Video Journaling: Find Your Video Voice

Note: This is a guest post from Michael ‘Sean’ Kaminsky of Video Regeneration
Got video? Not long ago, video cameras were mainly owned by pro videographers and home enthusiasts. Now with a camera stashed in nearly every phone, digital camera and laptop, you are more likely to struggle to find a working pen than a nearby video camera. Not only that, if you lack a camera you can purchase one for under $100. But where does video fit into the optimized life?
Video use is expanding exponentially, and not just on YouTube. Video resumes are becoming common, video chat is evolving, and big opportunities remain to use video for activities ranging from marketing and promotion to social change and activism. However, even more dramatic shifts appear likely.
New technologies are being developed that allow small segments of videos to be easily linked to other small segments. Sound familiar? The ability to do the same with text led to what we call the Internet today. Yet despite all this potential, there is often an intimidation factor with video that doesn’t exist with the written (or typed) word. This article will show you several helpful ways to get over those feelings, and find your own authentic, video voice.

There are two mistakes people often make in the way they think about video. The first is they assume that all video must become public – i.e. a video blog for the world to view. However, they may not realize that unlike video blogging, video journaling is a private activity akin to its written diary counterpart. Journaling on video gives the freedom to experiment.
The second mistake is that people see video as a complex activity that requires specialized knowledge. Video can be complex depending on your goals, but video blogging or journaling can also be extremely simple and straightforward. Your camcorder is simply a tool. Though it is a powerful tool, the way it is used is in your control. Alright, ready to tap into the power of video?
Flip on your camera and make a brief video journal entry about your day, or something else that you have wanted to express:

  1. Give yourself permission to experiment. One strategy that helps encourage this is to decide that everything you shoot, you will delete immediately after reviewing it. Of course you can always change your mind! However, giving yourself this permission removes any pressure to perform.
  2. Set it and forget it. Turn your camera on and make sure that it’s recording properly. Beyond that, forget the technical stuff for now. It’s easy to become distracted by our gadgets and all the options they provide, but that’s not necessary. You can always geek out later if you like.
  3. Don’t forget to breathe. Breath connects mind to body. It’s nearly impossible to relax if you aren’t breathing fully and deeply. This applies to daily life as well. Make a commitment to consciously deepen your breath for one full day and notice the difference in your state of being.
  4. Pay attention to “whom” you imagine speaking when you create your journal entry. Are they a friendly and nurturing source, or a critical and judging presence? Recording a video journal can reveal a lot about yourself and the way you relate to the world.
  5. Experiment with looking directly in the lens versus watching your image while you record. Some people feel more comfortable with one or the other. Remember though, that in a live video situation the only way to make “eye contact” with the other person is to look directly in the lens – not at your own image.
  6. Have fun! The mainstream media tends to be appearance driven and this conception can color the experience. Let this go and allow yourself to be imperfect on camera. Be patient and allow your natural self-expression to emerge.
  7. When you are ready, look back at your video with an open attitude and ask yourself: “Would I like to share this with others?” This might mean friends and family or video blogging to the world. If you decide you would rather keep your video private, that’s okay too. Keeping a private video journal can become a life-changing practice of its own.

The above is just the beginning. The many ways that video can be explored are only limited by your imagination. By experimenting with an open mind and most importantly, an open heart, you can use this potent means of communication and self-expression to its highest potential.
Michael ‘Sean’ Kaminsky is a writer, video blogger and documentary filmmaker. His new book Naked Lens: Video Blogging & Video Journaling to Reclaim the YOU in YouTube shows readers how to use video for self-growth, healing and creative expression.
Photo by ssh


  1. Great post Michael! This should help put it in perspective for a lot of people such as myself who are implementing video blogging into our daily lives.
    I know when I first started vlogging, there was and still is an uneasiness about putting myself out there, but this helps me answer the questions and put things into perspective of what level I choose to share those videos. Do I want to share it on a larger platform such as Youtube, with friends and family, or just as a personal & private blog for just myself.
    I’m sure this helps combat the fear that some people may have for getting behind the camera. I know I had been considering vlogging for years before I actually faced my fear and mustard up the courage to do so. This should help someone out there in the same dilemma

  2. Hey Donald and Michael,
    I recently picked up a flip mini HD video camera as well and I’ve been experimenting with it
    It’s definitely been an eye opening experience for me. Something about seeing me talking to myself, instead of just reading the words, it’s very powerful. I don’t know how often I’ll be doing it, but I may even start putting some videos up on my blog =)

  3. Hey Jarrod – thanks for your feedback – glad to hear that u liked the article. i know a lot of people have felt the way you do (myself included) and one of the great things about video blogging is using it as a ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ kind of exercise.:) with the intent that that carries over into daily life! i’m curious how you decided which videos you chose to keep private and which to make public?
    Sid – yes i agree – it is a very powerful experience. and it only gets better with time! there’s something very special about looking back at an entry and seeing a ‘you’ from one month, one year…or even many years ago and making a connection to that point in time. but with one caveat…
    you must keep your videos safe from destruction (or even just obsolete technology) without driving yourself nutz in the process. for this reason i included a quick but key chapter on archiving in my book.
    what kind of videos have you experimented with making so far? if u post one – please let me know!
    michael sean

  4. Hi, Donald and Michael,
    I have just bought a digital camera a few hours ago! 🙂
    I did it to experiment with small video production. Nothing professional.
    I think you can get a lot from recording yourself. Just as athletes do. For example a diver would record himself while he is jumping to the water to see what mistakes he is making and how to correct them.
    We can also do that. For instance, if you would like to get better talking to people, you may record yourself giving a speech to the camera. That way you would be able to see what you need to work on.
    There are several examples. I think what you say is a good advices. That is why I have a camera now! 😉

  5. This post was very timely. I plan on starting video blogging really soon, so thank you for great tips!

  6. Great article. I have been blogging for a little over a year and vlogging for 8 or 9 months. I choose to share my videos and the things you say about being yourself, looking into the camera, and not worrying about editing are very true. People feel it is more real when it isnt so perfect. Great tips.

  7. I think a great idea is to actually just see the camera as another person that you’re talking too. This way you actually get a level of connection that is much deeper with the viewer.

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