YouTube and Me

A new plan for making short videos.

In an effort to be more productive and stop skulking around the house I’ve decided to start making short films and upload them on YouTube. As a result I will be posting here about that process and linking the videos. What. A. Treat.

This past week the company Moment uploaded a review of the new Sony A1 camera. The review was made by the filmmaker Joshua Martin . He’s made a number of videos for Moment this past year and I’ve enjoyed his laid-back style. He started this review with a cinematic short film to demonstrate what the A1 is capable of. I enjoyed that greatly as most reviews are just a person sitting and talking at the camera.

I enjoyed the short so much that I stopped the video when that ended and found myself thinking about how I would like to make a similar video and the proceeded to daydream about what I would do for quite some time. The following day I had time to myself so I went out and shot two hours worth of footage and make my own version.

Once I had everything ingested into my computer I went through the footage and saw all the mistakes I had made. I shot near noon, which is never a good idea, but it was a sunny day. For portions of the video I was shooting handheld and moving the camera in front of my face and body. Shadows of the camera and mic kept playing on my face and chest, ruining the shots. There were a number of other mistakes I had made, forgotten shots, things being out of focus and it became obvious that I would have to reshoot most of the footage.

I spent the night brooding on this and thinking of how to improve the story I was telling while also adding new elements and not making mistakes. A number of firsts came out of this process, like making a shot list and mounting my gimbal onto a tripod for shots in my car and I am pleased with the results.

Did I get it all right? Not even close. I still forgot shots, misunderstood the placement of my camera and shot at a terrible time of day in unflattering light. As tempted as I was to redo everything again I didn’t, I worked with the footage and came up with what I think is a decent video. It’s not perfect but it’s done.

So this is part of my new plan, I hope to write more here that isn’t just about cameras or plugging my videos – in addition to making videos on a regular basis for YouTube. There is more certainly a stigma attached to doing such things and interestingly I am finding freedom in this particular act of self-publishing. There is an audience, not cost to the creator and absolute unchecked creativity in what is possible. It’s kind of amazing.

Please take a look and let me know what you think.



To grow up in New England is to have an intimate knowledge of snow and ice and all the other joys of winter. The discovery in early childhood that snow created more than soft slopes and sticky snowballs is a profound one. It signals one of the many subtle changes in a life where the balance between play and work, the blessing of snow and the necessity of cleared sidewalks, becomes apparent.

The families I knew and considered to be lucky owned snowblowers small enough to tackle these sidewalks and paths in addition to the driveways. Which is not to say that my own family was unlucky or that my back bent often to the snow. No, my father is a meticulous groundskeeper and always, whether by shovel or plow or snowblower attachment (for his lawntractor is thing to behold) he was the first and last line of defense against winter weather.

As a child and even as a young adult my concept of winter and the problems posed by snow centered on the home. Rarely did my mind perceive the larger battle that was waged with each storm; the battle between road crews and highways, between town employees and public sidewalks.

My mind drifts to these matters now in the wake of what residents of the District of Columbia surely consider a whopper of a snow storm, some three inches of snow topped off by a night of freezing rain. Although I have weathered several winters here before, this year has presented the city with the closest approximation to winter-like weather. This present storm in particular (which occurred now six days ago) brings into relief a few of the strange differences between winter in New England and in our nation’s capital.

The first and foremost difference is that sidewalks are of no concern to the city. Each day I have waited to see the small motorized vehicles that I remeber so well patrolling the streets of Burlington and each day I see only the snow, now made rock-solid by the sheet of ice the sun’s weak rays have created, all making the sidewalks as treacherous as any I have ever encountered. Apparently the sidewalks here are left to fend for themselves.

The roads are similar to the sidewalks but have one particular advantage, the traffic on them is considerably greater and the weight of the vehicles is enough to part the initial snow and create narrow tire-paths that burrow down the pavement.

So many of my writings are concerned with this city and how it deals with matters that effect the everyday life of its citizens. I am drawn to this topic again and again because I cannot fathom the reasoning behind so many of the actions, or more often, the lack of action the city takes. It is not that I am oblivious to matters like budgets and persons employed in various facilities to handle the situations that come about. Undoubtedly the city owns few plow trucks, purchases little salt for the roads and perhaps is without those little sidewalk cleaners. What is most likely is they purchase what they need to keep the downtown area manageable and the rest of the city is left to fend for itself. Meanwhile those who live in the city and have considerable sums of money at their disposal employ groundskeepers and services with companies that plow their driveways and venture onto their roofs if snow needs to be removed.

So while I look out my window and wonder why my sidewalk is the way it is part of me knows it is because I rent my apartment and that I live in part of a neighborhood where the families and other renters have no money for private cleaners. At these times I try not to think about the taxes my wife and I pay to this city each year, or the number of parking enforcement officials on the streets (the ratio may be one parking enforcement officer per 100 cars, this is merely my estimate though) and I am, as usual, baffled by the city.

The problem, I know, is that I am new to city life and I do not want to accept such things. In my heart I remain a small town person who likes walking past strangers and saying “Hello.” I like secondary roads and small gas stations that are near nothing in particular, and I like driving on dirt roads. So I can see that the problem here isn’t really the city and I apologize for ranting about it. When I write about these things I try not to approach them from a place of anger but more from a place of invested curiosity. In the hope that maybe, just maybe, I can get you to notice these things too. If only for a moment.