This weeks video project was my Pop-Up Art Show video. What the heck is that you ask? Well, that’s what I had to figure out. I’ve been wanting to make a video showing off my art for some time now. It seemed like a natural thing to want to do. I’ve been making videos of me making art plus I make a comic book haul video every week so why not a video of some of the art I’ve made over the years? I’ve got a lot of it. Plus I already show off some of my art in still pictures on social media. Still pictures are easy though. I just take a photo of a piece and send it out on Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook. Video is less easy.

I’ve had some grand ideas about how to make the video that include narration and music. Last summer I learned to edit video on iMovie and made a few short videos with music so I know how to do it. It seemed like a good idea but editing video is a really time consuming task. That would be fine if I was being paid for the work but this is my own stuff. Plus the stuff I made fancy edits on gets no more views than my unedited video. I think it actually gets fewer views since the subject matter, a walk through Bryant Park and a comic book convention, are less interesting to people. So people don’t come to my YouTube channel for my editing skills.

I decided I wanted something simple. But simple isn’t always easy because there is a lot to making simple. At least a lot goes into thinking about what you want to take away in order to make something simple. Plus there is a lot of size variation in the works I was showing. How was I going to simplify that? I thought about shooting it like my “How I Did It” video where I put the small stuff on my desk and the large things on my easel. That worked well for that video since I had to show the two scales that I worked at to make a large drawing. It took a little editing but not much. It was really just sticking the pieces of video together. I almost did it that way but it seemed a bit boring. Plus I’d be off screen for a lot of it.

I make a couple of different types of comic book videos for YouTube. In most of them I point the camera at the comics and talk about them. In some of them I point the camera at me and talk about whatever comic book related subject I happen to be speaking on. I originally stated out with the off camera ones not because I’m camera shy but because I like the focus to be on the comics I’m showing. But in watching videos I noticed that I liked the ones with a person on camera when the video was about what the person thought. That’s why I stepped in front of the camera for the ones that were about my thoughts.

The question I had for myself was which one was my Pop-Up Art Show about? Was it about showing off the art or my thoughts? This was a tough choice but I eventually can around to the idea that it was about my thoughts. I came to that by thinking about what was the best way to show off my art on video. Turns out there is no best way on video. The best way to show off art is with a still picture and video is moving pictures. There was no way I wanted to make a video of still pictures. That’s as boring as it gets. So that lead me to the point that the video has to be about me and the art. I had to be there live and in person. That decision precluded me pointing the camera at my desk and the small pieces of art so I’d have to do it all at the easel.

I was also paralyzed a bit by what to show off. I have a lot of pieces of art going back twenty five years so what should I pick. I had thought about doing a theme or constructing a narrative around some of the pieces but that was when I was still thinking about doing some fancy editing. All the choices kept me from being able to make one. It was only when I decided to go with the simple visual approach of pointing the camera at the easel and me that I was able to make my choices. I kept those choices simple too. I went with what was close at hand. I abandoned any theme and picked a few pieces that I had done lately so they were still sitting around plus I pulled a couple of paintings off the studio wall. Keep it simple.

The camera distance from the easel was important too. Which size works would go on the easel and which ones would I hold up close to the camera? And how much room in the frame should I leave for me? There is no sense pointing the camera at myself if the viewer can’t see me. It took a few minutes to find the correct distance. Then I made sure I turned the power on to the microphone. I wasn’t going to make that mistake again and record a video with no sound. The rest came kind of easy. It was just me talking about the art I made. I don’t find that part hard at all. I was having a little bit of difficulty figuring out exactly how to hold something up for the camera though. At first I found myself peeking over the top of the piece as I held it up where I could see just my eyes on screen and I found that somewhat creepy. A piece of art with my eyes on top of it. I eventually figured it was better to fill the whole screen with whatever I was showing. I think it worked out okay. Give it a look.