Now that you've tested your gear, you have a story idea for your vlog, and even have some preconceived shots planned, it's time to create your final plan for your shoot before you head to the location. A plan is important for which tasks are done, in which order are tasks done, and who does each task.
A plan for any shoot is sometimes called a "brief." The brief might involve the following:
list of locations
list of actors
a storyboard (optional)
What can help you immensely at any shoot is a shot list. This is a list with each shot that must be taken for the purpose of telling a given story. For narrative films, a shot list can get really complicated. However, if you are shooting a vlog, you might keep it easier by simply listing each shot you need to get for your intended story.
Make sure to vary the frame size of the shots, the camera angle of the shots, and don't forget to get some audio presence (usually referred to as room tone or natural sound) from each location for your edit later. Room tone can be very helpful in fine tuning edits, especially for adding pauses (sometimes referred to as "beats") to your edit. You can put these details in the shot list.
A shot list is crucial to have for the purpose of making sure you have enough "coverage" for your story. It also ensures that you are not leaving out any crucial elements you need to tell your story the way you want.
Ideas for Shot List Items for Vlogs
Open: Record the opening of your vlog episode by welcoming your audience and saying hello.
Consider using the same catch phrase to open each vlog. Stradman, a popular YouTuber in the automotive space does this.
Announce the name of the event or action, as well as, the location of your vlog.
Tease the audience with one interesting item they might see if they stay to watch the entire episode.
B-Roll: Shoot plenty of b-roll (sometimes called cutaways or insert shots) for every setup to give you fodder for an opening montage and for your story segments. Arrive early to have more access to potential items that may make for interesting b-roll. Many vlogs open this way.
Call to action: Record a Like, Comment, and Subscribe phrase or drive people to your web-based storefront as a call to action for your viewers.
Product shot: if you are featuring an item or a thing, you need to show that thing in all its glory.
Segment Series: Record a segment you do in all of your vlogs. "Mail Call," for example, for when you do an unboxing. Delcare a "Food Vlog!" and shoot a short segment about the restaurant, the food, or fun things that happen.
Interview: Interview those taking part in your vlog or anyone entering or leaving the vlog.
Transitional elements: A camera maneuver, like a quick twist or whip pan. Shots you can use to transition from one shot or story to the next.
Close: Record the close of your vlog episode. Consider using the same catch phrase to close each vlog.
Figure out the best and most convenient order for each shot, if you can, and then move to the task of creating a shooting schedule.
Shooting Schedule Once the list of shots are made, you can create a shooting schedule. You should already have your shots arranged in an order that makes sense and makes the best use of your time. Don't forget to schedule in breaks and meal time for both you and for others helping you with your shoot (if you have others assisting).
Location Different setups that take place during a shoot, so plan on finding the ideal location for each setup you are planning. Ideally, "scout" your intended location ahead of time to determine any plans to shoot in that location. Make sure permission is secured to use the space you are shooting in if you are not in a public location. If you do not have time to scout the location in advance, think about building in some time for scouting once you have reached the location. Consider the equipment, requirements for equipment (like power outlets or lack thereof), and staff that is needed for each setup in each location.
List of Actors Are you going to collaborate with others for your vlog? Make sure you have a list of the people you plan to have in the shot for each location. Each person should be made aware of the time and place they are to meet you for the shoot well ahead of the shoot day. Call or email each actor the day before to check in with your talent. See if there are going to be any issues getting that person to the shoot. Plan to provide food and drinks for talent in your vlog, especially if they are doing you a favor by appearing in your vlog.
List of Equipment You should already have a checklist of the gear if you've been following through this workflow. This helped you prep your gear. Bring this along with you to the shoot. This ensures that you leave with the gear you brought to the location intact. It's easy to leave behind small pieces of gear at a shoot. Going over your checklist on the way out prevents this problem.
Storyboard A storyboard is not as crucial for shooting vlogs as a narrative or commercial is. Shooting a vlog does not have the rigid shot requirements as do other kinds of shoots. That said, you may want to think ahead at how you plan to shoot certain portions of your vlog.
If you can anticipate certain portions of an event you plan to attend, or a thing you wish to show your audience, it might be wise to think ahead how you might shoot the sequence, where you are going to place the camera, what kind of angles you are going to need. Creating a storyboard is a helpful aid for shooting more complex sequences, so do consider making one if it will assist you at the shoot.
Shoot With your shot list, schedule, lists of actors, equipment, and a storyboard in tow, you are now ready to head to the location to shoot your vlog. It's time to execute your plan.