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ProBlogger Blog Case Study – Digital Photography School

Last week’s experiment with Vidcasting brought a lot of positive feedback so I’ve decided to make it a regular thing. This week I’m testing blip.tv (still in beta) to host my video. Let me know what you think in comments.

In this week’s vidcast (6 minutes and 23 seconds) I walk you through my latest ‘blog’ Digital Photography School. It’s an experiment on numerous levels and I talk you through some of the theories that I’m testing there.

By no means is this new project finished (it’ll take years to get to where I want to go) – I’m not satisfied with many aspects of it yet but as I say it’s more of an experiment than anything else and I’ll use it as a blog case study both in this vidcast but also in the coming months as I continue to develop it. In this way I hope to give a practical example from startup through to maturity (hopefully) on how I set up a new blog. I’m taking a long term view of this process so settle in for the ride.

Hopefully it will also be a useful blog for some of you who are interested in improving your digital camera technique – if that’s you you might wish to subscribe to it’s weekly email newsletter or RSS feed.

Of course any link love that you can give it will be much appreciated!

Here’s the Vidcast.


About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. graywolf says:

    Can I make a topic request? How about some tips for taking pictures of people wearing glasses without getting the flash reflected back in the lens.

  2. Stuart says:

    Haven’t looked at the video yet but it was interesting to see that you opted not to use Video Egg.

    I’ve been trying to wade through the instructions but it all seems a little Greek to me :)

  3. Darren Rowse says:

    graywolf – hehe, or one for doing video casts with people with glasses :-) I had to record this twice because the first time my eyes were virtually unseen behind reflections.

    Stuart – I’ve signed up for Video Egg and will try that next time. I was going to use it this time but my recording was over 5 minutes and they only allow 5 minutes maximum unfortunately.

    My hope it to test a few different options and then write a comparative review of them.

  4. Stuart says:

    Hmmmm – blip.tv let you down Darren. I’m on 512 down speed and after 4 minutes or so of video there were at least 6 delays due to buffering.

    On your first attempt at My Tube I had no delays due to buffering.

    Background was good this time and I’d be interested to know what the file size of the video was.

    You certainly seemed more relaxed and the presentation was better because of that.

  5. Darren Rowse says:

    to be fair on blip.tv it is a larger file this time around. I found a tutorial on compression and followed their instructions and ended up with a file size double last time’s so I suspect that that is part (if not all) of the issue. Guess I’ll just have to keep tweaking my processes.

  6. The video streamed without problems for me (just now). I though you were going to get through the whole thing without even one ‘umm, errr or aaaahh’ – well presented! What is your preparation for the recording? Do you have a full script with you, or key points? Direct feed from PC to brain via disguised mini USB port in the back of your head?

  7. brem says:

    1- My theory (or interpretation of Seth’s theory rather) is that you will get more links (of course, dependant of traffic) and less one sentence comments. Less impulsive commenters (such as me!).

    So if someone really has something relevant to say, and I mean not just backlinking but actually bring something new to the topic, yes. But I’m not sure people who are just backlinking or forwarding links would be more numerous.

    2- You stole my blog idea! hehehehe I’ve always wanted to have a blog about HOW to use your big expensive 5000$ new Canon DSLR with your 100-400 L lens ;)

    If you “need” guests bloggers, I’m interested, as I already have some ideas of topics.

    Also, since the new blog is not really a blog but rather a chronological magazine, I think you need to modify a couple of things.

    If you are going to use chronological order, please bring back the timestamp, otherwise it makes little sense. The way I see it, having it like this is like the front page of a news paper. You want the new stories first.

    However, the added value of having these articles in the database is that you can actually arrange them in themes.

    That’s also a part I’d improve on. Also, some kind of user level could be good. Such as: beginner, intermediate. pro? do pros need these articles?

    Also would be great is the possibility to send photo examples of the topics. Not just from the author of the article, but from the readers. Of course, the webmaster can moderate this part.

    As you can see, lots of ideas ;)

    Oh… and It would be awesome if you could let me (or any other person) translate these articles into other languages (mine is french…). These articles are really non-language specific, and you could increase readership in that way.

    I read in a past article that Japanese and Chinese are the two other major languages in the blogosphere, but I ask myself whether the reason why french, for example has a small percentage, 1% I believe. Is it because the readership isn’t there? I think not. I would tend to believe there is an audience, but the blog phenomenon hasn’t kicked in full speed yet for non-english speakers. The other reason is probably the fact that so many non-native english speakers can understand english that they use it as franca-lingua.

    Nice work Darren!

  8. Stuart says:

    File size could be related to the fact that this one is an mpeg – the first one was probably wmv – but I can’t remember for sure.

  9. Darren Rowse says:

    Matthew – my prep is not quite as elaborate as a USB to the back of the head (I’m waiting for USB 4.0 for that).

    I take a couple of minutes to type up a few main points, print it out, stick it to the tripod just under the camera, run through it once to myself and then record it.

    I’ve done heaps of public speaking in my time so it usually works out well in a first take – if not it’s not that hard to do a second one.

    bream – great minds thing alike in terms of the topic.

    In so far as the time stamps – I’m in two minds. You’ll notice that the URL of the blog is at the .com/blog address and I’ve left the .com for something later on. I suspect that down the track there will be a home page that looks much less like a blog and will arrange posts in another way (I’ve got to get more posts up before I can do that).

