By now many of you may have noticed my insane liking to vlogging. Ever since stumbling upon Casey Niestat’s Wildly Functional Studio video on YouTube, I have fallen for the idea of sharing the STORY behind our work and learning through video. It’s “working out loud” to some extent – namely, you’re sharing the process of what transpired during the day, what you learned, who you met and what you did – but then you reflect about it in a blog post (and provide the video so people can actually see and “experience” the day with you).
I wanted to do what Casey did and take his viewers with him while he was working and learning.
It presented an alternative approach to just a ‘talking head’ video that we see online often. I wanted to present a more authentic approach so that people can see me for who I am.
Sometimes that means with no make up, hair uncombed, dressed in casual clothes and going about my normal every day.
What you see, is what you get.
Now for a woman in her late 40s, this is a big thing. It’s touching on all sorts of vulnerabilities, anxieties and questions that comes with putting yourself out there on the internet.
After all, in an online world filled with the young, hip and happening, do women my age (or older) play a part? Do we have a voice?
Now don’t get me wrong. I did not start to vlog to present a feminist view. I started to vlog because I wanted to become more comfortable in front of camera, to be able to ‘think on my feet’ and string a sentence together confidently and articulately. I don’t feel particular comfortable in front of the camera but if I could do this activity as creatively as possible, my focus is then on telling the story and explaining an application to work. It removes the focus on me – and more to what it is I’m doing and learning.
Looking back at my earlier videos and seeing the progress over 41 short videos made for my YouTube Channel (please feel free to subscribe!) I feel as if I’ve come a long way (but still have a LOT to learn!).
Low Budget Film Making
Over weekend of 23 and 24 January, I undertook a Low Budget Film Making Course for iPhones and Digital SLRs through Melbourne University’s summer school program. I loved every moment of this workshop. It was hands on, practical and we had a wonderful teacher who explained the three tenets of increasing the production value of your video which were:
- Good audio
- Good lighting
- Camera movement
If we did just one of these things to our videos, we would increase their value. If anything, it made me realise how woeful I was in all three and how I had to bite the bullet and buy some good equipment to make sure the quality of my videos improved.
— Helen Blunden (@ActivateLearn) January 22, 2016
One of the two group activities was to shoot an interview using the new knowledge of light and audio. We all had various parts to play – from actor, director, boom operator, audio, video to shoot the various scenes inside and outside and then pull together the story.
— Helen Blunden (@ActivateLearn) January 23, 2016
The second task was to create a short music video. We chose Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and shot various scenes and used video editing software to pull it altogether. What I enjoyed about the day was that film making is a collaborative project. This was social learning at its best. Everyone has a critical part to play necessary for the success of the final product. It made me realise that when I vlog – I simply can’t do it all myself. It takes up a LONG time and if I had someone to help me with audio, lighting and shooting the various shots it would dramatically decrease the time it takes to create these short videos.
We are on a shoot! Making a music clip to learn filmmaking. pic.twitter.com/x1q8nCNaBd
— Helen Blunden (@ActivateLearn) January 24, 2016
Overall though, if did give me ideas for where I want to take this video journey. I enjoy the process of the story behind the event and believe it or not, the editing because you have the control in how you’re going to present it. It’s amazing that with some simple clicks such as reducing or increasing the duration of the clip, the choice of music, the movement – you create different versions of the same event and could present different perspectives.
So where am I going with all this?
I would entertain the idea of being a member of a crew to create a short film one day and see the process first had behind the creation of the final output. I’d love to be part of a project from the idea to the screening but I think the attraction for me is more to be part of a social collaborative team.
(Since writing this post, a good friend has told me that her dream is to create and submit a short film to the Cannes Film Festival. She told me that she has been pulling together a crew slowly over time and thinking of storylines. I’ve volunteered to help out her with this – even if it means making coffees and lunches for the crew. Imagine that! Wonder if I ever got to Cannes? Now that’s a laugh!)
However, I also enjoy the vlogging – the direct connection between me and my viewers and sharing the story of my work and learning through the day – as it is, as it was, as it is meant to be.
If you want to see what I got up to at this course, check out the video below. Of course, please feel free to subscribe to my channel so that one day ActivateLearn can have its own vanity URL YouTube channel!