Plans, plans, plans! Yeah!

That post title was done to the tune of The Thompson Twins in case you were wondering.

(It was also done before my grandmother passed away and before my grief drove me to my easel. These particular plans I laid out are still on the drawing board, I just had an artist’s detour to deal with the unexpected pain of my grandmother’s death. Back to the original post.)

I am finally, FINALLY starting to feel better. (Technically, I am fully recovered now, but the healing part seems to be taking a little bit longer.) I tried to do a load of laundry- and got winded- so I have to find other ways to revel in my newfound almost health. Therefore, I have decided… to make plans.

I love making plans. When my executive dysfunction was at its worst, that was literally all I did, plans and pinterest. So, yes, planning is not usually the healthiest of progress, but it’s still a lot of fun.

My latest dream is two-fold- no- maybe three-fold. Actually probably four? ANYWAY, let me get to it.

With all the ASMR and youtube I have been consuming during my illness, I would love to get into some form of ASMR and Autism Vlogging. It encompasses so many of my loves- photography, film, lighting, art, ASMR, advocating, writing, and performing. It seems like a goldmine of fulfillment.

Which means that I am now in the best part of planning- RESEARCH! I love RESEARCH! It’s like hyperfocus-ADHD-candy- without the unnecessary sugar!

SO- if anyone out there, dear readers, has wanted to get into vlogging or making a youtube channel, I am doing some of the research for you.

First of all, what do I know about photography?

A little bit?

Okay, so my father was originally a photographer. Backstory- He went from photography to technology in the late eighties, early nineties. We were super cool when it came to tech stuff. We had those early cell phones that were the size of a brick and probably gave us some unnecessary radiation. We also had Duke Nukem before anyone else.

Anyway, my father has been giving our whole family photography lessons on and off since he met my mother as her TA in a college photography class. There is an awesome photo of her in hot-pants and boots squatting by her locker outside of the darkroom, but my mother would probably not approve of that on the internet. Here’s a more classy shot of her taking some photos in Houston, where they met.

My mother risking her nylons for a good shot in Texas, late 60’s or 70’s (above) and my sister with another of my father’s cameras, twenty-odd years later in the midwest, early 2000’s (below.)
Sidenote, I can’t help but love that they are both so low-key fashionable that their eras are immediately recognizable, without being a stereotype, know what I mean?

Because of these lessons, I’d say we’ve all got the photographer’s eye. Which has worked out very well in the age of cell phone cameras. Here’s one of my favorites that I have taken in the last few years:

Dad would probably tell me I should have gone landscape to get the entirety of the plane but I was walking with my two year old son at an air show, by myself. So uh, I took the shot and then ran after him. Priorities, people.

Anyway, this is all to tell you that I definitely have experience behind a lens. I love photography. It gives me a lot of creative drive. There’s something about spotting that natural composition of a live shot, or setting up a still shot, with just the right lighting. It gives me just as much joy as painting does. (Technically, Vermeer used some of the first “cameras” to set up his paintings. FYI.) In fact, I remember a digital photography book my father bought me, when digital was still brand new, called Painting with Light. That always stuck with me, that idea.

As for my own equipment, I used to have a lovely Canon 35 mm film camera, but it was lost in my college years. Lost or perhaps borrowed and never returned? I have a lot of memory loss with my ADHD, so, somethings I remember with perfect clarity and others are lost, just like that camera. I do remember the soft leather camera case that used to be my father’s, I can still smell that. (Sensory experience actually has a lot to do with the clarity of a memory. I can’t recall certain lessons from school, but I remember what the desk felt like under my fingers.) The leather bag was lost too, but possibly in the house fire? (That’s another story for another day.)

Which means that I am in the market for a camera…

Now I’ve done a lot of research on cameras, and boy have they changed since my 35 mm days. BUT, in my research I have found that a lot of experts agree that a camera might not be necessary anymore to shoot videos for the internet.

They suggest using your smartphone.