    In terms of user level – you’re right. This blog will be more aimed at the beginner to intermediate level. I’m not sure many pros need the tips and if they do they talk on a much more technical level than I do.

    Another feature I’d love to add at some point is forums where readers could add their photos etc so there is plenty of scope for some of your suggestions but in the mean time I’ll start simple and add one feature at a time. Translated versions could be fun down the track also.

    Happy to take submissions if you’ve got any ideas to pitch.

    Thanks for the feedback.

  10. Matthew – my prep is not quite as elaborate as a USB to the back of the head (I’m waiting for USB 4.0 for that).

    Or even a literal bluetooth tooth…

  11. Darren Rowse says:

    I find bluetooth interferes with the satellite receiver embedded into my back

  12. vivek says:

    If you are going to post large videos then consider using Bittorrent.

  13. Melissa says:

    I post vlogs. I mainly use blip as the host but have played around with other ones too. I think we’re just in an era where there’s going to be some buffering stalls no matter what, as I’ve not found flawless access with any of them.

    I also play around with linked versus embedded video to see if viewers have better luck with one or the other….but not so far. Someone always says they get delays….which could be caused by all sorts of things between A and B.

    As for embedding the video, if you have a look at the Yahoo Videobloggers group:
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/videoblogging/
    and search under ‘embed’ you’ll find links to several pages (developed by members in the group) that offer free automated embedding code for you to plunk right into your blog. Recently there’s been ones written for all vid types and all browsers.

    I’m sure this is not far off for blip to offer it directly too.

  14. D. Campbell says:

    Thanks Darren! This should be cool. I just subscribed to your newsletter. Since I’ll be purchasing a Canon 20D within the next two weeks, I’m interesting in learing as much as a can to start building my photography skills.

  15. Darren Rowse says:

    considered the updated 30D D. Campbell?

  16. D. Campbell says:

    Thanks for the info. I’ll check to see the updated/improved features on the Canon 30D!

  17. Darren Rowse says:

    it’s not a massive update but a few nice new features and not really much increase in price. I’d definately go for the 30D if I were buying today.

  18. Paul says:

    I enjoyed the vidcast, thanks Darren.

    Interesting idea behind not allowing comments on your blog but Godin does allow trackbacks on his blog. As a visitor I am still motivated to create a post of my own and link back to Godin’s blog through trackback. The reason for that, for me, is that I stand a chance of someone linking back to my blog through my trackback (in fact, the hits to my newest blog, Grouchy Blogger, jumped because of a post I did linking back to one of Godin’s posts).

    I am also pretty interested to see if these ideas work. It is very retro in the sense that if the model works well it could either signify a return to a non-interactive model for sites or even a new type of site that is a hybrid blog-90s static site (without the stupid flashing banners).

  19. Darren Rowse says:

    it is pretty retro Paul – I guess partly why I’m doing it is because I’ve never done any type of web development that’s not a blog so I want to experience it for myself.

  20. Great choice of topic for the vidcast. I think if you would have written it as a post, it would have been a slow read, but since you have a very likeable personality, the vidcast made it an interesting and thought provoking post. Keep using the vidcasts regularly…

  21. Ron says:

    I enjoyed the content of your video cast, but really wondered why it was video. It was just a talking head, which if you were a hot female might be a plus. I ended up putting the video in the background and looking over your site while listening. And I couldn’t have taken the video on my iPod – don’t have a video iPod.

    The reason to do video is if you want to show people something. Seems right now you just want to tell people something and an audio file would do that. And be smaller and easier to handle. Maybe you are planning for the future.

  22. Matt says:

    Cheers for the second video, interesting points you raise about the comments, I have never thought about that before.
    Good work!

  23. Darren K says:

    Hi Darren. Good video – worked fine for me, no buffering or sync probs.

    The points you raised are interesting ones. It did make me wonder why you decided on using blogging software for this new site. I realise that you are more familiar with WordPress and that much of the functionality of blogging software now overlaps with that of a CMS but did you consider using something like Drupal?

    Also, what are your thoughts on allowing the sitemeter detail to be open to all?

  24. Darren Rowse says:

    The sitemeter thing is a good one. I guess it’s more habit than anything to be honest. I’ll probably use performacing’s analytics when I get a chance to set it up. I guess I’ve got nothing to hide though.

    I decided to use WP again simply because it’s what I know. It’s taken me three years to work out how to set up a WP blog…. I’m not a techy guy so I stick to what I know.

    with WP’s ‘page’s’ it’s pretty easy to set something up with similar functionality to many other CMS.

  25. suttree says:

    interesting this blog is ONLY 2 weeks old, and you have 12000 backlinks in MSN already. up to some black hat tricks, problogger?

  26. Darren Rowse says:

    that is very strange sutree. I’ve owned the domain for a few months but havn’t done anything with it at all until a couple of weeks ago. I’m not into black hat (I don’t think I’m smart enough to stay ahead of the SE’s).

    If I’ve got 12k backlinks I’ve no idea where they are from unless it’s cause its in the sidebar of a couple of my blogs. The traffic from MSN doesn’t indicate that it counts for anything!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] I’ve previously talked about it (at launch in a vidcast, then giving a progress report and then talking about some of my goals for it) but it’s been almost six months since I gave an update so I thought it was about time for another one. [...]