March 4, 2016 at 3:08 pm #18993
I arrived at the last stretch of Camp Medias last week. I realized a few weeks ago that I’m a technical process-oriented person, so I wouldn’t want to proceed much beyond laying out the shots for my videos until I had a video camera in hand and could practice with it. I’ve done set design for theatre, designed and built furniture and lots of large-scale projects, and I like to know what my equipment is capable of and what the physical restrictions are before I unleash my creative side! Engineer’s kid! 🙂 So I ordered a video camera, studio setup with lights and backdrops, and a microphone. All of those have arrived now and I’ve been spending time with them trying to figure it all out.
I got a Canon Vixia HF R62. While I could have used my iPad and I’m comfortable filming with it, I’m making videos about making art, so visual quality is important. Especially since I’ll be doing most of the demonstrations using pencil. I need a camera that can convey that level of detail well. I used to work in a slide library for the History in Art department at the University of Victoria so I have some familiarity with how to photograph art. My camera will need to be on a tripod or rostrum looking straight down, and I need to be able to see what I’m filming as I do it. I’ll need both a good steady tripod that I can set up so it doesn’t show in the frame and the ability to zoom and still retain clear focus and detail. An iPad won’t fit the bill for this, for a few reasons. I could get an iOgrapher setup so I can mount the iPad looking straight down, but then I can’t see what I’m filming very well and I’m still not going to get the visual quality I need. And the full kit costs a few hundred dollars for something that won’t really do what I need it to do.
So I decided I may as well spend a bit more and get a camera that does what I need it to do. Being my father’s daughter, I did my homework and ended up with a Canon Vixia. And I also figured I may as well start as I mean to go on, and learn about the various processes of uploading, editing and so on, using the equipment I plan to keep using!
I watched a video on YouTube on how to use iMovie and created two short videos yesterday, which was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, it turns out that the Rode VideoMic Go doesn’t work with the Canon Vixia. I need a self-powered microphone. The mic works, just not with this particular camera! Dang! But it’s a minor setback, and I’m not at the point of filming yet anyway.
I’m enjoying this stage of developing my e-course tremendously. Combining moodboards and storyboards with a list of shots and all of that is how my mind works all the time. Even as a visual artist, I build up my projects layer by layer by envisioning the various processes, I don’t generally worry about what it will LOOK like. The materials and processes determine the outcome, and I enjoy that way of working, so this is absolutely right up my alley! And I’m excited to know that once I assemble the equipment and learn the technical side of how to put it all together, then my only limitation will be coming up with content. It’s like a doorway into a new world for me!!!
The one thing I haven’t sorted out is the final name for my course or the names of the chapters. I’m not TOO worried about it yet because I often find that ideas pop up after I leave it alone for a while. I’m a big believer in intuition as well as logical linear organization and rational thought!March 4, 2016 at 3:29 pm #18997
Way to go @joannturnip, so excited for your enthusiasm to dive in and play with your new equipment. Sounds like you’re having a lot of fun and have a whole lot of natural creative energy to play with. I’m so excited to see what you come up with for your videos.
Glad you’re enjoying how the process is laid out at Camp Medias. It’s way different than our original plan, which would have been more equipment based and less creative visioning. @michaelmann (aka Doober) was a genius in coaching us through this section of the journey. He’s been doing it for many years.
Have fun playing and let us know if you need any help!March 4, 2016 at 3:29 pm #18999
I will say that I sometimes waver about how valuable a course will be that’s purely about drawing faces. To me, it seems so basic, but I also know that it took me YEARS of constant practice to arrive at a point where it seems simple. I gave myself daily assignments as a child and a teen, to master shading and all the other aspects of creating lifelike faces. So it may be basic in one sense, but it’s not SIMPLE and certainly not easy.
What I have to keep focussed on is WHO I’m doing it for, and WHY. I keep seeing people posting in an online art class I’m taking about how they despair of doing faces. We’re 10 weeks into a year-long art class, at least one lesson every week, and someone said yesterday she’s intentionally avoided all the assignments with faces. Several students have lamented their fear of doing faces, even though they’re already experienced artists in other formats.
