Behind the Scenes of a Post

Working from home has its advantages and disadvantages.

If I so choose, at any given moment, I can do the chicken dance backwards from my front door all the way into my kitchen while wearing a squirrel on my head.  In an actual office that might be frowned upon.  Mainly because everyone would want to join in, and then where would productivity be?

Conversely, while *I* know that I’m working while I’m at home, not everyone else does.  No I can’t go out for lunch with you.  No I can’t go to Costco with you.  No I’m not screwing around doing the chicken dance backwards … I’m working.  (although sometimes I am doing the chicken dance)

The point is, when people know you’re working from home they think you can leave whenever you want to do whatever you want.  And if the work you’re doing from home is blogging?  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  Don’t be ridiculous.  Come on out to lunch!  You can do that stuff later.

It’s hard to explain to explain to people how much time it takes to create a single blog post (and I plan to do a post on exactly that later), but to give you a very small idea of the sorts of things that can happen, and the barriers we have to overcome I thought I’d give you a little behind the scenes look from one of last week’s posts.

How to Braid Onions (or garlic).

How to braid onions or garlic is pretty easy.  If you can braid you can do it.  It only took me about 2 minutes to braid my batch of onions.  But to write a post so that you could understand how to do it?  That took a bit longer.

You can have a quick look at the post here to refresh your memory.

The first thing I had to do was find a spot outside that had shade so I could take some photos for the tutorial.  Full sun is bad.  BAD BAD BAD.  It’s ugly.  My front porch seemed to be the best place to shoot, so the creation of my post began with moving all the porch furniture away so I had room to work.

Taking photos is never comfortable.  I’m usually standing on a chair, trying to get a shot while balancing a big sheet of styrofoam for bouncing additional lighting onto whatever I’m taking a picture of or scrunched down like a ball on the ground with bits of dirt stuck to my cheek for most of the day.  Today it was scrunching.

Once all my shots were done it was into the house to upload all the pictures to my computer.  Once they were uploaded I then had to go through them all to pick out the best shots.  Once the best shots were picked out,  I had to move them into Photoshop where each pictures had to be edited.

Some pictures are pretty good exactly as they came out of your camera, but a lot of times a little fiddling goes a long way to making them better.  Enhancing the colours, or desaturating them, brightening this or that … all has to be done to every photo.  With the How to Braid Onions post I had 12 photos to edit, which is fairly typical.

After the regular editing in Photoshop, I went back in and added text to all of the pictures to help make the step by step tutorial easier for you to understand.  Normally photo editing can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, but usually it’s somewhere in between.
 

Photoshop
 

Then there’s the business of video.  I figured if pictures are good, video is an even better teaching too.  When I shoot videos I either use a couple of Flip cameras running at the same time from different angles but more and more I’ve been using  my iPhone for video.  I prefer the sound quality from the Flips, but the iPhone has great quality and has the ability to focus on any given point in the scene, where the Flip does not.

 

So after I shot all my pictures I thought … I might as well make a video.  Kind of an afterthought.  Well, how exactly to shoot this video?  I wanted you to be able to see the braiding from my perspective  (which if you were braiding would be your perspective).  I didn’t want the angle from the side, or with me facing the camera … I wanted you to see the braid exactly as I was seeing the braid.  But I couldn’t put the camera behind me because … my ass would block the shot.  Admittedly it’s a relatively  small ass, but it’s still a pretty good camera blocker.

 

I toyed with the idea of attaching it to my head, but my head was going to move around too much making most viewers feel queasy.  Like when you watched The Blair Witch Project.  Or any 3D movie from anything other than the back row.

 

This was turning into a thing.  But I tried not to swear, give anyone the finger or cry.  I conducted myself like a lady.  Who sometimes does the chicken dance backwards.

 

My shot, I decided, needed to be an overhead shot.  In television we’d use what’s called  a Jib for this.   A big, huge, crane like apparatus that the camera is mounted on.

 

I didn’t have a jib handy on this particular day.  But I did have string and twine.

 

So I ended up making an iPhone sling.

 
Iphone Hammock

 

To suspend it, I screwed a cup screw into the ceiling of my porch.  But it was swingy.
 

Hanging Iphone

 

So I had to stabilize the camera by running lengths of string to a planter and my front porch light.

 
Wide Shot Iphone

 

Bingo.  It was just enough to keep the camera stable.  Then after all my hard work I went inside for a snack.  Olives.
 

Iphone Wide

 

Back outside I brought my pictures up on my computer so I could refer to how my photos looked originally and how my onions were laid out so there would be continuity between the photos and the video.

Then I got down to business, pressed record and shot the video in one take.

