As our phones change dimensions, with screen sizes becoming gargantuan, it's inevitable that we're viewing more and more content on the go. The nature of what we're interested in seeing is also changing, with short online video clips accounting for what 14% of 16-24s are watching. So it's only natural that we're interested in the rise of the vlogger: video bloggers creating these clips that we can't get enough of. With a good smartphone, some apps and some savvy, you can become a video blogger too. Now, what's your passion?
Vlogging (aka video blogging) is a thing. Even though your computer’s autocorrect will insist on changing the word to ‘blogging’ every time you type it out, vlogging has catapulted many a bored teen unboxing makeup from their bedroom in a sleepy village to total global stardom (PewDiePie, KSI and SprinkleofGlitter are just a few of the now-household vlogging names to know).
The premise sounds easy: it involves filming yourself on your smartphone or DSLR, uploading the clip to a site like YouTube and embedding the link to all of your social media channels to share it with the planet. Or your 57 Instagram friends… if you happen to be a newbie who’s just starting out.
Unlike the perils of trying to become a thesp (who can memorise all those Shakespeare monologues to face-off with the spawn of BAFTA winners at the RADA or LAMBDA auditions?) or of trying to bag a reality TV deal (the level of debasement required to attain celeb status via Love Island feels beneath even us), vlogging just requires you, your charismatic personality and a smartphone with decent video capabilities to start. If you need some tips on how to become a smartphone film guru, we have an expert guide that can turn you into the Scorsese of smartphone video.
The most surprising thing to know about vlogging? There are people out there interested in hearing what you have to say, whether you want to ramble on about your obsession with YA fan fiction, talk about the optimal way to fasten a nappy or discuss if Bourgeois or Rimmel make the glossier lip gloss.
Since phone screens are getting bigger, our phones are increasingly becoming our favourite mobile watching hubs, reflecting our changing viewing habits and newer penchant for on-the-go streaming (it’s revolutionising the daily commute) and consuming short snippets of video online, using YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram – especially among the 16-24 set.
Recent research from Ofcom found that ‘short online video clips’ made up 14% of what people aged 16-24 were watching – just look at the popularity of certain YouTubers-turned-superstars for evidence.
But why stop at just watching the content? Now, with our phones all having sick cameras and app-makers releasing the latest in video-editing software on mobile, it’s easier than ever to shoot, edit and create high-end video from your mobile. So anyone can have their 15 minutes on YouTube. Make it big and you could be earning £4K per brand mention, and up to £20K a month through banner advertisements. Sounding more appealing already?
Before you quit the day job, here are some tips to propel you to internet stardom.
Pick a catchy name
The name of your YouTube channel can make or break you in the early days, so you want one that’s memorable, represents who you are and is also one-of-a-kind. If you’re stuck for ideas, there are YouTube name generators which ask you to type in a few key words that represent your vision, like SpinXO (after typing in travel, fashion and art the generator spat out 30-odd names which were mostly meh, but CultureCrush sounded promising). Or try that old trick that always seems to work when coming up with your rock-star alter-ego: use your pet’s name as your first name and the street you grew up on for the surname. Rover Bedford, anyone?
Watch a lot of vids
While the secret to YouTube success lies in being your charming self – not a copycat – you need to know what’s out there to see what you can offer. Vloggers often say that they spotted a niche and decided to fill it with their own content, and the best way to figure out what the world’s missing is by lots of video streaming. Happily, your budding online career happens to coincide perfectly with our newly launched Go Binge initiative, in partnership with TVPlayer, Netflix, SoundCloud and Deezer. Go Binge is all about watching content, from live-streams to cinema classics, whenever you like, without worrying about running out of data. Ah, bliss.
Master the basics of filming
Before you get started, you’ll want to make sure you (or the friend you’ve enlisted to help you succeed) know what you’re doing when it comes to those smartphone and DSLR video skills. If you’re starting off with smartphone filming, then check out the hidden gem that is a Three Discovery session.
Simple, straightforward and completely free of charge, there are various Discovery sessions you can sign onto, to learn everything from how to use to YouTube to taking a crash-course in Vlogging or film editing in iMovie, the must-use video editing app on your iPhone.
Other apps budding vloggers will love? FxGuru adds epic, Hollywood-style effects to any movie you’re making (essential for attention-grabbing visuals), while PocketVideo helps you create videos optimised for social media. You can add funky filters, stickers and music to your creations.
Build your community
Vlogging may be something you do on your own, but it’s hardly a solitary pursuit. In fact, once you decide to launch yourself into the world of vloggers, social media will be a 24/7 job for you: commenting on other blogs and vlogs, inviting those you admire to watch your vids or potentially collaborate with you, etc. And of course, once you build up a fanbase, you’ll need to interact with them, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and possibly even your own blog. So yes, this might ultimately be way harder work than your day job ever was.
Interested in other side hustles you can do with just your phone? We’ve got a few in mind…
Main pic: Unsplash via Ian Dooley