Daily Prompt: Apply Yourself

Describe your latest attempt to learn something that did not come easily for you.

swatchesCreating demonstration videos.

I’m an artist and that includes videography.  I make videos for people all the time.  Making one for me – that’s something else.  So I decided to give it a try.  I would very much love to start giving demonstrations of my painting techniques.  I’d like to share my knowledge and help other artists.  I’ve been to some awful painting demonstrations and I can see that it’s very challenging to do them.  Painting is a right-brain activity and talking about what you’re doing as you’re doing it is a left-brain activity.  When someone is painting and they need to describe what they’re doing, their voice actually changes.  It’s as though we can’t talk and paint at the same time, but we might just be able to say a few words if they’re words we’ve pre-recorded into our brains about what we’re doing – words we know really well, because we’ve done this exact thing a million times.  So when we’re painting and we need to speak, we pull that bit of talk from our memories and we sort of recite it.  Oh, I don’t mean to say that we do that on purpose.  I decided to try it for myself.

I decided to film myself doing a small painting of a flower pot and some heart-shaped Christmas ornaments.  In my first attempt, I used one camera and a wireless mic.  I painted and described what I was doing at the same time.  When I transferred the footage to my editing computer I discovered that I was unable to paint and talk at the same time.  I would paint a while in silence, then stop and talk about what I’d just done.  Awkward.  In my next attempt I painted in silence and then added a narrative sound track over the video by playing the video with my editing system so I could watch it while I talked.  In the meantime, I had a wireless microphone on and narrated what I was seeing.  That worked well, but felt a little awkward, as there was no ambient noise.  When I laid down my brush or moved something, there was silence.

I’m going to post a little demo I did where I tried to reach a happy middle place with talking and painting at the same time.  I consciously worked at it.  You’ll see that I still have pauses now and then.  I like the sounds of the brush swishing in the water, of the paper being slid across the table, of the palette being set down.  So I think in my next attempt I’ll be quiet while I paint, but in the editing process use the ambient audio as well as the narrative.  In my first attempt I had so much awkward talking while I painted that I wasn’t able to use the audio at all.  Doing demonstrations and sharing knowledge is so important to me that I’m going to practice until I get it right.  This was a great experience and I learned a lot!

7 comments on “Daily Prompt: Apply Yourself

  1. I really liked your video! I’m not much of an artist myself (my attempts sometimes turn out well, but only once in a while), but I do understand your frustration with open-ended narration.

    I posted my very first attempt at making my very first travel video recently, and I agree, the audio is the hardest part to get right. The little intro where I was speaking to the camera was a very brief segment cut from a 3 minute narrative – the rest was full of rambling words that didn’t help me to tell the story. When I made the voiceover for the rest of the film, I wrote it all out on paper and read it – many fewer mistakes!


    • Hi, Jen. I spent some time at your website and look forward to reading more. The picture of you on you ABOUT page is really great. I enjoyed reading about your family vacations and I can see why you enjoy traveling so much even now.

      I watched your Pennsylvania Farm Show video. Great start. Sure the footage was a little shaky, but I thought it was great. It made the farm show look more like a place that you’d go with family and just enjoy. If you’d been using a professional camera, it wouldn’t have been the same. I can’t really explain it. Your camera work felt just right for a down-home fair or farm show. I wish your narration was a bit louder. I loved the music, but it kind of drowned you out a bit. Maybe next time, let your narration be louder, because you do a great job with it. Still, I loved it and learned a lot of neat things about the origins of some of the features at the show. Thanks so much for taking time to make a video about it. I’m inspired.

      • Thanks for your comments! I do know the narration was a little too soft, I actually had already increased it but I guess not quite enough. I do wish I my footage was a little less shaky – I actually bought a mini portable tripod for my iphone for future footage! But it was my very first video, so hopefully my next one will have improved, and the next one after that, and so on! Thanks for stopping by my blog to view the video 🙂

        • Jen, I’m betting that you had a lot of fun making that video though. I look forward to your next video. I’m trying to think of a next project. I don’t travel much lately, but videos like yours are just like being there.

          • You’re right – it was a lot of fun! I really enjoyed learning new programs (windows movie maker, any video converter, audacity, camstudio). Luckily this trip didn’t even require much travel – it was not that far from where I live!

  2. Thank you so much. I made the color swatches over twenty years ago and I’m happy to say that the colors are as bright and alive as they were back then. Thank you for taking the time to stop by.

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