Thursday, 22 November 2012

How I Started Making Videos

My boss went to film school, so when he decided that his company needed to look into in-house video production for product videos, he knew what he was getting into. While he was planning an entry to the world of online how-to videos I had no idea what was going on. I was going nuts on mat leave, bored and lonely. I was also concerned about the future because although I was technically on maternity leave, I did not have a job to return to.

A former co-worker told me she was leaving the company just as they were getting ready to start a new, kind of crazy project. She asked to meet me and told me about what was going on and what the project might be. I told her I was interested and that I would love to come back to work ASAP!!! (as long as I could find child-care). So, she relayed my thoughts to the bosses, we scheduled a meeting and I came in, looking like a new mom, haggard and frazzled.

They asked me about my experience with video production. None, other than what I’ve absorbed through osmosis from my father and growing up around a news studio.

They asked me about my experience with photography.

Minimal portrait taking for a chain studio. I had a vague understanding of 3-point lighting and NO idea how to properly use a camera. Again, I’d picked stuff up through being around amateur photographers, former professional photographers, and former news camera operators but I had never had more than a passing run-down of camera technology, let alone composition, technique, focus-pulling, etc... They asked me if I was interested in learning.

Hell yes. I love a challenge.

Good enough, they said.

I was fortunate enough to have an understanding of where to start and to have bosses willing to hire pros to teach me. We recruited a producer, a director of photography and an editor to show me the ropes. I had a week with the producer, two days with the DOP and two days with the editor. They tried to cram 4 years of film school into that brief time.

That was 3 years ago.

If you go back and look at our early efforts it is quite obvious that we had no idea what we were doing. I was still getting the hang of the camera, afraid to change any settings lest I did something I could not un-do. My “talent” - although a great teacher and an expert in his field- had never been on camera before. He was stiff and formal, obviously self-conscious and just as afraid as I was.

We are still learning ever day. Luckily, I am no longer afraid of my camera. I have read and re-read the manual so many times, trying to figure out how to get the most out of it. The pros we hired gave me a starting point. They gave me enough information to pick up the camera to shoot and sit down to edit the resulting footage. The main thing I needed to start producing our videos was the confidence to learn.

We started with nothing more than a goal. We wanted to make videos instructing customers how to properly install 500 of our top-selling parts. We knew how to provide the instructions. We had a clear idea of what we wanted to show customers so all we had to do was shoot it.

Video production takes time. I am constantly learning. I continue to read books, I am still taking courses and attending workshops but the most important thing I do is I shoot. I keep shooting videos, I keep editing, I keep writing scripts and I keep experimenting with my camera. Practice will never make me perfect, but it will make me better.

Get a camera, start shooting, read the manual, prepare for terrible footage, learn.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Handmade Holiday MADNESS!

Things are starting to improve at home. Husband's meds seem to have stabilized and he can enjoy things again. It's still not all sunshine and rainbows, but it's also not soul-crushing despair either. As with all meds, there are side-effects but we are dealing with them as they come. I'm feeling better about being there for him, since I'm coming to terms with the fact that that is really all I can do.

We are at the beginning of our busy holiday/birthday season. We have 5 birthdays plus Christmas in the next 3 months. I'm trying to get the drop on gifts and making as much as possible, but I also am working on a big commissioned project for which I will actually get paid. The project is about three-quarters done but the final quarter is always the hardest, often taking twice as long as everything else (I'm looking at you, Alica's wedding present!)(it still isn't done yet...).

I have 3 gifts finished, plus Husband's request which wasn't really a gift, more of a challenge (beard hat). I'm working on 5 more gifts, with additional plans if I have the time.

I'm ambitious and slightly insane but I also think I have a good estimate of my abilities. I should be able, at the very least, to finish the things I have started. As for purchased gifts, we have MIL started, Little Brother complete, niece started and Monkey started. I have to purchase something for BsIL 1 and 2, SsIL 1 and 2, The Boys (4 nephews) and FIL.

Our family will be the last on the priority list. We have one big-ticket item on lay-away and that will probably be the only big thing we get each other.

Monday, 5 November 2012

What Do I Do Now?

Life is a little weird right now. Things are good but there is stuff going on that I don't really know how to process, let alone deal with, move passed and build upon.

Husband has recently been diagnosed with depression.

Yeah, not a big deal, millions of people are diagnosed with and treated for depression every year. I'm proud of him for getting the help he needs and I have promised him that I will do anything and everything in my power to be there for him in whatever way necessary. I love him and want nothing more than for him to be healthy so that our kids have a functioning, involved, loving Daddy.

The problem comes from me not really knowing what to do with myself. I have told him I support him, no matter what. I have let him know that if he ever needs to talk about anything, I am here for him. I am trying to continue on as if everything is normal but we both know it's not normal. He says there's nothing actually wrong so there's nothing for him to talk about. He just feels like shit all the time and needs something to balance out his lows.

He's not sad any more, but the drugs also take away his happys. He doesn't seem to have the same joy. His ambition is gone. A minor example, normally he loves Halloween, goes all-out with a huge, homemade costume. This year he almost didn't have one. He got a great costume together at the last minute (two-face to go with our oldest's Bat-Girl). It just takes a lot more effort for him to give a damn.

This is where my problem comes in. I can handle him in a low mood, I can deal with the anger, with the desire to be left alone and the short-temper. I'm not sure how to deal with someone who does not seem to take any joy in things. We have two small children who need someone to celebrate the joy in life with them. I want someone who will passionately throw themselves into things around the house, someone who wants things.

I know these things take time, that treating depression is an unrefined science with many different treatments to try. Nothing works for everyone and it always takes time to figure out what will work for each individual. I do not expect an over-night cure where a magic pill takes away his lows but allows him to keep his highs. I am happy that he is trying to get better and that he wants to be healthy. I am proud of him and I love him. I just never expected it to be this hard to just sit by and wait.