4.11.14

The Video Effect by Nigel Camp | Book Review

Video is something I have always been interested in. I loved Media Studies when I was completing my GCSE's and A Levels and made a short film during activities week back in 2000 when I was in my first year of high school, a film which was played again to the whole school in 2012 in our last assembly
For my GCSE coursework I put together a film about a charity I worked with, a day care centre for adults with head injuries and brain damage. I loved being a part of this and although it was a team effort, it was my baby and involved 2 passions of mine which was media and the day care centre I volunteered at as much as I could. (Imagine how angry I was when another group completely sabotaged the sound in my film, therefore ruining the message behind it as the audience couldn't hear a word I was saying. Still, I got a B)

Media Studies was my favourite subject at school and even watching films and tv shows now everything I learnt is fresh in my mind. I'm even friends with my Media teacher on Facebook so constantly feel like I should run to him to discuss things I've watched.

Last year I attended my first Britmums Live Conference and one of the sessions I went to was Smartphone Video with Nigel Camp from The Video Effect and Devil Boy Productions. I learnt a lot in this session and came away with a lot of notes and inspiration.
Again at Britmums this year I went to Nigel's session and came away with lots of notes, and again feeling inspired.
For a number of reasons I held off from making videos. I think due to my experiences in high school with video making I lack confidence issues. What if I get it wrong? I want to make something I am proud of, and not something I have just thrown together and "will do for now".
I was sent a copy of Nigel's new book 'The Video Effect' to review.The book states it is to help "market your business with online video".

So, you may be thinking, why is this book good for a blogger?


Our blogs are our businesses, we are our own brand.
If you feel confident enough to do so, then making videos is a fantastic way of showing your audience who you are. Words are fine, of course, as are photos, but the image of you, hearing you speak, puts a much more personal touch to your blog. It's not just text, someone hiding behind a screen. Your reader is able to connect with you as a real person.
Words can often be misread, as can the tone, so video is a wonderful way of breaking down that barrier and introducing you. Especially if you want to talk about something you are specifically passionate about.


The Video Effect talks you through each element of video making. From the start Nigel tells us why it is beneficial to businesses, as well as sharing encouraging and inspirational statistics, and throughout the book we are talked through each stage in detail. The book is full of information which is easy to digest and easy to understand.


I really liked the Do's and Don'ts that Nigel has included throughout the book, as well as lists of Advantages and Disadvantages. These help explain each stage in more detail and make it easier to understand.
The diagrams throughout the book also help to picture what you should be doing in terms of positioning, light, storyboards, and where to add watermarks.
Nigel also focuses on things that we may not even consider. For example, on page 72 he talks about hand gestures, as some that we use in the UK translate as offensive in other countries.
If you are creating a video generally for the UK viewer then this won't be relevant or something you would want to think about. However, if your video is made for a global market this is definitely something to remember. In this case make sure you look at your blog stats and that you are clear on who your audience are.

Page 64 proves why this book is as suitable for bloggers as it is for other businesses as it features a list of examples of how businesses are using video to complement their websites.
By looking at these examples we can see how video reviews would be an advantage to our blogs and our own websites.
For example, DIY tutorials, or recipe tutorials rather than just a photo heavy blog post. Travel seems to be a big part of blogging at the moment and what better way to show somewhere you have visited through video, sharing the atmosphere and a deeper view of what you have experienced?

Nigel also talks about 'Video retention rate advantages'. I found this really interesting as he explains that in a study "subjects retained 10% of what they heard from an oral presentation, 35% from a visual presentation, and 65% from visual and oral combined".
As a blogger, and someone who deals mainly with text and photo I found this really hit home and made me think about how I can use video to my advantage in the future, be it through reviews, places I visit or everyday things that I feel passionate about.


Over the next 6 months I am going to make an effort to get to grips with video. I'll be using this book to help me along and will post updates as I go.

The Video Effect is available on Amazon at £10. Ideal for those who want to use video on a business website, or to go alongside a blog.
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8.8.14

Sweet Potato Pancakes | Recipe

Recently I posted a recipe I never thought I would make let alone eat and enjoy. That recipe was for banana pancakes, and as much as I despite bananas, seriously I gag as I peel and mash them, those pancakes are rather amazing.
After realising how tasty and simple they are to make I wondered what else I could make too. I needed another food that had the same consistency as bananas and after searching the fridge and cupboards I found some sweet potatoes. What could go wrong?! Surely these would be perfect.

I can't even begin to tell you how tasty these are. I think I may be converted to these and may never touch another 'normal' pancake ever again.

I have enjoyed this with a simple side of mushroom, asparagus and smoked salmon (smoked salmon and sweet potato pancake is heavenly!) but we also had it recently with some teriyaki chicken.
The wonderful thing about these is that although they are filling they don't leave you feeling bloated, and are quite fluffy rather than being heavy.


All you need is two sweet potatoes and 2 eggs. This will give you 3-4 pancakes.

Firstly, peel and then boil your sweet potatoes until they are soft enough to mash.
Once mashed, mix the two eggs and combine.
Add a little oil to a frying pan and spoon on your mixture. As it's quick thick you can easily shape it using the back of a spoon so that you have an even shape.
Once it looks like it has cooked halfway turn flip it over and cook the other side. 
Once done, serve with anything you like.

sweet potato pancakes, healthy pancakes, sweet potato recipes


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24.7.14

Banana Pancakes | Recipe

Lets get something out in the open right now.
Bananas are evil.
They smell, they have a horrid texture, they smell, they are messy, they smell, the taste funny and they smell. But.....I ate one...and enjoyed it. I feel like I have cheated myself through doing this. How could I?! I adore pancakes and would eat them until I burst. Earlier this year I ate them almost everyday for a week, covered in chocolate and marshmallows and a healthier savoury option although this probably would have been covered in cheese and mayo.

I regularly watch Vivianna Does Make Up on Youtube. If you are not aware of her then go and seek her out immediately. Although predominantly about make up and fashion her weekly Vlogs are my favourite, and this is where I first saw "banana pancakes".
A healthy version of pancakes...how can it be?!
The recipe is super simple but also really quite adaptable so you can make up your two main ingredients and then throw in whatever else you like. I wanted raisins but didn't have any in so opted for desiccated coconut instead.
What you need:
A tiny bit of oil
1 banana
2 eggs
Other bits you may like to add. For example...I added 2 teaspoons of coconut and then included a sliced apple to the side of the bowl once the pancakes were made.
If you feel naughty you can always add some Nutella or (as I used but only as a taste test of course) ice cream sauce.

Simply mash your banana, whisk up your eggs, combine the two together, then either dry fry in a non-stick pan, or add a tiny amount of oil to a pan, and pour as much as you'd like into the pan (depending on the side of the pancake you want!) and flip once it looks like the pancake is done on the bottom side. It does take longer than other pancakes I find and if you flip too soon it will just end up looking like a banana-ery scrambled egg.

Once cooked both sides, serve. And enjoy.
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