I was chatting with a woman I went to art school with recently and told her about my class idea. She said, “faces scare the crap out of me.” This is a woman who sat next to me in drawing class for 3 years. We drew from life every week. She went on to make a nice little side income for herself selling wildlife prints, yet she says “faces scare the crap out of me.”
So this is not just the Who and the WHY, it’s also the HOW of what my course needs to be about. It’s not just skills. It’s about conquering that fear, and having someone hold your hand and point out all of the tricks you need to master so you can finally feel confident that you can do something that’s been scaring the crap out of you since you were, like, 12. Even though I don’t share that fear, I certainly understand the drive to want to draw faces. Talent alone is not everything. It’s about practice, discipline, and learning the tricks of how to see what you’re looking at and translate it onto paper with lines. It’s a complex thing, but humans have multiple parts of their brains devoted to facial recognition. There are deep-seated reasons why we WANT to do this, or why some cultures see it as wrong or profane to depict faces. Faces are magic. Being able to depict a face is like knowing someone’s secret name in the ancient fairytales. And the fear or aversion to doing it is also deep-seated for many people.
So just being that person who can guide someone through that is important, even though it seems simple.
I listened to the recording of a webinar Sarah Hart did on how she developed her own e-courses in Branding, and she said the first time she did her course, one of the big mistakes she made was in making assumptions about what people know and not breaking stuff down enough into the most basic elements. So there is definitely a place for a very basic how-to on how to draw faces.
There are already some fairly basic classes out there on how to do certain styles of faces, but I suspect the people who are afraid of doing faces will avoid those. They feel they’re incapable, that faces themselves are so far beyond them, there’s no point looking at any particular medium or style of rendering faces. Which is untrue. A stylized face is actually easier because there’s a formula for how to do it. But this just points up the need for a class that isn’t about skills or techniques, that addresses that rock-bottom fear and self-perception. “I’m SURE you can do this, and this is how I know that about you, even though we’ve never met.”March 4, 2016 at 3:32 pm #19003
Thanks, Bradley! I only started editing videos yesterday, but I created a fun, cute 3 minute video starring my two young cats, who feature in a lot of my Facebook posts. I loved doing it, and have had a lot of Likes and even Loves on it on Facebook. I’m figuring, well, that was quite decent for a first attempt, so imagine what I can do if I keep going! 🙂
I’ll definitely be in touch for technical help.March 14, 2016 at 2:25 pm #19695
I rumbled right through the first 3 or 4 videos of Technosis Temple last week, then spent quite a bit fo time looking at which platform I’d want to work with. I’ve signed up for a free trial of Ruzuku, and I also created an account at Teachable.com They seem very similar to me in terms of what they can do. Some minor differences in how they charge and in the precise technology they use for things like hosting a live webinar or teleconference, but the functionality seems about the same.
I’ve watched a bunch of their free tutorials on both sites, and I’m inclining towards Teachable now.
I spent time last week cleaning out my spare room and setting up my “studio” in there for filming my talking head sequences. I’ve been struggling with lighting. The lights that came with my studio setup kit from Amazon are barely bright enough in my dining room, but overpowering in my spare room. I’ve been paying attention to how people are lit when they’re talking on documentaries and trying a few different things as a result. So, still a work in progress.
This week I’ll spend a day learning in detail how to set up a course on Teachable and creating at least a mockup for myself. Then I’ll have an 8 day commitment that will keep me out of the house for 7 or 8 hours a day, so I won’t be able to do anything on my e-course. I want to get everything to a point where I feel I can leave things, not partially completed that I won’t be able to pick up again later!
And let me say again just how much I love Evernote as a great tool for teaching an e-course! I can’t say this enough!March 16, 2016 at 4:45 pm #19821
I’m still waiting for my new microphone to arrive; any day now, in theory! In the meantime, I haven’t done a full day of working on course creation as I’d planned for this week. I’m feeling scattered these days. I have this 8 day program coming up next week where I’ll be away all day every day and I’m a bit anxious about that, so my head is not in the game.