This make sense to me on a lot of levels. It’s something that is readily available. There are a lot of accessories that you can buy to make it more effective as a camera. Here’s a video from one of my favorite tech media youtube channels, Think Media, on using your smartphone to record your youtube videos.

It seems legit and very possible to me. BUT I have one really big problem with this, well, two problems with this. Here’s the easy one to explain. I use my smartphone for EVERYTHING. Taking snapshots of my son, listening to audiobooks, listening to music, watching ASMR, internet shopping, instagram, GPS. If there is a thing you can do with a smartphone, I do it. (Except for maybe those silly apps that like turn it into a virtual beer? What is that about? Totally wasting digital space if you ask me. The equivalent of one of those mounted bass fish that sing reggae when you press a button. No one needs that.) So, I would like something separate for this kind of pursuit.

Second, the camera on a smartphone is just not good enough for me when it comes to making art. Yes, I do love that shot of my son that I took with my phone, but that is art on the fly. It’s not a shot that I busted out studio lighting and color gel packs for (That right there shows you that I am a little old school, with LEDs I don’t know that people use gels to change the color of lights anymore? Whatever, I do. I’m not old. Shut up.) Perhaps there might be some post shot editing tricks to making a cellphone camera look like a traditional camera but it’s not the same.

Uhg. I sound snooty. Look, this is about fulfillment. It’s not about maximizing profit or hacking a project to do it as cheaply as possible (although my husband would love that. He’s very, very Scottish in his expenses.) This is about artistic fulfillment, which means creative control in every aspect, especially when it comes to what I am focusing on. Which means, a legit lens… Again, that sounded snooty… Either way, let’s just say that while I find shooting a vlog channel with a smartphone, budget friendly and very smart, I am just not that smart. You are probably smarter than me.

For those of you that are dumb, like me, you probably want to know what kind of camera I am interested in. WELL. I think I have it narrowed down to my favorite option. She’s not cheap. She’s a lady of a camera. But I think I’m in love… May I introduce.. Dame Canon EOS M50.

Okay, I added the royal title. Don’t search for it with “Dame”.
Here’s an easy product link to amazon, our convenient internet shopping overlord.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are better cameras out there than my new love, but I think she offers what I need. She has a younger prettier sister out now, the M6 Mark II. And sure, the 4k has cropping issues and the HD is only 24P instead of 60P, but I still think that’s a lot of “P”, right? …

It sounded like I knew what I was talking about right up until that moment, didn’t it?! Ha! Fooled you! I learned on a 35 mm film camera, guys. I know how to use a DARKROOM. You know, from the DARK AGES of photography?

Seriously, I actually do understand the lingo pretty well. I’m still learning, which is not a bad thing.

Anyway, the shape and concept of this camera is very familiar to me (yay, canon!) while still having the video technology and precision of a mirrorless camera. That’s why I love her.

I don’t know if my husband is going to want to shell out the $500 for that precision, but he’s pretty supportive. So… I think we’ll get it. After he makes several pained faces, of course. And then reminds me of the huge exercise bike that he bought me when we lived in our small apartment and I never used because it hurt my knees. Then I will remind him of the many gaming systems collecting dust because of his own fickle ADHD. Then he’ll point to the very fancy rowing machine, and I will remind him that was a free hand-me-down from my father, and technically it was for John. AND THEN, he’ll go out to the garage and point to the unused electric leaf mulcher and push mower that I bought when I was in an eco-friendly landscaping phase and I will say… toucheˊ.

Honestly, part of the planning phase is about making sure that this is a special interest with the legs to stick. ADHD and autism together, often cause a round table of special interests that constantly revolve in your mind. Some come back around, others don’t. My vegetable gardening phase? Nope. That one is lost. I might put some plants in a pot, but that’s it. Antiquing? Eh, I love a good shopping trip but I don’t have the patience to move, store, and rehab furniture. It gets mentally exhausting, very quickly. College? That was the most expensive phase yet.

But painting? Writing? Theatre? Production design? Those stuck. Some I was able to monetize, some not as much. But those are the special interests that turned into careers.

