Glen Waterfall | Reviewing my Vlog

My Cinematic Vlog

My trip to the Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve was fun. The air was crisp and cool – definitely one of those days that communicate that fall and winter are on their way. Seeing the rushing waterfall was as mystifying as ever and the trip overall was a lovely reminder that there are other cool places like this within reach for Chicagoans.

When it comes to my video, I think that because I was focusing SO MUCH on getting certain KINDS of shots, I kind of forgot to record more of what was going on that day 🤣.

Positives

My Attention to the Viewer’s Eyes in the Editing Room

After watching many of AUXOUT’s videos, I started to notice that he pays careful attention to where the viewer’s eyes will look from one shot to another.

The way he cuts between shots seems to rely less on flashy transitions and more on what’s in the frame, making it easy to pay attention to the video. If you create a video in which the viewers’ eyes need to frequently dart from one side to another, simply trying to watch the video can probably become tiring and as a result, displeasing.

During this particular editing and shooting process, I tried to be a bit more mindful of framing most of my shots with the subject in the center and I think I at least accomplished my mission there.

Choosing the center may be the “easy choice” when it comes to making things cinematic, but the lesson here is that the viewers eyes is an aspect of video that I need to grow to be increasingly aware of during shoots.

What I noticed from implementing this is that the overall footage felt smoother.

Slow-Mo for Days

Yes, I went ham on Slow-mo. On one hand, I’m a little embarrassed that I used it so much… but on the other hand, I’m actually quite proud of it.

I believe that a big part of why I used slow-mo so much, and especially in this video, is because I’m actually still fairly new to it. I don’t quite understand the boundaries and totally went overboard. But because I DID go overboard, I feel like I’m starting to understand its effects (for better or worse) a bit better.

On that note, it brings to mind a question on how useful the S&Q mode on the camera actually is. Would it be more beneficial to PLAN your slow-mo’s or shoot everything in 120 and go from there?

Concerning the slow-mo I used on B-Roll footage, I feel like it really helped ease off the need or want for a gimbal. Slowing the footage down covered up a lot of the shakiness but using it so much for B-Roll also started to remove the realism – something I did not like.

An Awesome Transition

At 2:43, I created a transition that I’m crazy proud of. Clara walks from left to right and I utilized the tree to create the transition to a goofy face.

I first saw this type of transition from an AUXOUT video (in particular, this video at 0:49) and I had been eager to try it out – I’m glad I did. In the future, I would try to create a little bit more depth between the subject and the background. In the shot I took, I feel like the subject was a little too close to the bushes and trees behind her.

Another interesting aspect about what the shot transitioned INTO was that the pose I ended up using was one that was unplanned. My directions were to “look cool” and while the first two takes were actually “cool”, her natural goofiness felt better for the shot and the overall vibe of the video.

Things that Need Work

Give Better and More Specific Directions

This is something I felt not only in post but during the filming as well. Giving more precise directions as to how to pose or direct a subject can really amplify and change the vibe of any scene. Failure to do so can create a bit of a flatness during the shoot, one where you need to rely on the subject to be witty enough and secure enough to do something random that happens to look good. Failure to do so can also create a bit of stale air or maybe even an undertone of uncertainty in the video as it may show through the subject’s actions.

While the video itself is an amazing memory, it doesn’t mean I’m off the hook. The feeling of having your subject not quite “do” or “convey” what you want and the helplessness in not knowing how to direct them are terrible feelings to go through simultaneously – not only for myself but for any person being filmed. Because of that, I need to get better at this.

In order to get better at this, I think what I need to do is begin to understand what “type” of shots I want to get (which is very closely related with my next point). I have to really analyze the shots I like where people are moving and understand what they’re for. From there, I think I need to practice, by doing, directing someone to make and recreate those shots – over and over again.

Know more intimately and thoroughly what kind of shot(s) I want

I’ve started to instinctively realize that I need to get in more reps of specific types of camera movements and specific types of shots. A pre-requisite to doing this is to research different types of camera movements & shots. From there, I’ve got to work on understanding the intentions and the emotions they tend to create or evoke.

From here, the more I do them, the better my understanding of them will become.

Film more Random Happenings for Better A-Roll

One thing I felt I had very little of, was A-Roll.

I think my concentration of wanting to get so many slow-mo shots resulted with very little “story”. It was more of a video that looked cool rather than a story that was breathtaking. The solution, I believe, and something I think is very specific to vlogging, is to remember to film more things that are happening, rather than trying to rely solely on setting up shots – because at THAT point, you might actually simply be making a film.

Whether or not there’s any real difference is a discussion I don’t quite feel up for in this particular blog post, lol.

Get more B-Roll Content

Besides the waterfall, I felt like I had VERY VERY little B-Roll. Again, concentrating so much on the slow-mo kind of pulled my attention away from the surroundings. I’ve gotta keep in mind to incorporate more up close shots, environment shots, and maybe even more interaction with the environment.

Conclusion

The conclusion here, on all levels, is to start “small”.

There’s a strength to being able to do “basics”. And because of that, I believe I have to start by breaking down shots to their basic level and essentially do studies on them. As with anything else, more intentional repetition and studies will help with improvement overall.

I am happy with this vlog, but I am even more excited to do better on the next!

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