I did spend time last night and today setting my camera on a tripod to see how well I can film myself drawing on a tabletop. It works but it’s not exactly the perfect setup. I did some searching online for rostrum camera stands (also called animation stands) but they’re not common, and the type I’d be most inclined to buy doesn’t seem to be available in Canada. I did spot a home-made version by an animation instructor at Emily Carr Institute of Fine Arts and I may go that route in future. And I spent some time wrestling with 3 different camera tripods to see how I can set the camera so it shoots straight down without showing the tripod legs, and without making the camera think it’s upside down. I did get it to work fairly well, and I’ve done two trial runs of myself drawing a face from blank page to complete shading. One runs about 40 minutes, I think, the other is over an hour. I may not use these segments in my course, or I may clean them up a bit and use one as a free intro video for my course. If I include a segment like this in my course, it would be during the second lesson, and I refer to both the first lesson where we learned about light falling on a sphere, and to later lessons where I’ll go into more detail about features and proportions. As a standalone lesson, it might seem intimidating to some people, but it shows that there will be much more offered in the full course. I may post it on YouTube. I think it’s pretty long to embed here. But I enjoyed watching the video segments, which is a pretty strong acid test. Most of us don’t like hearing our own recorded voices. I was fine with it.
I mastered simple video editing with iMovie a while ago, then in our buddy call, SharynWa turned me on to Adobe Voice, which is a very simple but adaptable way of creating a short film to use as an intro. I had fun with that yesterday!
I’m also tackling the wonderful world of downloading sound effects. I was a PC girl for many years, then switched to Macs a few years ago and mostly I like them. But every once in a while I run into something I just can’t figure out. Like, if I save a download in one spot, why can’t I move it later? iMovie won’t look in my Downloads files. It’s a User-OS interface problem, I guess!
I’m kind of feeling like I’m not making progress right now, but I think I’m learning a lot of different things here and there that I’m going to need to create this course. If I look back only two weeks, I’m a lot farther ahead, it’s just no longer progressing in a straight line. I think Andy warned us that this would start to happen now!April 22, 2016 at 10:54 am #21688
A month on, and I feel like my course ideas are drifting away from me. But other things are being worked out and resolved bit by bit, so I remain hopeful. I had my 8 day intensive course on Ancient Irish Shamanism, which was awesome, but completely absorbing. I’ve also started a third online course in dreamwork, which is very important to me. And as I’d anticipated, with the advent of spring, plans for the rest of the year are starting to rev up. It’s getting to be harder and harder to carve out time to work on this course because of other time commitments.
However, since my last log entry, my new microphone has arrived, and I’ve shot some footage with that. It works perfectly, although I need a better wind screen on it. It has a small foam screen but I think it needs one of the fuzzy ones. It’s picking up on a lot of background noise and movement. It’s a wired lavalier mic with 20 feet of wire, which is fine. I don’t plan to be very far from my camera anyway and I’ve had bad luck with wireless equipment in the past. Even if it works, it can be intermittent.
I also put all of the footage I shot onto my computer, only to discover that all of the rostrum work I’d done (camera pointing straight down as I draw on a table top to illustrate techniques) is upside down. I did some research into how easy it is to rotate it, and it can be done, but it’s not reliable. Depending on the software you use to rotate it, the video may revert to its original format and that’s not good enough for an e-course I want to be freestanding, with little maintenance from me. So I decided I needed to invest in an extension arm that lets me place the camera at exactly the position I need and still be oriented correctly, rather than spend a lot of time trying to learn technical tricks that may not really be helpful. Go for the low tech but reliable solution rather than the high tech and labour-intensive option that really doesn’t pay me in the long run.
So I ordered a Manfrotto extension arm and Super Clamp (the name cracks me up!) which arrived very quickly and does the trick. I shot two videos of myself drawing a face from nothing to outline form ready for shading just to get the practice with the arm, talking to the camera (the urge to look at the camera when I’m speaking is irresistible, but pointless because my face is not visible! Better to focus on what my hands are doing) and so on.
I think I’ll use one of those videos as a “walk in the park” or short day trek freebie for anyone interested in what my course might be like, with a short talking head sequence and some supporting documentation. So somebody can get 15 minutes of explanation and instruction, formatted the way the full course is formatted, and decide if they’d like to buy into the full deal, and get onto my email list.
