A Crack at Vlogging

How should a priest vlog? Definitely I do not want a vlog without substance. Or, a vlog that is about life and leisure. What should my vlog look like, without plunging into the borderline scandalous or the realm of the super conservative traditionalist? I’d like to vlog about what I do in forming young people, but I’ve got to cast about the basics: should the video be horizontal or vertical? Should it look professional, or raw? 

I heard tons of comments and suggestions from different people for the Jesuit Communications Foundation, Inc. (JesCom). Here’s one of them. Ernestine, the director of Kape’t Pandasal, shared a comment which they fished from guests of the Philippine Conference on New Evangelization (PCNE), chaired by Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle DD.

One of the guests was the man behind the Instagram success, Catholic Connect, which has 237,000 followers as of this writing. When showed videos of JesCom and asked about the potential for vlogging, he remarked that “the videos looked beautiful! But the look of vlogging is raw, almost unedited.” That was a surprise! For Jescom, our brand is marked by excellence, including the quality and look of our videos—it couldn’t be “raw.” 

I also asked my colleagues in show business who went into vlogging. They said that the key to vlogging is regularity: that Youtube subscribers want to see their humanity, away from the glitter of the silver screen. That is why many celebrities take much of their content from what they do daily: how they wake up in the morning; what they cook for breakfast; how they do their laundry; or, what they wear before going to bed. Banal. Mundane. Ordinary.

But that exactly is the seduction: audiences identify with celebrities who are otherwise unreachable. Their vlogs put a human face to their glamourous persona. 

And of course, I consulted my young students and teachers who are fans of vlogs. To me, their suggestions and feedback are more important. Why? They’re my targeted audience. My ministry, after all, is for and about them. Here’s a transcribed conversation in My Instagram’s Personal Message (permission granted from Neil Sumalinog’s Instagram @niljanjan).

Me: “Vlogging na ang peg ko: 3 episodes na sa IGTV. Might transfer to my Youtube channel; matagal na ang channel ko but I stopped. Guess, I’ll revive it? What do you think about my videos? Worth posting ba in Youtube?”

@niljanjan: “Mas ok Youtube pads, mas madami ang audience, and mas accessible compared sa IG.” 

Me: “Worth it ba ang aking 1) content; 2) video orientation: vertical or horizontal; 3) Impact?”

@niljanjan: “Personally, it would look odd to view a vertical video in Youtube, unless you’re Justin Bieber, at madaming magtiya-tiyaga! Tolerable sa IG live yung vertical since limited yung time, and 15-30 minutes lang ang engagement mo with your fans.

But as a fan of reflective videos and ted talks, landscape is better. Hindi off tingnan ang nagsasalita, hindi masikip kasi sanay tayo sa landscape orientation, dahil mas relaxed panoorin.

If you use Youtube, you can use your phone for video recording, edit in iMovie, put in b-rolls and stock photos, then you can use licensed but free music. A decent 1-2 minute video kayang gawin in 1-2 hours. Kung magtatransfer ka ng platform, like Youtube, better careerin mo na!”

Check out this video using the horizontal orientation.

I am inclined to bring all the ideas together: Not too raw, but just the right amount of necessary editing; use ordinary activities to humanize the Jesuit priests (there’s a lot of videos about us in Conspiracy Theories); and return to horizontal videos like my Kape’t Pandasal videos (Yay! Because at 52, I still don’t get the hang of the vertical ones).

If I were to ask you, what would you suggest? Topics? Please write your comments below. Thanks in advance.

Published by Jboy Gonzales SJ

TV/Digital host: Kape't Pandasal. Vlog: YT On the Line. Environment, Youth Formation. Music. Leadership. Always dancing to a different drum.

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