Finding Videoblogs You'll Love
Since videoblogs are so easy and inexpensive to produce, people feel free to pursue whatever topic or audience they want, no matter how small or large. That's why vlogs cover an amazing range of genres, from the personal to the political to the comic to the educational and beyond. There's no shortage of places to find videoblogs you'll love.
One way to get started is by exploring individual vlogs. Many videobloggers combine genres into an ongoing but variable showcase of their lives, while other vloggers use a more consistent, TV-show-like format. The vlogs below are some of our favorites. We can't promise that every single one will be around forever. But together they offer a great introduction to different types of videoblogs.
Geek Entertainment TV
Based in San Francisco, Geek Entertainment TV (Figure 1.5) covers technology and Internet-related topics with interviews of the biggest names in geekdom.
Figure 1.5. Geek Entertainment TV
29 Fragile Days
Art fans will cheer this delicate examination of the world through the eyes of a candid British lad who likes to blur the lines of reality with slow-motion camera effects and experimental sound creations (Figure 1.6).
Figure 1.6. 29 Fragile Days
It's Jerry Time!
Jerry's mundane escapades are glorified and animated into surprisingly amusing narratives on It's Jerry Time! (Figure 1.7). Travel to strange and exciting placesthe new bar that opened up down the street, Jerry's dingy apartment, and the city jail.
Figure 1.7. It's Jerry Time
Mom's Brag Vlog
Erin is a stay-at-home mother of two who uses her videoblog to document family life (Figure 1.8). Erin shares precious moments from first haircuts to Easter egg hunts to the birth of her second child. As a public scrapbook, Mom's Brag Vlog illustrates how a videoblog can serve as a family archive for distant relatives and future generations.
Figure 1.8. Mom's Brag Blog
Zadi Diaz, aka Karmagrrrl, is a Brooklyn native living in Los Angeles. Zadi's videos range from personal to political and reflect her creative and insightful character. "Tales of a karmically challenged life" is her vlog's tagline, and if it were up to us, we'd give her a big, karmic thumbs up (Figure 1.9).
Figure 1.9. Karmagrrl
Roger's Adventures (Figure 1.10) come in two flavors: regular and 3D. The 3D link (on the right side of the site, under Categories) leads to videos that are like old-fashioned 3D movies but are way cooler because they're made by a videoblogger about his daily adventures. View them through a free pair of 3D glasses you can order at www.rainbowsymphony.com/freestuff.html.
Figure 1.10. Roger's Adventures
Human Dog Laboratory
The Human Dog Laboratory offers a look into the twisted and brilliant mind of self-proclaimed professor Chris Weagel in the basement of a suburban ranch house in Michigan (Figure 1.11). Be afraid.
Figure 1.11. Human Dog Laboratory
Bottom Union (Figure 1.12) lets you see the world through the lens of an expatriate living in Holland and playing professional basketball. Creator Erik Nelson combines and transforms elements of traditional filmmaking, collage, animation, and musical composition into an engaging and dynamic dialog with his audience.
Figure 1.12. Bottom Union
Heads Off is what you get when a graduate student in new media and a sociable programmer get together and start a videoblog. Serra and Mike (Figure 1.13) educate and entertain through their honest and playful video shorts.
Figure 1.13. Heads Off
Scratch Video is the dark child of cinéma vérité film editor Charlene Rule. Sometimes elusive, sometimes crystalline, Charlene's videos are haunting dreams delivered through a simple whisper, a subtle gesture, a slap in the face (Figure 1.14).
Figure 1.14. Scratch Video
Vlog of a Faux Journalist
Jan McLaughlin, the big boss at the Faux Press (Figure 1.15), encourages her audience and fellow vloggers with the true videoblogger's mantra: "Say what you mean; mean what you say; ask and answer any question; interview everyone."
Figure 1.15. Vlog of a Faux Journalist
Viviendo con Fallas
Viviendo con Fallas, aka Life with the Fallas, is a vlog in both Spanish and English. Juan and Ximena Falla share their lives with candid and silly clips of cooking, shopping, and just dancing around the house (Figure 1.16).
Figure 1.16. Viviendo con Fallas
Vlog Rolls and Directories
Videobloggers usually include a "vlog roll" or list of links to their favorite vlogs (Figure 1.17). Some truly passionate vloggers go a step further by watching practically everything and then linking to their best discoveries. Find one vlog that you like and its vlog roll can lead to other interesting people. Examples include Josh Leo's Picks at http://joshspicks.blogspot.com, Steve Garfield's Vlog Soup at http://stevegarfield.blogs.com/videoblog/vlog_soup, and two of the authors' vlogs: The ReVlog at http://revlog.blogspot.com and Classic Videoblogs at http://freevlog.org/wordpress/index.php/category/classic-videoblogs.
Figure 1.17. The links on vlog rolls can lead to interesting vlogs you might not find on your own. Karmagrrrl sorts her vlog roll by country.
Dedicated videoblog directories are another good way to explore videoblogs. They catalog vast numbers of vlogs and let you search for all types of videos in different ways.
Mefeedia is a great site with a huge directory of videoblogs. (It also has many other features that we'll talk more about later.) You can click on the Directory link to search for videoblogs or browse through them alphabetically or by their popularity ranking. Or click on the Tags link (Figure 1.18) to search for individual videos by their tags, or keywords. Many of the vlog listings include short descriptions and reviews.
Figure 1.18. The Mefeedia directory lets you search for videoblogs by keyword, topic, and location.
VlogDir is another terrific directory (Figure 1.19). It features lists of the newest and most visited videoblogs. It also has randomly featured vlogs. You can even watch a preview video from each vlogger to get a sense of what they're about.
Figure 1.19. VlogDir has a large list of vlog categories, which is another great way to find vlogs of interest.
VlogMap is a Google Map that's been hacked (it's okay, Google's cool with it) to show you the location of videobloggers all over the world (Figure 1.20). You can easily find videobloggers in your hometown, or others in faraway places you'd like to see. Just zoom in on an area and click on a red dot to get a link to a videoblogger's site.
Figure 1.20. VlogMap shows the global videoblogging community as tiny pins in a Google Map.
FireAnt has a videoblog directory (Figure 1.21) that you can access from its Web site or from within the FireAnt program. One advantage of this directory is that you can preview a featured vlog just by clicking on its video image. This saves time since you can sample many vlogs at a single site. Another plus is that you can subscribe to vlogs directly from the FireAnt home page (see "Using Video Aggregators").
Figure 1.21. The FireAnt directory lets you search for videoblogs by keyword, popularity, and featured picks.
Join the Party
One of the most important elements of a videoblog is the comments section. Let people know how their videos have affected you. Did they make you laugh? Did they make you think? Maybe you found them aggravating. Give vloggers some feedback (Figure 1.22 and Figure 1.23). Leaving comments lets you join the vlogging party even before you start a videoblog. That's something you can't do with TV! Comment threads are the equivalent of community conversations and part of what makes the vlogosphere so great.
Figure 1.22. Most videoblog posts link to a comments section where you can read commentary on a particular video and leave your own comments as well.
Figure 1.23. The form for posting comments includes space for your Web site, which will be published as a link next to your comment. So every time you give feedback to other creators, you also promote your own vlog.
Another benefit of comments is that they include a link to the Web site of the person commenting. So checking comments is another way to find interesting videoblogs. Leaving comments on other people's vlogs is also a great way to promote your own.