I’ve also learned a lot of small but critical steps in video editing with iMovie. I imported some free sound effects and music into iTunes and was bale to get that into my project. I also created an intro and outro for the video, which are not final. But ti gave me good practice in what it takes to match the visuals, titles and transitions to a sound track, then fade the music out just as the actual instruction starts, so it looks quite professional. Fifteen seconds of video took me two hours to edit, but I learned a lot in the process. Now I know that I can do it again for real, create my opening and closing credits and have them ready to plop into my course videos. Small steps but a big learning curve!
And while all of this (and other outside projects) have been going on, I also have kept on working on my notes for my Research course. This was one of my top 3 contenders for an e-course idea. I originally designed it for re-enactors in a medieval re-creation group. Then I was going to revamp it as broader research but that was very challenging. My background is in art history, which is very similar to how history is researched.
I wasn’t clear how I could broaden that, then it struck me one day that people doing genealogy can get lots of help on tracking the documents and vital statistics side, but when it comes to figuring out the history of where their family came from or what broader changes or movements of people might affect how they search for records, what I know applies to that. My Dad was really into genealogy, took several courses in it, but ran into a brickwall when he got back to an ancestor born in 1791. For me it was obvious that he needed to research the craft guild this ancestor belonged to, which would then lead him to another source of records not normally cited in a broad course on genealogy, but he kept resisting that. It suddenly struck me just recently that my father, a man I always saw as capable of doing anything, actually did not know how to do historical research. It’s something I can do easily and it never occurred to me that my extremely capable dad, a man with an engineering degree and tons of curiosity about many topics, actually didn’t know HOW to do it, and maybe even wasn’t clear what the relevance was. And I realized that the research course I’ve already got can easily be made applicable to someone looking into family history. The techniques and methods will be exactly the same, I just need more examples of that type of quest rather than just what re-enactors tend to look for.
The only hesitation I have about it is that I’d be marketing it to a different group of people, so I need to look at who those markets might be. I’m certain that the content is relevant and it fills a niche, it’s just how I get my info out to the people who don’t even know they’re looking for that.
I have my course notes 90% completed, the material is already divided into about 5 sessions, now I need to go back and add some concrete examples, stories about people, titles of books I can recommend, and some activities or quizzes for students so they can take the content away and make it relevant to their own quest. I’ve already taught this class in person in its re-enactor version 5 or 6 times, I know it works for people but I need to make it even more simple, clear and obvious because I won’t be there to answer questions. It’ll be all talking head stuff with supporting notes and some exercises or quizzes. Very simple to set up and already more than half organized. The existing class runs 3 to 4 hours, the e-course will probably run 5 to 6 at most, so a very clear “day trek” or weekend class. I could just do it as an e-book, but I know different people learn differently, and listening to a talk will work for some people while reading it works for others. I could even do audio files, but I may save that for a later upgrade to the course.
I’m finding that both of my ideas, the Faces class and the research one, have been bootstrapping each other. I go back and forth between them, but now I think I’ll do both. At the moment I think the Research one can be ready sooner with less fuss on my part, but the marketing will take more energy and thought for me (unfamiliar territory!), while I have a better handle on where and how to market the drawing class but it will take more moving parts to get it “in the can.”
So I’m still sticking with creating my e-courses but I’ve been distracted by Real Life. Next week I’m starting a 3 week online class with Sarah Hart on Branding and website creation, which is only offered once a year. So if I want to take it, I have to take it now. But it will help me with a lot of the background technical and design aspects of assembling all my outreach and marketing pieces. Sharyn took it last year and highly recommends this course. Yet again, expanding my community helps me focus on what’s actually going to work! 🙂April 22, 2016 at 3:00 pm #21695
Hey @joannturnip just wanted to chime in and say kudos on your project so far!
I’m also working on a drawing-based online course and the overhead shot had me really hung up for awhile. I googled all kinds of possibilities and was even going to hire someone to build me a box rig when my uncle swooped in and let me use his equipment. Super lucky to have a photographer for an uncle!
I am going to keep the extension arm and Super Clamp in mind as options for something I can invest in for future projects though–you liking it so far?
cheers to the trail!April 23, 2016 at 7:02 am #21718
Wow @joannturnip, it looks to me like you’re moving up the mountain in your own perfect way. I think all those detours are actually taking you to where you wanna go. So happy to hear that you’re starting to play with your gear and tat you have your course content mostly laid out. That’s HUGE! This creative vision quest has its’ own life and it’ll be born when it’s ready and when you’re ready. Just keep your heart on the trail and dedicate whatever time you do have to building your course. It will be done.April 23, 2016 at 11:02 am #21723
Hi Jessica @jescantonelli,
Yes, I am liking the extension and Super Clamp. The clamp is designed for clamping anything like lighting or other gear to any type of pipe. It has an extra little safety clip inside so your expensive light won’t slip out of the clamp.
