Seeking Volunteers for Veg Vlog Venture 📹 🥦👩‍🌾

A Lego character recording a video wearing outdoor clothing

We’re looking for people to help us set up and feature in an allotment video channel on YouTube. Experience is beneficial, but the only fundamental requirements are keen-ness and time!

We all started somewhere with our plots. Whether we learned by reading books, following packet instructions, or inheriting growing knowledge from an older and wiser family member, we probably all needed a bit of advice to point us in the right direction before we went free-range and started experimenting.

There are thousands of vlogs (video blogs) on YouTube now showing you how to sow, transplant, nurture, harvest and cook just about anything you could want to grow. They’re a fantastic resource (and they’ve taught me most of what I know!) but there’s one thing I always find my inner voice complaining about:

Yes, but these people aren’t growing in the weather of Scotland!

In fact, it’s for exactly that reason that Jim McColl took to the airwaves in 1978 to launch The Beechgrove Garden on the BBC. That mission has made it so successful that it’s still on the air today, 42 years later.

So, with that in mind, we’d like to run our own experiment: creating a Glasgow-specific (or Scotland-specific?) allotment gardening YouTube channel.

We’re looking for people who want to get involved as growers, filmers, or both. We need a range of people to be involved so that there’s broad appeal and a bit of something for everyone.

What’s great about Beechgrove right now (spring 2020) is that the presenters are all still recording from home under lockdown, focusing on the different types of growing that suit their personal situation and what they have to han (click here to watch a clip on the BBC iPlayer).

A GAF YouTube channel could perhaps take inspiration from that, and our contributors could play to each of our individual strengths. That would mean we’ve got a variety of plants, faces and experiences.

We’d like to go beyond creating simple plot updates. There are lots of video diaries like that out there, and let’s be honest – very few of us are really all that interested in hearing about how someone else’s carrots are coming along each week. What we really want to see is what the person has done, why they’ve done it that way, how not to do it, and what the results are!

If you’re interested in getting involved, we’d love to hear from you.

What You’d Need

Any one or more of the following:

  • Interest, experience, or a desire to learn about:
    • growing
    • doing some filming
    • talking on camera
    • or even getting your plot neighbours to talk on camera while you film them…
  • Any kind of camera – even a smartphone would do
    • ideally at least 720p (HD) – have a look around in your camera app settings to check
  • A basic camera stand or mount
    • tripod, selfie stick, posable clamp, etc. – group members will undoubtedly have plenty of recommendations to share
  • A basic microphone
    • the one on your phone / camera will work, but even a mic meant for doing hands-free calls on your phone’s headphone cable can give an advantage
  • Motivation and time to dedicate to the project as the year goes on…

The Plan

This would be a collaborative project that develops with input from everyone, but here’s a first attempt at a plan to give the project some structure.

It’ll also give you an idea of what you might be signing up for:

  • Phase 1: Vlog team assemble!

    – Gather names of interested folk
    – Compare notes on interests, growing background, allotment situations, video equipment and experience, and time available to spend on the project
    – Set a date to meet virtually (Zoom? Skype?) to get to know each other

  • Phase 2: Content planning

    – Identify unique contributions / topics (maximises original content; reduces repetitive videos)
    – Plan content for relevant points through growing season
    – Decide on episode format(s) (e.g. how-to demonstrations; Q&A from allotmenteers; one person per episode vs updates from multiple locations; etc.)

  • Phase 3: Skill-sharing and trial-runs

    – Share knowledge (e.g. best ways to film on location; tips for camera angles; advice on capturing good audio; to script or not to script, etc.)
    – Make some trial run videos?
    – Send clips to editor / editors on the team?
    – Share thoughts and feedback on what works and what tweaks we could make?

  • Phase 4: Filming

    – Record videos
    – Edit videos
    – Build up a few for launch date?

  • Phase 5: Release & ongoing filming

    – Launch the channel!

Register your interest

Any information you share with us will be kept strictly confidential between the committee. You can read more about our data processing and retention policy here.

Allotment experience

Video experience

Filming equipment

Some Inspiration…

These examples will give you a flavour of what’s already out there.

Take a look and decide what you like in them, what you don’t, and maybe start to get an idea of what you could contribute to the project.

Don’t worry if the ‘Features’ we’ve posted below each clip seem like jargon or are way beyond anything you’ve tried before. Part of the project will be making sure people know all about what these mean, and we’ll help you practice if you want to learn.

UK Plotholder: Claire’s Allotment

Style: Daily diary. Growing advice to camera. Semistructured.

Features: tripod and free-held mix; cutaway close-up footage; clip-on mic; branding; on-screen text annotations.

UK-based exotic food grower: GoTropicalUK

Style: Growing advice to camera. Single topic. One continuous take.

Features: worktop-mounted wide-angle camera; in-camera mic; intro and outro with theme music.

The Godfather of No-Dig: Charles Dowding

Style: Growing advice to camera. Multiple locations and lessons in one video. Storyboarded and edited.

Features: separate camera operator; tripod; cutaway close-up footage; clip-on mic; establishing shots; branding; on-screen text annotations; title in thumbnail.

~Weekly vlogger: Kelly’s Kitchen Garden

Style: Regular diary. Growing advice on and off-camera. Semistructured.

Features: title sequence; handheld mobile phone; in-camera mic; title in thumbnail.

Daily vlogger: Joe Murphy (The Little Farmers Farm)

Style: Daily diary. ‘Interview’-style advice with guest. Presenter both on and off-camera. Loose structure.

Features: introduction; selfie stick; continuous filming; in-camera mic; rapid turnaround.

Task-focused advice channel: Daisy Creek Farms with Jag Singh

Style: Growing advice to camera. Lots of focus on aesthetics. Storyboarded and edited.

Features: tripod; desktop tracking slider; cutaway close-up footage; background music; title in thumbnail.

Welsh celebrity (? – he’s published books!) gardener, Huw Edwards

Style: Growing advice to camera. Single topic. Storyboarded and edited.

Features: separate camera operator; free-held camera; cutaway close-up footage; B roll; artistic shots; title in thumbnail.

High-latitude North American grower, James Prigioni

Style: Construction advice to camera. Single topic. Storyboarded and edited.

Features: separate camera operator; free-held camera; teaser intro before channel title card; theme music; cutaway close-up footage; clip-on mic; on-screen text annotations.

UK homestead farming tutorials: Liz Borab – Byther Farm

Style: Growing & outdoor lifestyle advice to camera. Storyboarded and edited.

Features: tripod; teaser intro before channel title card; single topic; theme music; cutaway close-up footage; on-screen text annotations; title in thumbnail.

If this sounds like something you want to get involved with, or even if you just want to know more, fill out the form!

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