Important sidenote, for anyone neurodiverse like me that is looking to turn a special interest, or “obsession”, into a career. Yes, I would say these were, and still are, career level pursuits, BUT because of some of my social emotional and executive functioning issues, I really lack that skills to be “monetarily successful” at these. To paraphrase my hero, Hannah Gadsby, I can’t network. I continue to work on these shortcomings everyday. And I know that for some aspects I will need to reach out to professionals to help, like marketing and networking.

So, while it’s taken years to build these concurrent careers, and I have not given up on them, it’s been quite the journey to monetary success, and I am very grateful for the patrons that I have had along the way (mostly, my husband, and my mother.) And the day jobs.

Back to the plans. Obviously, a camera is important but it’s only the visual, in audio visual… meaning I need a microphone.

I have almost no experience when it comes to audio recording and microphones, with the exception to the theatre courses I recorded on free editing software, with a microphone that my husband got second hand from my father-in-law who used to have a music store. (He actually does know what he’s doing, so it’s good to have knowledge in the family.)

Right now, since I do have ASMR aspirations, I plan to get a variety of microphones and test them out myself, because I am picky when it comes to audio (remember, I have misophonia.)

To start, I think am gonna get a Rode Shotgun Microphone with a, horribly named, “dead cat” fluffy windscreen. So far, I’ve noticed that my favorite ASMR videos are either a Rode microphone or a Yeti with the fluffy sock puppet on top (dead cat windscreen.) When I really get into recording I will probably ask my husband for the Yeti for Christmas (or my birthday? Or Arbor day? Some kind of holiday? That way we won’t have to visit the garage to point out the push mower again.) I’m also considering a very simple lavalier microphone, that’s the one that clips to your shirt. I’ve seen some interesting ASMR done with microphones attached to the sleeves. It was a cool concept worth getting into.

And lastly, I’m gonna have to get some more lighting. Honestly though, while lighting is legit one of the most important things in photography, it’s probably the place I will be able to hack the most budget wise, because of my background in theater and my own home task lighting.

I am very picky about lighting in my home. One, because of my photophobia, two, my theatre experience, and three, because it makes me happy. I’m also a big believer in using found lighting, like a big picture window, bounced off a white wall or through an open door to give you a more localized look. And that’s not just for film, that’s for our everyday lives.

So almost every room in my home is equipped with a fill light, a task light, and specialty lights. And many of them utilize color changing bulbs. They are not the highest tech led bulbs, they all have separate remotes- they aren’t connected to my home system or anything cool like that, but they do change color and brightness. All because I am sensitive cat of a woman.

(Funny note on the lighting in my home, I used to have beautiful lamps. Then my son learned to walk. He has destroyed so many ceramic and glass lamps, it’s not even funny. Once I lost my temper and yelled, “Why?” He yelled back in exactly the same tone, as if saying “Why not?!” He had a point. So I replaced all my beautiful lamps with either wall mounts or modern plastic/metal lamps. Which I am loving in a different way, not less.)

Anyway, in the end I will probably want to get a few softboxes, Which is basically a very fancy version of a paper lantern (you could probably get away with a very bright bulb in a paper lantern, if you’re going the budget ikea route.) I will also be getting a few bounces, which is a large silk that light bounces off (you can use a wall or a large piece of white poster board as well, nothing wrong with budget.) A diffuser is good if don’t want to go the softbox route, and you can technically make a good diffuser out of a shower curtain.

Which is something I saw on youtube! One of the best sources for research. And that ham handed segue was to get you to the links I have been using in my research. I also suggest swinging by my HollyLovesJohn Pinterest page– it’s got alot of other links, including some great style pics and mental health tips.

Check it out! And Check out some of my favorite youtube videos on gear and lighting:

CHEAP Smartphone accessories video from Think Media

YouTube Studio Setup video from Think Media

Best Camera and Equipment for beginners also from Think Media

Okay, maybe you should just check out all of Think Media

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