The extension arm is just barely long enough to extend out over my head from behind my chair and focus on the work surface, but it can be done. I just need to be careful I don’t move the tripod getting in and out of my chair! But these are all fine-tuning adjustments I can make over time. Another chair might be better. The arm with the camera on the end is a tad top-heavy, but any kind of weight on the tripod legs will help with that. I use a Manfrotto tripod that’s fairly solid with long legs and some weight, and a Canon Vixia camera, which is pretty light, so as long as I’m careful, it’s fine. Even 1 or 2 small wristband weights would probably do the trick if I felt it was necessary.
The extension arm is also by Manfrotto. I don’t know that it makes a difference, but it seems like Manfrotto makes a lot of sturdy gear that works for people who have special photographic needs, and it’s still affordable. I did a lot of searching and considering of other options (including the idea of making my own rostrum, but that has its own set of obstacles!) before I decided this was the most affordable option and the quickest. The extension arm slots perfectly into the Super Clamp. The clamp would work on any tripod, but you need to make sure the tripod can fit behind or around your chair when you’re working. And that you can get enough height. But those can be improvised.April 23, 2016 at 11:23 am #21725
Thanks, Bradley! I’m feeling pretty optimistic about all of this. And I’m learning to be very protective of my time, that I need to reserve a couple of days or half days every week or two just to work on this, as well as follow any urges I have in the moment to just try a bit of filming or editing. One thing I’m learning from going away from e-course creation, then coming back to it, is that I really enjoy this. A lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff is what turns my crank.
I also know that creative work takes time. Sometimes I can hammer doggedly away at something and get a result, but sometimes things just need to mature in their own time. This morning I had a “new” idea for how I might brand my courses and website. And as I unpacked this concept, I realized I’d already used this concept, the Golden Age of Travel, a few years ago as a decor theme in a temporary living situation. Then I looked up the founder of a museum I used to work at, with a collection amassed during the Golden Age of Travel, and discovered that I am, at this stage in my life, a lot like she was in her heyday, and that this theme fits perfectly with many other interests I have. I can use it to create an umbrella that will contain all, or most, of the variety of things I’m interested in. And it has a very clear visual look I can start from and adapt for different “departments” as I build my little intellectual and creative empire! 🙂 So I just spent some time clipping images for a new moodboard.
And I’m an engineer’s kid. Both my parents designed and built things, from furniture to an amazing garden that’s like a park. I can be very imaginative, but I also like to understand the technology I’ll be working with, so spending an hour learning about some specific task in iMovie makes me a lot more comfortable doing my creative work. I don’t spend a lot of time on the creative side, then figure out later how to make it work technically, I always bounce back and forth, and one helps shape the other.
“Onward and upward” has become my motto!April 23, 2016 at 4:42 pm #21742
Thanks for the thorough review @joannturnip! You did your research well, those price out super reasonably and it sounds manageable and simple. Might just be trying this myself soon! thanks for sharing 🙂April 24, 2016 at 7:40 pm #21754
Andy FreistMountain Guide@andyfreist
Awesome progress log @joannturnip !
You are definitely on the right track.. I find that my creativity unfolds in its own time, and that the key is to simply be consistent, even if its in a very simple way.
There’s a certain momentum that picks up and carries me along. Judging by what you have shared, I can see that this same momentum is lightly whisking you along.
Keep it up, love the process, and be amazed at what sprouts from your joy 😉May 10, 2016 at 3:15 pm #22182
Just posting to say I’m still here, listening to the live webinars when I can. I’m in Week Three of a course with Sarah Hart on Branding. The course is partly about the process of making design choices and narrowing those down, learning to use either Photoshop or Canva for designing, and implementing all of that. If we stay on top of the lessons day by day and do the work, we should have a website up and running by the end of this week. If not, we’ll still have lifetime access to the course material.
