Starting a motovlog can be intimidating, and costly, but I’ve found it to be worth my time and money, because for me it is fun, it satisfies my creative need, and has opened me up to a community to make new friends around the world. I’ve been wanting to make a series of videos to give you a realistic and comprehensive look at what it takes to start up your very own motovlogging channel, so you know what to expect before starting your own vlogging adventures.
But, before I jump in, I want to take a moment to address anyone who just got their motorcycle license. It may seem easy to ride and talk at the same time, but if this isn’t something that comes naturally to you, and you find talking while you ride is distracting you from being an alert and safe rider, please use your best judgement and be cautious. Your safety is priority #1 and certainly more important than your channel, so know your limits before you hop on your motorcycle to record content for your YouTube channel. Now, with that out of the way, let’s jump right in.
I will preface part 2, by saying that I won’t be going over the nitty-gritty of how to setup your individual cameras, how to edit in your specific editing software, or how to upload your video to YouTtube. The purpose of Part 2, is to provide a general guide, including best practices, that should help you find success with your YouTube channel. Remember, though, that success is relative, and there are very few who will find “overnight success” in the form of subscribers and view counts.
RECORDING - I have found that recording (or creating) content that I, myself, would find interesting and entertaining has been the key to my channel’s longevity. Portraying an authentic version of yourself on your channel will also help you to build a base of subscribers who tune-in specifically because they connect with you.
Something important to consider before you begin pouring yourself into your channel, is that the entire process has to be fun to you, and needs to be able to hold your interest. And, that includes the long and sometimes tedious process of editing. If you ever feel like getting out there and hitting record feels like it’s becoming a chore, your channel will likely have a short lifespan.
Now that we’ve put the serious stuff behind us, let’s talk about best practices for recording.
First and foremost is the technical stuff - before you head out on the road, do your testing. Few things are as frustrating as finishing up a recording session, only to realize your videos do not have sound, or your camera’s angle was set to the wrong setting.
If you’re running a GoPro Hero 5 or later, I recommend using Superview (as opposed to wide). Though the super-wide angle skews the edges a bit, it will also take away the chance that you’ll miss high or low on your camera’s actual physical angle.
This may sound obvious but, check that your batteries are charged (take extras if you think you’ll need more time) because you don’t want to be in the middle of recording a second or third video when your battery dies.
Sound (for me is priority one) - and depending on your mic setup it’s best to do some tests to make sure your audio isn’t too loud, or too soft. This is going to depend on your mic placement. Right in front of your mouth, to me is not the best location, as it is usually close to a vent, and in the direct line of your breathing. I always make sure to close my helmet’s front vent (near the mouth). If there’s too much wind noise, you may have to limit your rides to slower speeds when you’re recording until you can troubleshoot a way to eliminate some of that noise.
Another best practice is that I always record more than one video at a time. This is really important if your plan is to publish multiple videos a week. When you go out for a recording ride, shoot for as long as you need to, to record what will amount to (at least) two videos. Before I had my phone mounted on my bike - for reference, I always memorized a few bullet points to make sure I was staying on topic. It’s okay to be long-winded, because you can cut out what you need to in post, but remember, the more succinct you are on camera, the less time you’ll spend on the back end, editing it out.
My last tip for recording is to take some time to capture extra video and pictures from your ride for what is known as B-roll, and also for use in your video’s thumbnail. Stop and get a wide shot of a view from your ride. Take a 10 second video of something that relates to what you’re talking about.
And that is a perfect segway into editing. An easy way to add variety to a video is to make sure you don’t spend the entire video in one angle, or point-of-view. This is where that extra B-roll footage comes in. Using your b-roll can enhance your story and give you flexibility when editing.
B-roll doesn’t always have to be your own video or photo, either. I often use others’ content (within YouTube’s community guidelines) to liven up a video. I’ll also use clips from movies and TV to crack a joke or to drive home a point I’m making.
By far, though my biggest tip for editing is to cut the fluff. If your video has a point, make sure you cut out anything that strays too far from the point you’re getting at. It doesn’t mean you can’t ever get side-tracked (trust me, I’m am guilty of it every day) but limit your tangents, or viewers will lose interest. Fluff also includes those long stretches of silence. It’s a good idea to cut out long pauses or the time you’re taking to formulate a thought.
Music - is another layer you can add to your video. In the last year or so, I’ve added music to my videos to set the tone. You can use music from YouTube’s Audio Library, or use copyright free music from SoundCloud, or my site of choice, Epidemic Sound.
Any of these sites have a ton of free content, but I personally choose to pay for a subscription, because I love Epidemic Sound’s interface, and it also gives me a lot more options. For $15/month, you can gain access to thousands of songs, sound, and effects. My suggestion would be to start off with your free options and consider a subscription once your channel’s bringing in a little bit of money, or simply whenever you feel like you’re ready to put that investment into your channel.
Of course, the biggest thing that’s going to make you a better editor is practice. I will say, though, that you don’t want to spend an inordinate amount of time on a single video. We are our own worst critics and if you’re like me, no matter how long you spend on a video, it’s never going to satisfy you. So, give yourself a deadline and stick to it.
UPLOADING - One vital practice you will need to execute on is consistency. You need to find a realistic amount of videos that you will be able to publish in a week or month and post on a regularly scheduled day. The more precise the better, because if viewers know when to expect new content from you, they’ll be looking for it, and will be more likely to subscribe. If that means you need to schedule out very specific time for recording and editing, you do what you gotta do, but know that publishing content on a regular basis is a huge aspect of what will get subscribers to come and more importantly, get them to stay.
The uploading process can be lengthy, if your internet connection is slow, or your upload quality is high (1080 or above) so you will need to factor that into your “time spent”. Some, including myself, choose to upload overnight, but if you choose to go that way, keep these two things in mind. One - make sure computer’s sleep settings are set to keep your computer on, and two, if you don’t want your video to be “Public” once it’s downloaded, make sure you change the setting to “Private”, or schedule it to publish at a specific time.
There are a whole plethora of other settings that can be preset to speed up the process, so be sure to get familiar with YouTube’s options that can help make your life easier. You will also want to be sure to make relevant tags, add end-screen links, as well as cards.
Last but not least, be deliberate about your title and thumbnail. Your title should draw people in, and give them a reason to click on your video. More importantly, your thumbnail should be relevant, and eye-catching. YouTube viewers browsing and scrolling through a topic are more likely to click on a video because of the thumbnail, more than the title, so it should be attractive and sum up what they will see in your video in a single image.
One more thing about thumbnails - There should be a common thread on your channel’s thumbs, so consider inserting a logo, or your channel’s name into each thumbnail. I personally use Canva for all of my thumbnails, and I have never paid a single penny. It’s easy to use, with a large amount of free content, and it allows you to be creative in an organized fashion. It also can add a level of professionalism to your channel which can be enticing to potential subscribers.
Now you should be ready to fine-tune, which we will cover in our final part of this series. If you made it to the end of the my blog, share with us in the comments what your editing station is or will be comprised of and why it works for you. Do you use a laptop, or desktop? Mac or PC? Final Cut or Adobe Premiere?
If you have any questions regarding part 2, please leave a comment or feel free to hit me up on social media