So as you may have noticed from my Saturday “Comics I Bought This Week” posts I started making some videos and posting them to my YouTube channel. They fall into two categories so far. The “Comic Book Haul” category and the “Me Drawing” category. I’ve been wanting to get started working in video for years but haven’t because I had no idea where I wanted to start. It was the “Comic Book Haul” videos that finally got me going.

I discovered “Comic Book Haul” videos on YouTube earlier this year. All they are is videos of people showing you what comic books that they bought lately. You get a little bit of info with each comic shown. Either why it is a key issue to get if the book is an older one or what the comic is about and why you like it if it’s a newer comic. There are also generally two styles of shooting these videos. One where you sees the person and he or she holds up the comic or one where the camera in on a tripod and pointed at the comic and not the person.

I decided to go with the one where the camera is pointed at the comics. I like to see the comic book covers in these videos and that way gives me the best look at them so I figured that was my best way to show them off. My videos are also about current comics. I don’t buy back issues very much. I’ve been buying new comics since the 1970s so if I want something I probably bought it off the stands when it originally came out. Or else I get it in a hard cover collection.

It’s pretty easy to make a “Comic Book Haul” video. I decided to shot it with my iPad and edit it in iMovie to make things easy for myself. I did buy an iPad tripod adaptor so that I can mount my iPad on my tripod and avoid hand holding the thing. I don’t do my videos in one long take as some do but it ends up being about the same thing. I stop and start the iPad after each comic in case I get interrupted or have no idea what to say. With the first few videos I really was having a hard time with what to say. I’m usually a good talker and don’t have a fear of public speaking but it’s weird to talk to no one but a camera. That takes some getting used to. I talk for about a minute each comic and end up with ten or so minutes of video. I open iMovie on the iPad, stick the videos together (it’s easy), and upload the final video to YouTube right from the iPad. It’s amazing how simple it is.

The next type of vide that I’ve been making is videos of me drawing. Once again it’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a while but couldn’t figure out how to. Most of my drawings take hours and hours to make and that’s really boring to watch. Plus it’s not easy to shoot. It’s tough to place the camera someplace where it can get a nice shot but is out of the way and doesn’t interfere with the drawing. Just shooting the “Comic Book Haul” videos got me started thinking about it though and coming up with something I could actually do.

A lot of my drawing starts with a Surrealist automatic drawing method. That’s where you clear your mind of any preconceived notion of what you want to draw and just start drawing. It takes some practice. I figured it was this part of my drawing that I could make a video of. After a little thought and trial and error I ended up using one of my small table top tripods to set my small pocket camera on. It ended up being right under my chin but I still could draw a bit with it there. I pulled out a five by seven inch piece of paper and framed it in the camera’s LCD. Then I turned the camera on, grabbed a marker, and started drawing.

The first drawing I made I tried to keep under six minutes. It was the first number that came to my head. It ended up being tough to do and came in at over seven minutes. After that I decided to make a ten minute time limit and that seems to be a better time. I think they all clocked in at under ten minutes. I found it a little tough to draw under such time pressure but I got used to it. They key is to get started and keep going. That might be the key to a lot of things in life.

The next thing I tried to to was tell a story as I was drawing. Since I was making a spontaneous drawing I thought I’d tell a spontaneous story too. Seemed like a fun idea. Boy was it a weird thing to try and pull off. First of all the story had nothing to do with what I was drawing. They were two separate things. I had to balance the part of my brain that was making up a drawing with the part of my brain that was making up a story. Or maybe I had to juggle them. Either way it was like nothing I had ever done before. It was fun but took a lot of concentration.

This whole video making thing has even made me pull out Garage Band. I wanted to make a video of me drawing a large drawing to music and I also wanted to make the music. I’m not a musician but I’m good with patterns so I can put loops together in Garage Band into a decent soundtrack. It’s not great music and, like everything, takes longer than you think it will but in the end I thought it was a song I could use. I’m happy with that.

I’ve only skimmed the surface so far with this video stuff but it’s cool to actually get something started. Stay tuned.