For the last week of April I did a number of quizzes and tests to identify my strengths and how I tend to work in groups and as a leader, which will help me sort out how to integrate my e-courses and other online ventures with the rest of my life. My leadership style is Relational, so I need to give people a chance to relate to me. I also effortlessly connect people with one another and with information. So that’s helping me adjust how I’ll set things up as an online teacher.
Last Thursday I paid to sign up for Traffic Planet webhosting and got them to transfer my domain over from WordPress. I also purchased the Divi WordPress theme from Elegant Themes. I subscribed to ConvertKit last month. So now I have all the components in place.
When I did that, I reached a saturation point. Until this stage, I had these choices in my “to do” pile. Decisions I *WOULD* be making sometime in the future, or decisions I’d made but not implemented. Suddenly, it all got real. These are commitments. I’m paying money for all of this to be running in the ether on my behalf, I’d better start making use of them and get something done. YIKES!!!! I tried watching one of the Branding course videos on integrating a mail automation system with a website, and I had to stop watching. It was like my brain simply could not absorb any more information. I’ve learned *SO MUCH* in the past 6 months that for every sentence she spoke, I had about 10 ideas or I was converting her suggestions into what I was already doing because of the Great E-course Adventure. It was like she was in slow motion and I was going at light speed.
As soon as I felt that, I stopped watching for a while. I’ve been designing logos, and spending time on Ancestry.ca (I started doing that as a Work Avoidance project, but it also ties in with my Research class). I’ve done more work on the notes for my Research course. And assembling bits and pieces of graphics, fonts and so on for my website. Sarah Hart has lots of ideas for creating infographics, e-books and free gifts to get people on your list and other design projects that can be done quickly and easily, and add a lot of value to any online business.
I’ve also continued to have dreams that give me guidance on what I need to do with my courses. One dream was like a match-3 game like Bejewelled or something, but I needed to have one each of Intellect, Emotion, and Physical. It was sometimes possible to win with a combo of 2 intellect and one Physical or 2 Emotion and 1 Physical, but no combination could work without some physical component. It could be a quiz or an assignment, a fun exercise, build a fort on your desk with pencils, or “everybody get up and shake it all about.” Humans can’t absorb information just through their ears and eyes, they need to learn in some physical way or translate it into mental images of things they can DO. Stories about people are another way of doing this.
I also dreamed I had classes in small portable containers. Each one was like a mini-class in something, so if I needed activities or stories or examples to flesh out a course, I could just unpack one of these and I had this fun little module. Which I’m sure I actually DO have. I’ve been teaching all kinds of courses for years, mainly hands-on arts classes, Welsh cooking in the Middle Ages, Middle Eastern cooking, medieval houses in Wales, history of calligraphy. I just haven’t come up with ways to translate them into the e-course format. But maybe I don’t need to make them free-standing courses. Maybe that material can become part of other courses. In fact, I’m sure we did that exact lesson early on in the Great E-course Adventure! 🙂 But the mental image of having an entire class in a fun-filled colourful box I could unpack like a magicians box of tricks really brought it to life for me!
This is the moodboard I assembled on Pinterest based on True Daring, the name I’m going with for my e-course website. This has a lot of the colours and design elements I’m looking for, although nothing so far quite captures exactly the vibe I want. I’m clear about it in my mind. https://www.pinterest.com/joannolwen/true-daring-board/
And for the Branding class, one of the things we work on at the beginning is our “aura,” the words that sum up how we present to the world or what fires us up. My Aura words are Spirit, Adventure and Clarity. It’s similar to the “Why” and “Who” work we did in this course, but aimed specifically at the design aspects of a website and how we use that to project our personality to our dream clients. Here’s the Pinterest board I created for my Aura Words:
https://www.pinterest.com/joannolwen/aura-words/May 11, 2016 at 10:21 am #22242
Wow @joannturnip, thanks for stopping into the campfire and sharing your story. You’ve been a busy lady since the start of the new year. Climbing this mountain, learning branding, finding your ancestry roots, building a website, building eCourses, dreaming about building eCourses and my guess is plenty of other fun things too!
I loved what you shared here. Great mood boards. I am excited that you’re going to have the web skills to build your course!
Also loved your sudden realization that “This is getting real!!!!” Been there plenty of times too!!
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