Niharika Agarwal
Firman Lung
Michael Spencer

How to vlog – top examples and advice from some very tech savvy students

Final instalment from my amazing LSE students. Earlier posts ran some of their blogs, which were part of their assignment to write an influencing strategy on a topic of their choice. But I gave them the option of doing a video blog (vlog) instead, and several of them grabbed it, with some impressive results. Here are three of the best, from Niharika Agarwal, Firman Lung and Michael Spencer.

Niharika Agarwal had a campaign to encourage car-pooling in Delhi

Here’s Niharika’s full strategy

Firman Lung tackled mental health in Indonesia

Here’s Firman’s full strategy

Michael Spencer took on fuel poverty in the UK

Here’s Michael’s full strategy

And here’s what they said about making them:

Niharika Agarwal

With my limited technical abilities, tons of enthusiasm and willingness to experiment, making a vlog seemed like an ideal challenge to take on in the middle of a global pandemic.

I would divide the entire process of vlog-making into three stages – exploring with some (over) confidence, actually making the vlog and anxiously trying to complete it on time (without pulling my hair out).

The first stage involved being inspired by some brilliant vlogs made by students in the Advocacy, Campaigning and Grassroots Activism class last year and making myself believe that I was capable of similar levels of planning, dedication and attention to detail. I played around with few video application options (iMovies, Instagram stories, InShot etc) and decided to use Instagram as it was user-friendly, free and offered the option to make 15-second stories which could be recorded together to produce a video.

I then made a new Instagram account (to avoid embarrassment and the risk of losing friends on my personal one) with the username of the campaign and went overboard with features such as polls, filters, music and GIFs. I did not have a storyline in mind or on paper and just launched into the process with a lot of creative energy, taking it one story at a time.

Once I was done with the initial outline, I went back and deleted the stories which made me cringe and screen-recorded the whole collection. The product was a finished vlog (which Prof Duncan and Tom generously thought was a “delight”) and significant hair loss. On a more serious note, vlog-making can be challenging but is incredibly rewarding in terms of discovering skills and new learnings. Spontaneity, resilience and letting go of the fear of being over-the-top helped me. Happy Vlogging!

Firman Lung

Since the pandemic altered most of my plan, including in making this video, I had to think ‘outside the box’ while being ‘inside the box’ of my dorm room due to the lockdown. I finally decided to make the most out of my video by combining both glimpses of my daily vlog and footages from the internet, with the topic of mental health and my (beloved) country, Indonesia! After days of planning and creating a simple storyboard, I came up with three main parts for the video: introduction, background situation, and the campaign. The video is aimed to be informative, fun, and professional at the same time; just like what you will see on campaign advertisement!

On the first part of my video, just before the campaign title, you can see me re-enacting my morning routine during the lockdown. I used my android phone camera to shoot the video, with the help of the chair and stack of books as a tripod (since I do not own one). For the other half of the video, I compiled various relevant videos from YouTube; turned it into black and white footage for the background part, and colourful for the campaign part. For the editing process, I used Adobe Premiere Pro CC, accompanied by Adobe Photoshop CC for some creative text arrangement and layout. The whole process of shooting; editing; mixing videos, text and music; and rendering took at least 12 hours.

Overall, this was a truly challenging yet fun experience. Hope you all enjoy it!

Michael Spencer

I created my vlog using Instagram Stories, a social medium that has boomed in the past five years. Much like a box of children’s cereal, Stories are colourful, interactive and easily digestible, which makes them a great way to get your message across in the post-digital age. I also like how accessible Stories are – anyone can pick up a smartphone and create engaging content with no professional experience or equipment required. This gives Stories a crude, yet authentic quality.

Each Story post can last up to 15 seconds, so I began by drafting a storyboard to figure out the sequence and timing of my content. Next, I created an Instagram account for my campaign and posted some case studies and ‘killer facts’ to the feed. I also created a petition on change.org and a crowd funding page on gofundme, as outlined in my campaign strategy. I then took video screenshots while swiping through the Instagram feed and campaign webpages. Finally, I asked my housemates to help me shoot some videos to demonstrate how the #WriteToFuel trend would be shared online. I took more video screenshots while swiping through their social feeds.

Once I had created these videos and found some additional images online, I uploaded them to Instagram and overlaid text and gifs to explain my campaign. I then downloaded the Story and added music using iMovie software (free for Mac users). There are plenty more Story features that I didn’t take advantage of including polls, filters and even donation buttons. Happy posting!

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