Iphone Mess

 

Once the photos and video were done, the front porch was a tiny bit of a wreck that needed to be cleaned up.  I should include more shots of the disaster of my house on any given day while doing posts.  It’s quite a sight.

Clean Up

 

Then comes the business of editing the video which can take an long time.  A really long time.  On average it takes several hours to create just 2 minutes of video, whether you’re talking about a blog, a movie or a tv show.  So yeah … there was that to do.

Imovie

 

Once all of this is done I felt pretty good about myself and what I accomplished.  High fives for me.

Then I realized I still had to write the post.

And that, is what goes into creating a post.  Many hours, many screw ups, many solutions.  All done with with poise, elegance and a squirrel on my head.

 


52 Comments

  1. Liz says:

    But totally worth it?

    I certainly enjoy it 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Totally worth it. Love what I do. It’s just hard to convince people that baking chocolate chip cookies and shooting videos of a chicken’s bum is a job. 🙂 ~ karen

  2. Kate says:

    This makes me feel so much better about the messes I make photographing for my own blog! I thought it just somehow magically happened for people like you 🙂

  3. Wayne says:

    We totally know how this goes. We live in small “community living” condo village so we’re in close quarters with all the neighbors and yes, not one of them thinks we’re “doing anything” because we’re home all day. When we run into them while walking the dog they just talk and talk and talk.

    As for your iPhone camera rig….that’s actually pretty genius. Glad you didn’t shoot the video in “Portrait” mode like some “novices” might 😉

    Great post.

    Wayne

  4. Louise says:

    This is brilliant! I am so going to use your iPhone swing thing! All my friends and family think I waft around all day in my dressing gown watching tv and lounging on the sofa! It drives me MAD! I do find it hard not to do those things sometimes though, motivation can slip when you are on you own all day..and i waste time doing housework, washing, cooking etc. I constantly point out to my fella that he has the luxury of a desk…in an office, with large filing cabinets…and a door he can close at night. And a journey home to use as switching off time. I am surrounded by my work 24/7…. But work for someone else? No thanks!

  5. Gayla T says:

    Those reverse conga lines were always very popular in my office. That’s just one of the things I miss about being retired: no one to dance with unless you think dancing with grandkids counts. NOT! I apprecite all the work you do to keep us entertained and off the streets. It keeps me out of trouble having something to watch every day. Well, out of really bad trouble, anyway.

  6. I have actually thought about how long it must take you to make a post, but wowsa, never thought of the video! Your neighbours must think you’re crazy, if they’re passing by when this stuff is going on!
    I think it’s like anything, Karen, people never know how much goes on behind the scenes until they’re doing it.
    Oh, and reading and replying to comments must take ages too.
    You need to get yourself a fancy title!

  7. Brenda says:

    Ha Karen..I can totally relate to this post on so many levels.
    the iphone hammock is hysterical WTG !!
    signed,
    The little crafter who is so ‘lucky’ to be able to stay at home and do whatever she likes.

  8. I simply did not know how time intensive blog writing was. It is fascinating? Let’s discuss if further over lunch. You have time, right?

  9. Susan says:

    Try baking 25 pies, order more supplies, deal with employees that want to go home cause they have a hangnail, make sure all cleanliness is up to par, deal with your kids calling wanting to know if you can babysit cause you own your own business and can leave anytime right! And talk to all the customers who want to shoot the shit cause that’s your job right? I LOVE My job, my customers, my employees, and of course my kids but jeesh! I have to get done or I won’t get home till midnight! I hear your pain!! 😉

  10. Debbie from Illinois says:

    I appreciate all the work you put into your blog. Your blog is the first thing I read every morning.

  11. marilyn says:

    you crack me up..

  12. Val says:

    Hey Karen! I totally agree that preparing a blog post takes a lot of time! I can spend hours prepping photographs for posts, then when you are done with all of that, you still need to write the post. It is a lot of work, but as I am sure you will agree, it’s all worth it! I love blogging and truly love your posts! I loved how you suspended your phone for the video – awesome job, not to mention very creative! YOU are the “Guru of All Things Creative”!

  13. mia says:

    Love this post, you’ve described my life as an author-blogger. Very ingenious suspension of the camera, I’ll have to try that, right after my neighbor, who knows I’m a blogger, picks up the dog he left me to babysit because he knows I don’t work.

    The biggest problem I have making video here in this little village is the background noise – two thousand birds are rehearsing for American Idol at the crack of dawn, then the roosters kick in which, of course, gets all the dogs for 3 miles around going and then, as peaces settles around 2:00 in the afternoon, the lazy donkeys throw in a few brays and voila – golden silence by 3:00. Of course, that is, unless someone nearby has a radio in their car they can blast down the cobblestones on their way to the lake. And of course, if it doesn’t rain, which sounds in my casita like I’m living in a cave under a waterfall. So lately I’ve been sticking with my little flip camera and iphoto. Silence is golden.

