Wargame Vlogging With Your Cell Phone: Why You Should Try It, Too

I discovered a new side of this fun hobby: vlogging. Actually my 13-year old daughter showed me the way. Last few months I’ve been busy to learn new tricks.

In general I’m quite unhappy with wargame battle reports. Wargame battle report blogging is very much a solo hobby : an avid gamer/ hobbyist plays a game and writes a chronological report, much like a diary with pictures or a dry summary of a meeting. I fall asleep, mostly. I started to use a graphic novel app to give my batreps a storyline, and colour. Like this.

Most wargame vlogs are even worse than the average blog. Here’s a professional vlog from Miniwargaming.

Summary: two neckbeards stream an unedited Bolt Action game. Ninety boring minutes long. The vlog is a sterilizing vaccination against the wargame virus. I’d never play Bolt Action or grow a beard after this video report. Aaargh!

But now for something completely different.

I like the Little Wars TV clips. Their review system is inadequate, but their batreps are superior. What they do is: they make short 10-20 minutes videoclips, with a few great angles:

  • they have an intro, a trailer to attract viewers
  • duo presentation, with fun interaction between games fan Greg (Jake Blues) and one of the other club members (Elwood)
  • their clips are movies in the right sense of the word, not slideshows with voice over. You watch video, not pictures.
  • they use storytelling, pose a question in the first part: ‘was Napoleon right?’ or ‘were bowmen that good?’: watch our replay! and build a story arc, with teaser, opening, historical background with dramatic shots, the historical military strategic puzzle, what will our players do? and nice wargame shots sometimes interrupted by an short interview ‘what do you expect’ followed by an after action recap
  • they talk to their viewer, adressing him personally
  • they make fun. A joke, a mad hat, they speak with a french accent, etc.
  • their games are team games, with normal, average guys having fun together.

Fresh. Funny. Short enough for a small break. Love that.

I always dismissed vlogging as ‘too difficult, time consuming, video editing is for pros only’. My dad spent hours editing his super 8 films.

But recently my 13-year old daughter, who is a hero on her Iphone, showed me how easy modern video editing is. Her younger brother finished his primary school, and I experimented with IMovie for Windows to edit and mix interviews with his classmates. As she promised, it turned out to be surprisingly simple.

So I studied ‘The Noble Art Of Video Editing’. In the end I will use it professionally (I want to use video presentations in court) but family and wargame videos are a nice playground.

Little Wars TV published a short and a long video tutorial, recently, and a challenge.

They published a good tutorial here.

Fellow Dutch wargamer Koen van den Eventuin is an excellent presenter and vlog enthusiast and produced several of our Dutch Poldercon Wargame convention vlogs.

As a first exercise, I made a small Dropzone Commander vlog with Imovie. In Dutch. With my mediocre cell phone and and $35,- dollar editing program.

More and more professional vids will follow.

Gaming and clubbing is group activity, and the production of a vlog is a creative new way to enjoy this historical miniature hobby and share fun.

I now understand why my dad spent so much time editing his Super 8 films 🙂

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