When it comes to personal development, there are some things you work on where progress is slow. Day-to-day, it’s hard to notice any significant changes or improvements. It usually takes a sudden reality check to realize just how far you’ve come:
Fitting in that dress you haven’t worn since college after a slow weight loss journey.
Discovering you’re more fluent than you thought when a foreign tourist asks for directions.
I had one of those “aha!’ moments recently for one of my career exploration areas: video production.
Now, I’ve talked about video a lot on this blog. From getting a crash course on the medium to working on some film sets. And even the many times I’ve attempted (and failed) to put together my own videos.
A few months ago, I was finally successful in seeing a video production project through to the end when I put together some Hawaiian language lesson videos and launched my own YouTube channel, Ke Aloha no Hawai‘i. It felt great to have an actual finished product. And as of the date I’m posting this blog, I have successfully produced and published close to twenty videos for that channel!
Now, I’ve kept the videos relatively simple — that was the key to actually completing them. And in fact, over the weeks, I have simplified my videos more and more to make the process more efficient.
So, while it feels like an accomplishment just to get something done, it was hard to feel like my video production skills were improving in any significant way.
That was, until last week.
Last Wednesday, my son turned 9 ¾ months old. A while back, someone in my mom’s group on Facebook had posted a video of her baby doing a Harry Potter sorting ceremony when they turned 9 ¾ months old. The mom had gotten pajamas for each Hogwarts house and then filmed her baby crawling to one of the sets to choose their house.
Such a cute idea!
Of course, me being the overachiever that I am, I knew I wouldn’t be satisfied with just a simple home movie. I wanted close-up shots and b-roll. Titles cards and music.
So, using the skills I’ve learned along the way, I started with planning. In the weeks leading up to the day, I slowly obtained any props and set decor I needed. I also started brainstorming what shots I’d need.
The night before, I dressed the set — Harry Potter themed backdrop, Hogwarts banners and, of course, the house onesies. I also wrote out my shot list and made the Keynote presentation for my title cards. I did a brief storyboard in my head, so I knew exactly what I wanted to capture the next day.
The morning of filming, I started with all the b-roll footage, knowing that I’d have limited time to shoot Artie before he got impatient. I was even quick on my feet and captured unplanned shots, like when our black cat perfectly walked around the set.
Filming my son was the most difficult part, but that was to be expected, given he is a baby. And actually toward the end, he did great, and I was able to get shots in one take!
All in all, filming went smoothly and didn’t take that much time because with my shot list, I knew exactly what I wanted to capture and what order it made sense to film.
Then came editing. This was the part I thought would take quite a few hours, as I had over 30 clips plus the title cards to sort through. However, because I had already done a basic storyboard and have had some experience putting together different clips for my Hawaiian lesson videos, editing actually only took me less than an hour!
And I even gained a few new skills with this project. This was the first time I had adjusted the speed on parts of the video. And it was also the first time working with music for the entire video, adjusting the clips so that they lined up with key moments in the soundtrack.
In much less time than I anticipated, I had a video that was more polished, dynamic and complex than I thought I had the skills for. I pulled from my experience and learnings from that last two years and made a video I’m really proud of.
Check it out:
The moral of the story? I guess, sometimes you’ve come further than you realize. And maybe you just need to challenge yourself to do something you think pushes the limits of your skills, in order to really see how much you’ve achieved.