  14. And in case you didn’t know Karen we are so grateful for all the time you take to show us how to do those things….thus your big following! You should do a post on how to better use photoshop,that would be cool!
    http://www.dawnajonesdesign.com/

  15. Rhonda "SmartyPants" says:

    THANK YOU for sharing “A Day In the Life”. It is fascinating to see all that went into this post; however, I am sure some are even more time consuming and filled with you finding ‘on the spot’ solutions to problems you could not foresee. Kudos to you on this post because it appears you got through it ‘injury free’! I know ou have a loyal and loving fan-base of supporters made up of fellow bloggers and many like me who follow you like the Pied Piper. One of my favorite posts was you passed out in bed — now I have an inkling it probably took you quite a lot of time and effort to post. Keep up the good work, Miss Karen.

  16. Auntiepatch says:

    You are my hero…….

  17. Jake says:

    Why do you braid onions, not that it ins’t interesting or anything, and where’s the squirrel.

  18. T says:

    I feel your pain, Karen. I homeschool our son as well as being the “cleaning lady” for the 108 unit three building apartment complex where I live. Folks just don’t get that I have 4 actual jobs. Teaching takes 6-8 hours a day, cleaning buildings and vacants eats up another 3-4, checking in and helping some of the elderly renters accounts for another hour every day and when that is all done, I get to do everything else that needs doing in my own home. Sew an elaborate Halloween costume for you? Sure. Walk your dog 4 times a day for a week because you are on vacation? OK. Teach you how to make soap? Fine. Karen, what I really need is a blog post on how to grow some cajones and tell people to suck it! *snort*

  19. And that’s just the daily post! Writing is what takes me the longest. I’m a sloooow writer.

  20. Mary Kay says:

    Sounds like something I would love to do. Too bad I need to keep my day job at least for now…

    Thanks for posting – Love reading what you are up to every day!!

  21. Veronica says:

    Wow, Karen! Thanks SO much for all you do!

  22. Donna T says:

    Great job on your blog Karen, and yes, it’s the first thing I read in the morning too so I can get my day off to a good start with a smile on my face! My hubby and I just returned from our first retirement adventure, a driving trip across the USA (from Oregon to Virginia) dragging a camp trailer for 3 months. A friend suggested I “blog” the trip. OK… good idea! That way we wouldn’t have to send emails to each and every friend and relative who wanted “updates” daily!

    I had never “blogged” before, so it took awhile (hours! days!) to figure it out. Then sometimes hours to get the photos edited and uploaded, AND then write about the “adventure of the day”. Needless to say I was sometimes up after midnight pecking away on the blog while hubby snored away in our little camp trailer bed…then up at 5:00 a.m. to travel onward!

    It was a very simple blog … nothing nearly as detailed as YOURS, and of course I wasn’t trying to make a living at it, it was “just for fun”… hahaha! Sometimes it was fun… sometimes I just wanted to go to bed! Long story short… you do a great job on your blog and it is very readable, very enjoyable, very informative, and a LOT of work! Love it!

  23. Lynn says:

    We appreciate EVERY moment you put into keeping the BEST blog alive ~ thank you Karen!

  24. ruth says:

    I think I could used to a squirrel on my head, but no thanks to the rest of what you have to do! And I am SO glad that you do it! This is my number one, must read it everyday blog, so thanks for loving it so much that you keep doing it!

  25. Carol Ann says:

    I was REALLY hoping you would have shown us the behind-the-scenes look of the “Caption This” post where we found you lying in a heap at the bottom of the stairs. With video.

  26. Shauna says:

    You captured the amount of work perfectly. I hope it’s all worth it for you, because it is for us;)

  27. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    I appreciate all that you do..Your humor brightens my day..I understand about working from home..people really do not think that it is real work..having said that..I will be by for tea tomorrow..it would be nice if you could whip up some scones too..and maybe a little lemon curd on the side..Yum..can’t wait..so glad that you just “work at home”..Can’t wait to sit and chat for a couple of hours with you..lol

    • Donna T says:

      I understand about “working from home” also… had all the same “drop ins”, “chatters”, invitations to lunch, breakfast, coffee, baby showers, shopping trips, can you babysit for a couple hours, etc., etc., etc. Because? Well… it wasn’t like I had “a REAL job”… a quote I heard several times!

      Retired now… and still don’t babysit. 🙂

  28. Susan says:

    Too funny your camera setup! I make You Tubes and am very sympathetic on all the work behind the scenes. You always do a fabulous job shooting and organizing (I’m a pro photographer, so I can say that.).

