Vloggers get asked all the time, “Can I be in your vlog?” “Will this make it into the vlog?”
For decades now, some people just love to appear in video, even if it’s only in the background for a few moments. Watch any ESPN GameDay or the random people trying to get in the shot behind any newscaster on the street.
I don’t have a vlog, but I know many people who do. These vlogs have ranged from amateur to professional in quality. For work and often just for fun, I’ve been featured and had small bit cameos in a few of them. Sometimes I’m totally down and enjoy being on camera, but sometimes I’m not.
As vlogging becomes more and more common place, there needs to be a general standard of etiquette that comes along with filming people, particularly those who don’t get to see the final product until it is out there in the world. It is the vlogger’s responsibility here to get consent.
Sometimes the situation is completely inappropriate to be recording. Private and personal conversations fall into this bucket. Other inappropriate times include whenever documenting seems to suck people out of the moment because everyone is more focused on the content production than the conversation or the experience in front of them.
Biggest tip for vloggers is transparency. The people whose vlogs I enjoy (and also enjoy being a part of) are those who are very transparent about what they are filming. These vloggers know when to put the camera down and turn the audio off, whether it’s because the conversation is personal or because they actually want to live in the moment with the people they are with.
At very least, vloggers should ask if any parties featured are ok with being used as part of the footage (and these parties should already know this footage was being shot/recorded). Even if the camera is off, but your microphone is on and recording, that should be disclosed. If a subject is reluctant, 100% give them the option to not be recorded and then follow through on your word.
Priorities: gathering content is not worth risking your relationships.
Whether we like it or not, that audio and video footage lives somewhere and the more vlogging picks up steam (which it will), new issues in personal, professional, and privacy boundaries will crop up. On television, they make you sign releases. I predict we’ll see legal issues start to surface over the next few years in regards to vlogs and other internet videos.
While I can appreciate all the reasons for wanting to document events and produce content (especially considering it is a huge part of my job and I love doing it), I also have empathy for those who don’t want their image or words to be public.
Personally, I tend to put myself out on social media regularly, but I do it on my terms. I don’t like anyone else controlling my image or how I’m portrayed. If I did, I would have tried out for some reality tv shows.
Do I want to be in your vlog? Maybe. You should check with me first.