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things I’ve learned about filming

So, today was our second day of filming for WinkyFace. It was my turn in front of the camera, and yes, I was nervous. I thought I would be most nervous about the acting (and I was pretty nervous about that; I’m type-A and self-conscious to boot!).

But as the process continued, I realized that the part that freaked me out even more than being on camera was not having control over what was happening. I couldn’t see the shots through the camera view finder. I didn’t know if things were level, framed properly, conforming to “my vision.” (Yes, I know what you’re thinking. I am a control freak. Yes. Yes, I am.) It was hard to cede control of the situation to Laurie, Brig & Mac. But, I learned a couple of valuable lessons in the process.

1) I need to be learn to be more trusting of my partners. They can handle things.

2) It’s OK to be a little un-trusting, too. It means your head is in the game and that you’re thinking about all that’s happening around you in a critical way.

3) We all needed to be a little more prepared. Day 1 we were really on top of things. Day 2 got a little lax, it seemed. I didn’t have key props ready. There was a LOT happening in my small office space. And, there were too many distractions (people, phones, equipment, etc.)

I spent the last few nights looking back over the footage we’ve accumulated so far. We’ve done some really neat, creative things. But, it’s clear that we’re novices at this. That’s OK. This is a learning process, and I honestly can’t believe how much I’ve already learned in such a short time. There’s stuff we’ll need to re-do, re-think, re-imagine. But, that’s where the good #learningcurving happens. I’m excited about Day 3.

Until then, I’ll leave you with some of the outtakes of our first two days of filming. If nothing else, we had some fun.


So, yesterday, Laurie and I decided to do a little bit of experimentation with cameras, tripods, and acting abilities. We knew we weren’t quite ready to make our first official WinkyFace video, but we get that practice is essential to success.

We met in my office at about 9 a.m. We set up our tripods (that was pretty easy), powered up the cameras (also manageable), and began “rehearsing” (another story!) with the cameras rolling.

If having fun = success, we hit it out of the park. We had a great time, and we laughed … a lot. But we also learned a lot, too. Here’s a short list of some of the things we learned while practicing.

1. We need to practice.

2. Our camera skills could use some work.

3. We probably need an assistant (or two).

4. We’ve got to find a way to improve the quality of our videos (lighting, sound, etc.).

5. We’ve got to have a more solid plan for filming so as not to waste precious time.

So, we’re going to work on all of those things. We’ve already conned (OK, they agreed willingly) two awesome students into being our production assistants in the spring, so we can check #3 off the list.

I had so much fun working on editing this video. I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy the process.  I stayed up until 2 a.m. last night working. Then, I dreamt about video editing in the short five hours of sleep I did get. And, I even woke up before my alarm wondering if my video had finished exporting! I’m a nut. But, I’m a storyteller at heart. Web video is just another cool medium for telling stories, and I’m excited to experiment more with it.

Until then, check out our video and let us know what you think by either commenting here or on YouTube. We’re not gonna lie. We’re a bit anxious about how this and any other videos we produce will be received and about the types of comments we’ll get. Laurie’s working on a post with more on that, so stay tuned.

😉 Linds

Learning curving

I think curving is a sport. Oh, wait, no. That’s curling.

Even though this looks like a candid of Linds & me, it's actually a Wikimedia image of 2010 Olympics curling.

Even though this looks like a candid of Linds & me, it’s actually a Wikimedia image of 2010 Olympics curling.

I’m so glad curving is not a sport, because for me, “learning curving” is about being in a perpetual state of not knowing exactly what I’m doing. And that’s exactly the state I’m in when it comes to WinkyFace. (Well, that state and Pennsylvania.)

Shhh. Don’t tell anyone I’m scrambling. I’m sure I’ve fooled them all into thinking I’m a pro.

I anticipate that I’ll be returning to this subject of “learning curving” on a regular basis. And by “anticipate,” I don’t mean that I’ll be looking forward to it the way I might look forward to Heinz ketchup eventually making its way out of the bottle. No.

What I mean by “anticipate” is that I “have a sneaking suspicion based on past experience and a pattern I’ve noticed of regularly not knowing what I’m doing.”

(Remind me to tell you about buying a tripod that didn’t have any directions. Maybe I’ll even reenact that state of learning curving because if I go through hell, we might as well all get some enjoyment out of it, right?)

So. Here’s what I found out—through the miraculous power of Google!—about filming computer screens to include the user (as opposed to the screen-capture style) :

The best result you can get if your camera is good enough is to film in near darkness where the only light source is the monitor and show it reflecting off your skin… looks awesome and very real. I also have found that when you cut to the over-the-shoulder or POV showing the screen, you get a better result in a no-light situation than you do in a room with light.

… it was really easy to read the text on the screen and show user activity happening on the screen in that situation. I got great contrast, really clear image, and no distortion, flicker or annoyances.

Thank you, nevart on! Except when I played with it, it was not so utopic after all. I might have a different kind of screen than nevart because, apparently, the type of screen matters to things like filming. But I’ll keep playing and researching ’til I find a method that is reasonably okay.

So, yes, I do a lot of experimenting. And I rely on Google and the people on the Internets generous enough to share their expertise & experience.

Tell me: How do you cope with learning curving?

Advice & expertise is much appreciated! (even if being an expert on not being an expert seems like a bit of an oxymoron…)
—Laurie 😉

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