    Thank you for all your hard work, humor and entertainment value not to mention teaching me something. It doesn’t get any better than that!

    Love you to pieces, S (aka delacotta360 on YT)

  29. WHAT the what what?! The blogging secret is out.

    Does this mean that people will stop knocking on my door? I thought that the fact that I was bra-less and hiding behind my sofa was a BIG ENOUGH hint. Didn’t work.

    Can I photocopy this blog post and glue it to my front door?

    Love ya girlie!
    Lynne xx

  30. So, under the guise of braiding onions, you created your own rostrum camera. Karen, is there nothing you can’t do?

    ( I momentarily forgot how to spell guise, a lovely word, and toyed with ‘guys’ instead. Guys of braiding onions, must be French).

    • Karen says:

      Tricia – There are plenty of things I can’t do. Today I’m having trouble with leaving the chocolate covered peanuts alone, for instance. I bought them under the guys of doing a post featuring them. ~ karen

  31. Cynthia says:

    My husband blogs about our new shipping container house construction and Karen is 100% correct about the amount of time, energy and creativity it takes to make a blog post interesting. After a long hard days work, he comes home and sits at the computer to create all his entries. Always a good story teller, and thorough in his “How To” tips, he’s also adept at tweaking/editing his photos to best effect. Then he does the tags so his blog comes up early in Google searches. Coming up with an entertaining and informative blog entry takes time, ingenuity and talent.

    I follow very few bloggers Karen, but your entries are worth reading because you do it the right way. Thanks!

  32. Annie says:

    I totally have to make that iPhone sling happen. My shots are all before and after — no during!!

  33. kelliblue says:

    That iPhone sling is DA BOMB! I love that you’re always thinking outside the box…or the kitchen…or the house…all while doing the chicken dance (or not)…priceless!

    As one who used to have TWO blogs, i completely understand the whole behind-the-scenes thing. The ONLY reason I had two blogs for a time was because I was unemployed for nearly a year and had lots of free time. But they weren’t money makers, so the minute I became gainfully employed again, they went out the virtual window. I haven’t touched them since…no time. 🙁

  34. designlove says:

    As long as you love what your doing and your not eating out of your neighbors garbage, all is good! Hopefully it’s all paying off! Interesting behind the scenes tips.

    C.

  35. Corey says:

    We are truly thankful for the time that it takes you to put your posts together! Just today, I had to laugh when I remembered how to open a package of spaghetti ‘correctly’!! So for all those people who think that your blog means you aren’t really working… just tell them to suck it!

  36. Barbie says:

    YES! So much work! I admire your commitment to blogging and doing it so well Karen! Kudos! I love that you showed all that goes into it. People really don’t understand unless they blog themselves. Especially DIY blogs…. Also, I could identify with your “work from home” issue….it is always thought of by people that you are doing the chicken dance and can just leave and play whenever you want!

  37. Winegirl says:

    Karen – Today’s Woot is a pair of camcorder Goggles. I know they are for off-roading, but you should check them out. Kinda fits some of the stuff you do.
    http://sellout.woot.com/

  38. Irena says:

    You rule!

  39. Patty says:

    It’s a happy day for me! I have an ipad and again have a big screen (vs the iphone) which means I can READ YOUR BLOG without squinting!

    YAYAYAYAYAY!

    And now I want to be behind the scenes of braiding garlic. Not necessarily braiding garlic.

  40. Sam says:

    Love it! One of those “So that’s why the porch furniture’s on the lawn” kinda days 🙂

  41. Anna says:

    WOW! Had no idea! Question, not to be dense, but why would you braid garlic? We grow garlic so I would like to know.
    Thanks!!!!
    Anna

    • Karen says:

      Anna – It’s just fun, that’s all. Hang it in the coolest spot of your kitchen or somewhere else cool and handy. When you need garlic, you just walk over with a pair of scissors and clip off a head. It just looks nice and is a fun to do. 🙂 ~ karen

  42. Jordan says:

    Oh my goodness… Although I’m not a *blog* writer I do work from home writing educational materials for a medical sales company. I can SO feel your pain! I once had a friend from college who tried to remind me that I did my best writing in the wee hours of the morning (because, admittedly, that’s when all my college papers were written) and that I should come out with her for a mid-afternoon wine session. Sounds nice, sweetheart… It’s practically a daily occurrence that someone tries to pull me away from writing because its simply not like a “real” job in their minds. All I’m saying is preach, sister!

    • Karen says:

      LOL. I’ve preached and I’ve preached. Most people around me are starting to clue in but not all of them and not all the time. 🙂 ~ karen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Optionally add an image (JPEG only)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

The Art of Doing Stuff