Filming in a Slum Vlog

Updated: Oct 15, 2021

Last week, I got the opportunity to work on a social service film that aimed at raising funds for skill education for the less privileged. I decided to document the filming journey for my YouTube channel my to share the filming experience as well give an insight into the lives of the people that lived there.

The first day was the recce for the shoot. For non filmmakers, a recce is basically an analysis and viewing of a location. You want to make sure it matches your vision, if it is safe, what are the potential external disturbances, who are the people in the area and if they object to you filming etc.

The idea for my YouTube video was to opt for a vlog meets a documentary format and see how it pans out. Nothing could actually be planned as the events write the story. So on day one, I grabbed my phone, met the crew and was all set to explore a part of the city that I had never been to before.

I chose to stick to my phone during this shoot because of two things. One, I had heard experiences of people breaking and losing equipment in slums during shoots and I did not want to risk that with my new equipment. And two, I had still not acclimatized to my new equipment and editing on the new software. Sometimes, playing it safe comes in handy but we do need to know when to draw the line.

Back to the recce day, after arriving at the location and the meet and greet, we began looking around the area for potential houses and actors for the film. I began recording the area even before entering the slum lane in order to capture the first and real reaction of people and not miss any moments.

Honestly, it was a little awkward walking in with a phone camera in everyone’s face, they looked at me funny and I did feel like a creep but over time, things began to settle and both them and I adjusted to the phone being there. The camera was invisible to everyone at some point. The best part about that was that I did not miss any key moments like the pipe water or the hair joke.

The total footage from the entire recce day was around I’d say twenty minutes and had been condensed to a 2 minute video. The editing style was inspired by documentaries with a voiceover from a long clip and several inserts from other clips. It was very fast paced which actually helped in retaining a lot of viewer’s attention.

The choice of music was to give a Latin American vibe because putting a traditional Indian tone would be cliche and would kind of lose the fun playful vlog style. I used four different tracks over the course of the video and subtly changed it at the key moments or when the other track seemed to get long.

The thumbnail was designed to peak interest but also be true to the video. Had I put a reaction thumbnail which wasn’t true to the video, it would have gotten many people to click on the video but not retain them till the end of the video.

The collaboration with the other girls, did give me an opportunity to expand my audience because everyone prefers sharing a video of things they are a part of, or something they could relate to. This not only boosted my following massively but also introduced my content to people who would actually enjoy watching it.

I did not focus on marketing much for this video as I wanted to pace out my social media. I’m still trying to find the fine line between a lot of posts and not any posts. I took a reel from one of the crew members, added some text and posted it to promote my new video. I also added the reel as a YouTube shorts to reach more people.

Lastly, this blog and my latest podcast was another marketing tool to drive the audience to my videos.

The tags used were a little misleading as I put Dharavi slums in my description but seeing that it really didn’t matter, worked in my favour.

I would be talking at length about each of these segments on my latest podcast- The Eye Production’s YouTube secrets. 

So if you haven’t already, Subscribe to my YouTube channel and My Latest Podcast, tie your seat belt and get ready to take off. I know the pilot is inexperienced but trust me this flight ain’t gonna crash.

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