Monday, April 23, 2007

How to vlog a meeting or presentation?

I developed a 12-step vlogging process to help a network in Ghana (GINKS) produce an ICT4D stories blog. They were amazed that it is so easy to do, easier than maintaining a website for instance. We did two videos in the office together for fun, then did two video interviews jointly. The last two videos were published on their own. You can see them all on the GINKS blog. We are still figuring out how to link the blog to the website as a page of the website. Thanks to Jay Dedman and Beth Kanter for their tips along the way! there is an IBM podcast too on how to get started with online video. In it, they also make the point that it is very easy to get started with video editing software which is already may be on your computer (like windows moviemaker) which is of reasonably good quality. In combination with the easiness of uploading it to various site, and the possibility of tagging and blogging these video productions, it is a powerful way of bringing people closer together.

Step 1: Attend the meeting or listen to the presentation you want to vlog
Don’t video the whole meeting or the whole presentation. It could become boring and it will be time-consuming for people who were not around to watch it. Hence you have to attend the meeting and listen carefully to what is said. After knowing the details of the meeting or presentation, you can formulate 1-3 interview questions. The questions should lead the interviewee to expland on the core of the meeting, or rather to zoom in on one interesting detail. The interview question can either capture the core of the presentation, or one aspect of the discussions that take place.

Step 2: Choose your person(s) to interview and formulate your interview questions
If you vlog a presentation, it is clear whom you are going to interview, but if the meeting is attended by various people you have to make a decision whom to interview. Choose a person with an interesting opinion or controversial view, who can explain his/her view passionately. Basically the way this person talks will determine the quality of your video. If you have a lively meeting, you might also try and interview several people with the same question. You can have one or several questions. When you try and cover a presentation, you might need 3-4 questions and your video might end up in 3-5 minutes. When you have a specific topic, one question might do, and you may have a video of less than 1 minute. Western people are often more to the point and can talk about a topic without introduction. With people in the south, you might need to plan slightly more time and it may work better to ask introductory questions. You will learn what works by making lots of videos.

Step 3: Ask the interviewee(s) for 5 minutes of their time for a video interview and brief them about the process
It is unlikely people will say no, when you ask them for an interview of 5 minutes. You may brief him/her about the procedure (we will go to a quiet place, I will ask you the following two questions, etc) so that it is clear what is expected of them.

Step 4: Decide on the place of the interview and go there
If you do the interview straight away on the spot immediately after the meeting, it will be more spontaneous than if you do it later and the person will have the topics of the meeting or presentation fresh in mind. But you may have to find a relatively quiet place and good background. It is important to have light on the spot or on your back- so you are not experiencing backlight. Some rumour on the background is OK, as long as the interviewee is clearly audible. It might even give a bit of ‘colour locale’. If this doesn’t work, you may have to make another appointment. When you make an appointment, you can influence the place of interview more and you can choose a light and quiet place. Think about the light too. You can open curtains and put on the light.

Step 5: Do the actual interview and video it
You can do ask another person to ask the questions, or you can do it yourself. If you ask the questions yourself, the interviewee is more likely to look into the camera, which gives the feeling of direct contact. Be clear to the interviewee when to start, and be clear to yourself about the procedure. Are you going to include your questions in the video or will you add them later as text? You might tell tell the interviewee to begin with their name/affiliation and rephrase the question too. If you are not using an external microphone you have to be really close to the interviewee. Andy Carvin has developed some interview tips.

Step 6: Upload the video to your computer
You have to transfer the video to your computer using a cable. A wizard will help you to select the videos from your camera. Make it a habit to delete ‘old videos from your camera, and to upload and process the video as soon as possible after shooting it, otherwise you risk to copy a lot of videos which you don’t need. Make sure you know where you copy the video file (eg. under my videos) and give a logical name.

Step 7: Edit the video
Even if you don’t need to edit the video itself (eg cut part of it), and you don’t want to add any titles to it, you still have to convert the video into the right format. (if you use windows moviemaker from .mswmm to .wmv extension)

You can use one the following free programs for editing:
Windows movie maker
Virtual Dub
Avid Free DV

Step 8: Host your video on the web and post it to your blog
There are lots of video sites where you can open an account and host your videos. The advantage of hosting your video on the web is that you don’t use space on your computer, you can access it from anywhere. But also important, from these sites, it is easy to crosspost it to a blog (making it into a vlog when you upload videos regularly). When you use a popular site, you may have lots of viewers too. Some of the site where you can host your video are:

I don’t know about the last 2, but in, youtube, and google you have the option to add your blogaddress to your account, so that you can post your video on your blog with one click. In you can even upload the video to your blog at the same time that you upload it to It will show the video ‘embedded’ in your blog. Embedded means that you see the picture of the video and start button so that readers and start the video from your blog, without having to go to the site where the video is hosted. It will look like this:

Step 9: Write a summary of the interview on your blog (and indicate how long the video is)
When readers see the video on your blog, they may not know how long it is and whether it is interesting enough for them to watch the whole video. You can edit the blogpost and write a summary of the video content. This will help readers to decide whether it is worth to watch the video. It will also help people with lowbandwidth who might not be able to watch the video to access the information by simply reading the text.

Step 10: Advertise the video if possible
You might announce a specific video to people who might be interested. Untill you have the idea that most people are subscribed to your vlog, you may post it to relevant Dgroups or send it to individual people. Don’t announce every video in the same Dgroup though, but if you have a special one, you might announce it and explain why it is special.

Step 11: Send the link to the interviewee and ask for feedback
This is important, because the interviewee has given you his/her time, and might be curious to see the result (and proud!). He/she can also help you to send the link to other interested people. When there are comments on the blog you might alert the interviewee again.

Step 12: Wait for compliments
(or ask for feedback if you don’t get any)
You can use the references to your blog to see whether other site have referred to your video. You can see the number of times the video has been viewed on the site where you host your videos (, youtube or any other host).


Sreekar Reddy Takemal said...

Good Job Ms. Joitske Hulsebosch,

Keep it up.

Nynke said...

Hi Joitske,
Regarding how to publish the blog in a web page, see this page on converting RSS to HTML or javascript, it might help:

Beth Kanter said...

This is fantastic! Thanks for blogging it!