[Tutorial] Record a Vlog Using Free Software

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAVlogging has been gaining in popularity lately and for good reason. It’s a great way to add video to your blog posts and get your face out there. It helps you build a better relationship with your audience because they get to see you as a person rather than just words on a page.

When I first learned the power of vlogging, it wasn’t by doing them myself. I was watching other bloggers vlog and it just made me feel more connected to them and the blog. It made it easier to see them as another person making their way through online marketing like me. When I started vlogging myself I started to value vlogs even more because it makes it easier for me to communicate my feelings with you guys.

I’ve been getting a few comments from people wondering how to record a vlog so I’m going to show you a super simple way to record vlogs using free software you probably already have installed on your computer. I was going to do a video originally but my CamStudios keeps glitching for now I hope screenshots will be enough to show you the way.

First you’ll need a webcam and microphone. You can use the ones build into your laptop if you have them, otherwise you’ll need to buy some.

Webcam

For webcam I’m using my build in one but if you’re looking for a suggestion, here are the ones I’d recommend that aren’t too expensive but still good quality. You don’t really need anything fancy, it’s what’s in the vlog that matters.

If you want an HD webcam the Logitech HD Portable with Autofocus or the Logitech HD C310. They’ll both record in HD for clear videos and Logitech products are really easy to use.

If you’re looking to start on a budget, the Logitech QuickCam Connect and Logitech C210 are both under $20. The video quality isn’t as good but it’ll do for a beginner vlogger.

Microphone

If all you have is your build in mic or a headset, go ahead and use that. You can always get something else down the road. At some point you’ll want a standalone mic, preferably a USB mic because they give better audio quality. Once again, you don’t have to get something fancy. Something simple will work just fine.

I use the Blue Yeti microphone. It’s actually a podcasting microphone I picked up because I also plan to do podcasting down the road. It’s a very high quality microphone used by professional podcasters and Youtubers. It’s nice, but definitely not necessary.

If you want the quality of the Blue Yeti but without all of the extra settings, the Blue Snowball is a great microphone at a more reasonable price.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive microphone to start with, I picked up this Plantronics microphone a while back and it wasn’t bad at all for the price.

Recording the Vlog

Make sure you’ve got your microphone and webcam already plugged in and installed before you get ready to record.

I won’t be showing you how to edit your videos or anything like that, just record is so you can get basic vlogs recorded and uploaded.

The software we’re going to use is Windows Movie Maker. You can find it by going to Start Menu > All Programs > Windows Live Movie Maker in Windows 7. In other OSs it might be under “Accessories”. You can also search for it in the search bar.

Here is what it looks like when I open it up. It may look a little different if you’re on a different version but it’ll still work the same. The buttons will just be in different places.

windows movie maker

Recording couldn’t be simpler. There is a little webcam button that will turn on your camera and get things ready.

webcam button

It’ll change to look like this:

record button

Put on a smile and get ready to start recording! Press the “Record” button and it’ll start filming. It’s worth doing a 2-3 second test video to make sure your microphone is working properly.

record button circled

When you’re done, press the stop button.

stop button

A box will pop up for you to save your video. Name it whatever you want. At this point you can be done. You can upload that file directly to YouTube or you can mess around in Windows Movie Maker and do some edits. I don’t really do any editing but I know a lot of people like to do an opening side with the video title and an ending slide with information about their social media sites. I’d say keep it simple to start and feel free to get more fancy as time goes on. Just get your first few vlogs out there and THEN think about learning how to edit your videos, otherwise it’s to easy to put off posting videos!

Have you ever vlogged? If not, why?

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Comments

  1. Hi Amanda, no I haven’t ever vlogged, it’s not something I’ve thought about before now, really. I found your post really informative for if I decide to take it up – thank you!
    Kat recently posted..Tackling Mount Everest with a calculatorMy Profile

  2. I appreciate learning about new technologiies to “vlogg”. I have struggled with getting video up until someone filmed me and it was great, and I included videos in one blog so far. This gives me ideas…

  3. Weve been toying around with adding vlogging to our sites. Thanks for the great tutorial. I’ve bookmarked it for our staff!
    Angela Addington recently posted..Meet Mompreneur: Susan Heim (Chicken Soup for the Soul)My Profile

  4. I have! I’ve done a couple of vlogs and keep telling myself to do another one. Just have to catch a day when my hair isn’t standing on end.

    So far, I’ve used my iPhone with pretty good results. I also have a webcam built into my laptop, but the lighting is weird where my laptop sits, so the iPhone seems to be the better choice for now.
    Katie S recently posted..Plugins and More That Build CommunityMy Profile

    • Ya, the iPhone camera is really good. I don’t have a smartphone of any kind so I’ve gone the webcam/microphone route. Using what you have is the way to go so you can actually get the videos posted!

      I know what you mean about the hair. lol I used to vlog more but until I get a haircut it’s always going to look bad… I’ve been sticking to Sunday vlogs only because of it.

  5. This is exactly how I make my videos. The lighting is not great because I am usually recording at night but If I waited for the perfect time and lighting, it would never get done.

    This is a great tutorial for those who are new to this vlogging business. You do not have to invest in products when you are just starting out. Use what you already have, breathe, smile and hit the record button 🙂
    Victoria @ My Daily Cuppa recently posted..Weekly Roundup Vlog – I Got a Whole Lotta Writing Going OnMy Profile

    • Ya, I never have great lighting either. One day I’d like to set up a spot in the house for vlogging where I can control the lighting and get it to look nice, but for now I’ll use what I have and get the videos out there!

  6. Very informative blog with clear concise instructions. However, I won’t be joing the vlogging ranks. Some of us can’t afford to spend any more.
    Francene Stanley recently posted..April 28thMy Profile

    • Oh ya, I get that. If you already have a smartphone, you can also record on that. I’ve also been finding webcams and microphones at the 2nd hand shops for next to nothing. Just some suggestions in case you want to give it a try!

  7. Dina Stow says:

    Amanda, well done! In your article, there are many very useful tips. Thanks 😉
    Dina Stow recently posted..Projektowanie wnętrz PoznańMy Profile

  8. Amanda, that post was just killer bee (to quote mystery writer/country music singer Kinky Friedman)! I never realized it was just as simple as that! Now you realize that you’ve unleashed a monster onto the unsuspecting readers (now soon to be viewers) of The Buddy Show. Thanks so much for putting out this succinct post. You made my day!

    Buddy
    Buddy recently posted..What If I Don’t Know What To Write About?My Profile

  9. I hadn’t thought of windows movie maker. I have used Picasa’s video function this last year, and my phone or android tablet in the past.

  10. Hi Amanda,
    Good post. I bought an inexpensive Microsoft Web Cam and it came with the software. You can upload it to anything you want. I used Vimeo for my one and only so far. I have to get some natural light and stop playing with my glasses. 🙂
    Ruth Clark recently posted..I’m Trying, God Knows I’m Trying!My Profile

  11. Thank you, Amanda.
    This covers the basic steps I have been looking for. I have a webcam sitting in the box it came in 🙂 so I guess I will open it up and see what happens next.
    Pat

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