse chronological order and often combine embedded video or a video link with supporting text, images, and other metadata.
Videoblogging takes advantage of some of the latest technologies. This technology, in turn, builds on features in the latest versions of the Windows XP and Mac OS X operating systems. The three main formats for viewing videos are Windows Media, QuickTime, and Flash. Luckily, there are free Mac and PC versions of all of these players. Since you'll want to watch all kinds of videoblogs, it's important to have the most up-to-date versions.
Keeping track - Very time-consuming job!! Ain’t so?
While going through many vlogs many people find it a time-consuming task to click on every video link on every blog? So, here comes the solution. Instead of keeping track of Web sites with bookmarks, you can subscribe to vlogs through RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds and use a video aggregator to deliver them to you through the Internet. Don't worry! Subscribing is free and easy. So strap on your videoblogging goggles and helmet, because you're about to embark on a subscription adventure worthy of the call to arms, "Engage!"
What Is RSS?
Technically RSS is a group of XML file formats used for Web syndication. Aren't you glad you asked? Basically, RSS is the technology that allows you to subscribe to videoblogs (and text blogs and podcasts and The New York Times) and have the content delivered to you automatically, rather than going to your favorite sites looking for new stuff on each page every day or every couple of hours or every fifteen minutes (yes, some of us are this obsessive). It's kind of like getting a newspaper delivered right to your door instead of walking to a newsstand to buy it. RSS allows vloggers and other publishers to send information directly to your desktop instead of forcing you to browse a page to see what's been added or updated.
RSS allows Web publishers to distribute content to anyone who wants it by creating a special file called a feed. Free Web tools let videobloggers create these feeds easily. Vloggers advertise their RSS feeds with buttons or text links that ask viewers to "Subscribe to my feed," or something similar. These buttons and links allow people to subscribe to the RSS feed for a particular videoblog.
The big benefit of RSS feeds is that everything is automated. Each new posting to a vlog is automatically added to the RSS feed and then sent to anyone who subscribes. That means you can easily keep track of your favorite videoblogs by subscribing to their RSS feeds with a video aggregator (see "Using Video Aggregators" below). Do that and, like magic, new videos will appear in your Web browser or on your computer's desktop. You won't have to do a thing!
Using Video Aggregators
If RSS is like a newspaper subscription, a video aggregator is like the paperboy who delivers it right to your door. Video aggregators are programs or Web services that you use to receive your RSS feeds. Video aggregators automatically check all of your RSS subscriptions and collect all the new content for you. Some examples are Mefeedia, iTunes, and FireAnt. All three are absolutely free, make it easy to subscribe to videoblogs, and work on both Macs and PCs.
Taking Vlogs on the Road
If you've subscribed to vlogs using video aggregators, you can now take your favorite ones with you. Apple's new iPod and Sony's PlayStation Portable (PSP) make it possible to watch video on the go.
Finding Your Story
Vlogging may not get you your 15 minutes of fame but it will probably make you famous to at least 15 people. What counts is that you are making content that is true to your ideas and passions. So, it is always better to keep topic, tone and audience in mind. The huge variety of videoblogs is part of what makes the vlogoshere so endlessly fascinating. People enjoy all kinds of vlogs. Your mission, first and foremost, is to create a videoblog that showcases your passions. The magic of the Internet and videoblogs is that your audience will eventually find you.
Choosing a Topic
The standard advice to beginning writers is to write about what you know. That's a good suggestion for videobloggers, too, and helps explain why personal videoblogs are so popular. After all, we're all experts about our own lives. Does the idea of sharing your life sound like fun? If you'd love to show the highlights (or lowlights) of a vacation or produce a clip of your pet's antics in the park, an autobiographical vlog may be right for you. Think about shooting a day in your own life as the first video for your vlog.
Setting the Tone
Once you decide on a topic, it's time to think about approach and tone. Your tone will depend on whichever part of your personality you choose to show in your video. Are you exhibiting the professional, expert side in an educational video? Are you being sarcastic in a political commentary video? Are you feeling poetic, comic, mysterious? Many vloggers choose to mix up the tone on their videoblogs by switching from one approach to another, reflecting how varied they are as people. Many switch from serious to artistic, depending on their mood and the idea behind a video. One video might be a scathing editorial on current events, the next could be a funny moment recorded at random. Your tone is a reflection of your personality, just as the vlog you create is an extension of who you are.
Knowing Your Audience
Another critical part of creating a vlog is figuring out whom you're speaking to and how to reach them. Is it just your family and friends? Or is it a specific target group such as twenty-somethings, political junkies, musicians, or marketers? Thinking about your intended audience will help you set the tone of your vlog. You don't want to make many in-jokes if you hope to reach a large number of people who don't already know you and understand the jokes. But if your target audience is just your college buddies, then you can be as much of an insider as you'd like.
Vlogging is a public act, and yet one of the wonders of vlogging is that no matter how carefully you target a particular audience in creating and posting video, that audience may fail to show up. On the other hand, an entirely unexpected group may drop by to enjoy the show. In short, you can never predict exactly who will love your videos.
To create your vlog, you will need to create accounts with several different sites. One is where your vlog page can be found, so the world can watch the videos you create(Blogger, http://blogger.com). The other is where you'll actually keep your videos (The Internet Archive, http://archive.org, and Ourmedia, http://ourmedia.org). The latter is, in essence, a media library that not only lets you check out other people's work but also lets you add your own material to its shelves. After that, you'll link your movie to your vlog site and voilà, people can finally view your masterpiece
So what are you waiting for? Pick up a camera, Shoot a video, Edit it a bit, and after uploading, your video is ready for the world audience.
by Himanshu Pandey, M.Tech.(Intelligent Systems), IIITA
Mansi Garg, M.Tech.(Intelligent Systems), IIITA