How to Keep a Video Diary

You know how to keep a diary, but do you know how (and why) to keep a video diary? Many find that keeping a diary on video is quicker and more spontaneous than keeping a written journal or diary. There is an immediate outlet for thoughts and feelings with the added bonus that your diary is in living, breathing color. Unless you are an extremely fast typist you can almost surely speak more quickly than you type. This is a huge advantage for emotional journal entries where you crave the cathartic experience of expressing your feelings as rapidly (and intensely) as they are experienced.

Not only do you have your spoken words to make your journal entry but you also have the use of facial expression, images such as photos (that you either can hold up to the camera or add later) snippets of video or other visual tidbits. It’s up to you and the amount of time that you want to spend.

Here are some further tips to keep in mind when keeping a video diary:

  • What will you make an entry about? For some there is no question – they *know* exactly what they want to express. Others are not as certain. Either place is great to start from. If you already know what you want to say – then go for it! If you aren’t certain here’s a chance for self-exploration. Consider the topics you feel the most passion for and then experiment with an entry. You can always delete if if it doesn’t feel right!
  • Don’t forget about image. The more important thing is to relax and express yourself authentically but remember to use enough light so that it’s possible to see your face. Even a desk lamp or open window will help immensely.
  • Don’t forget about sound. Watching your video journal a few years from now will be a bit disappointing if you must resort to reading your own lips! Make sure that you are close enough to the camcorder mic to be understood and that there is no background noise (such as very loud music) to drown you out.
  • Don’t forget about location. Of course quiet and privacy is a must, but consider also how the location fits with your topic. What will be seen in the background? Does it relate to your entry? This isn’t something to obsess about, but it is something to consider.
  • How private is your entry? If your diary is very private take extra special care to make sure that the footage remains secure. One quick way to do this is to ‘zip’ your video files or use video diary software (post on this coming soon). Zip is a freely available means of compressing files into a smaller size. Many people are unaware that you can also add a password to protect the data.

Finally, relax and have fun! There is no one way to journal whether keeping a written journal or its video cousin. Use your imagination. Some of the best video journals I’ve seen more closely resemble experimental films. Below is an entertaining ‘food journal’ video I came across recently that the user chose to make public:

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