Friday, 24 January 2014

How not to film videos

So many people have said such nice things about the YouTube video I posted on my blog, yesterday, that I really thought it was only fair to own up and tell you what a total fiasco the whole thing really was behind the scenes. 

We first did a video blog a couple of weeks ago, intended to accompany the blogpost I did about Christmas. However, if you're writing about Christmas, it's generally a fairly good idea to keep it vaguely contemporary, it somehow doesn't have the same impact several months later in late summer now, does it? 

The blogpost had been written and ready to go for days, and we were edging rapidly towards New Year, and the YouTube video was turning into a nightmare. WM, who I haven't referred to in months, is my lovely, loyal, tolerant, endlessly-patient, will-put-up-with-me-at-my-absolute-worst other half, the person who has carried me through the whole cancer nightmare, and even though he isn't their Dad, loves my kids virtually every bit as much as I do. 

Well, WM (who is too shy to be named on the blog, but was enormously and hilariously embarrassed to be nicknamed WM, which stands for Wonderful Man, and the name was soon adopted by everyone who knows him) wanted to use his ipad. I wanted to use my Samsung Galaxy phone. He won. 

Yeah, OK, so the quality looked great, but I didn't know how the get the blasted video out of his ipad, onto my Windows 8 laptop, and uploaded to YouTube. 

Why do these simple things take days of head-banging frustration while you almost lose the will to live? Days upon days upon days of techno-hopeless me trying to make it happen, while WM and everyone else who stopped by in my hours of need couldn't resist lecturing me on the relative benefits of Apple versus Microsoft, and how, if this book ever earns me a crust of two, I must go out and buy myself a MacBook immediately. They just missed the whole fat salient point which is, had I got my own way and WM had used the Galaxy phone in the first place, none of this would have happened. 

Eventually, several nervous breakdowns later,  I managed to do it, but it certainly wasn't with good grace, and it was well after I'd given up and gone ahead and posted the Christmas video anyway, determined to get it out there before bikini weather took over. 

So, yesterday, the new blog was written, and I decided to try a video again, only this time I stamped my foot and threw a hissy fit and absolutely insisted on filming with my phone. 

There we were, 10am yesterday morning, in my dining room, actually doing it. Word perfect, with the smiles in the right places, and 35 seconds in, WM decides that he needs a tripod to balance his wrist on because my phone was heavy. (Funny how he didn't need one for the ipad which is about 10 times heavier? Hey ho). 

So he gets a dining chair, turns it to face him, balances a coffee table on top, finds another chair to sit on, and we start all over again. it was happy Word perfectly smiley. 

We get to halfway through. 

Oh dear, he says, it's not high enough. The top of my head isn't in camera. Now, all my friends and family know that I've got cancer, I didn't think it was fair on them to have them worried in case I'd had a recent lobotomy too without letting them know, so we stopped and rebuilt the tripod. 

Essentially the same structure, but with the addition of an Argos catalogue, and both A4 hardback diaries from 2013 as well as the 2014 new one, and we started again. Take 3 and I fluffed my lines. Take 4 and the telephone rings halfway through. Take 5 Francesca and Adam started yelling to each other from the top and bottom of the stairs, and take 6, word perfect it might have been but I didn't just forget to smile, WM reckoned I looked like I might kill somebody all the way through the video. 

It's two hours later by now. I'm close to spitting blood, really narked off and snappy.  He thinks I need to chill and relax, so he made me a calming cup of tea and we stopped and had a 20 minute break. He did what he always manages to do when I'm determined to be grumpy, he made me laugh, and the world seemed all lovely all over again. 

Take 7. Perfect. Fabulous. Smiley. Wonderful. Until two seconds before the end and the doorbell rings. It's a lovely friend of ours, Francesca opened the door and the friend and Francesca came straight into the dining room just as I was about to say something along the lines of Goodbye and Thank You. 

The friend stayed for nearly two hours, and to make room for her the tripod was dismantled so she could be offered a chair. 

By the time Take 8 happened, I'd completely forgotten what I was supposed to say, so it was complete and utter rubbish, with a load of umms and errs all the way through too. 

Take 9 I looked like I wanted to cry, apparently, and take 10 was almost perfect, except that the crumpled up filthy-looking bit of kitchen-roll that I'd used to blow my nose so I didn't actually cry in Take 9 was there, right in front of me on the dining table, hogging Centre Stage. 

Take 11 was great, but I was looking at WM instead of the back of my mobile phone,and the one that's on YouTube is actually Take 12, achieved nearly six hours later, and is probably so awful that I'll never be able to bring myself to watch it. I did watch the first nano-second and saw that hideously cheesy grim grin of mine at the start, and that was far too much to cope with. However, I simply couldn't do an unlucky number 13, it was never going to happen, so I decided to go with the cheesy grin one and weather the consequences. 

How do film-stars cope?

Strangely, everyone is being lovely about it. I even got called "glamorous" on Twitter earlier, which just about made my evening, even though I know the poor deluded so-and-so probably just needs a very good optician. 

Anyway, just for posterity and to give you another laugh, here's the original Christmas video, filmed on the lovely jubbly ipad. 

If you haven't seen the cheesy grin one shot on the Heath Robinson tripod already, here is the link to it too. 

And now, just to prove that boys will be boys, here's the famous tripod, complete with WM hiding shyly behind it, taking a picture of me taking a picture of him. 

If you’d like to buy a copy of Yvonne Newbold's book,  “The Special Parent’s Handbook”,  here’s the link to the Amazon Page:

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  1. OMG I laughed till I cried. Lovely pic of WM. XXXX

    1. I hope you liked the picture of WM at the bottom too! Shame he wasn't wearing his T-shirt. Thanks Debbie and if you'd been here I'd probably have seen the funny side much much sooner! xx