Vlogging, Content and Gadgets for Cold Weather

Nowadays, vlogging is the trend. Many influencers, bloggers are uploading videos on YouTube and other social platforms. In my new year resolution for TechieLobang, I mentioned that I will improved my skills on video editing and content delivery. So, I did something “stupid”.

vlogging

 

I decided to become a vlogger during my 12-days trip in Norway and Sweden recently. I promised myself to make a video everyday during the trip. It is a way to test out how difficult/fun/easy it is to become a vlogger.

My verdict: Don’t try it if you are not committed.

Read on to understand why.

Preparation

To “transform” myself to become a vlogger, I watch tons of videos on YouTube, from local productions (NOC, Jianhao) to overseas ones (Casey Niestat, iJustine, Wengie) and many others to understand more about vlogging.

I also bought new gadgets like a drone, 360 camera, Rode microphone and software like PowerDirector and etc. I practiced editing videos in my “most creative” ways ever – Drone flight, Timelapse, music, content, storyline and etc.

The Real Test

The real test began on 1st January 2017. My wife and I, together with our friends, joined a tour group to Norway and Sweden in search for the elusive Northern Lights. It brought us to about 200km north of the Arctic Circle. That means cold weather and short daylight.

Temperature dropped from 0 degrees to -26 degrees over the few days. Daylight was precious. Everyday, we had a few hours of daylight before it turned dark again. Sunrise (if you consider the dim light on the horizon) is at 9am to 10am and everyday felt like an extended night.

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I used the following gadgets to record my vlogs:

  • GoPro Hero 4 Silver
  • Panasonic Lumix GX7
  • Casio Exilim ZR3500
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix
  • LG 360 Cam
  • DJI Mavic Pro

I used the following gears to support my gadgets:

  • Snoppa Go Stabilizer for GoPro 4
  • Knock-off GoPro 3-way extension mount
  • Tripod
  • Gekkopod
  • Rode Mic

I set all the gadgets to record in 16:9 format, regardless of pictures or video so that editing is easier. At -22 degrees, the performance of a few gadgets actually surprises me. For example, GoPro Hero 4, without its protective cover, and Snoppa Go, the stabilizer survived the whole trip – on a dog sledge and snow mobile and etc. The Snoppa Go’s balancing is affected by the cold weather though. It tilted to one side at extreme weather. I did not want to re-calibrate it. So, some footage were in a strange angle. The GoPro Hero 4 reset itself twice.

Mi Mix, with its leather case, survived the harsh cold weather on the cruise taking timelapse of the sunrise. Some Samsung phones from our tour mates failed to work in the cold weather. LG 360 Cam survived the full dog sledge ride (30 minutes) with slight issues (some short footage were missing).

The most impressive is the DJI Mavic Pro. At -22 degrees, it flew without issue, taking breath-taking view of the areas at the dog sledge ride. The DJI manual states that it should not be operated below zero degrees. I took the chance to fly it anyway. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of chance to fly it due to time and weather (snowing) constraint. And it is a no-no to fly a drone with camera in Sweden, FYI.

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All of these are actually technical issues. The really difficult one is creating content. Everyday, you wake up thinking what to shoot and your mind will be building up a storyline to fit the footage and vice-versa. It is not easy.

Everyday, with all these footage from different gadgets, I had to combine them to make it into something interesting. Every night, regardless of how tired I am, I would download all the clips and pictures and make it into a video. Sleeping time was reduced to 3 hours or less as I struggled to produce the video.

Although each day becomes easier (as I got used to it), it lasted for about 6 to 7 nights before I gave up on producing the video everyday due to tiredness and daily commute on coaches, planes and etc. My last 2 videos for the trip were done when I was back in Singapore. Now, I understand why Casey Niestat quitted vlogging.

The Results

Looking back at the videos from the past two weeks, I must say that all the hard work is worth it.

What changes I observed over the two weeks when I was vlogging: –

  • Better in capturing content and “converting” it into my storyline
  • Faster in editing and producing content.
  • More creative in looking at things.
  • Lesser sleep because of the production of these videos.

Overall, I believe it is a positive direction for me and TechieLobang. Here is my first video that I created for TechieLobang in 2017. I will continue to produce more content regularly.

Summary

Think twice before you want to become that “famous” vlogger. It takes a lot of hard work (behind the scene) to create content and you have to be diligent and consistent in your work to expect results. It is not a one or two days affair. For most people, it takes months and years to see results. It is a commitment that you have to upkeep. Kudos to those vloggers who have been doing it daily.

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However, there is NO HARM trying. It takes courage to take the first step. And you need to take the first step to start anything…

During my test period,  I had taken a path off my comfort zone to produce these videos and I really enjoy the process. I like the idea of creating fresh content and challenging myself to make the next one even better.

That is it. If you have more to share with us, feel free to comment 🙂

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