Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Here I am an ex dancer, choreographer, wife, mom, novelist. I write and publish a blog. My husband, actor-singer John Cullum, and I do a video blog once a week with a camera on a Mac notebook.

I use a desktop PC with it's large monitor, to view the latest video, before I publish it on Em's Talkery, my blog. This involves quite a lot of technical stuff that I can handle fairly well, though I am not a techie.

I can handle most things when the computer misbehaves. Our video making routine isn't difficult, but a lot of details are involved. We turn on lights, position and sit on a bench, click a few buttons on the computer. When we see our faces on the Mac monitor, John introduces us. I pick a topic, and we jabbber. The Mac's timer shows us when it's time to end our conversation. John splices in our YouTube channel's icon. I upload the video to our channel, Airbroadcasting, do a little adjusting of colors and contrast, and pick a thumbnail.

Though I'm not a techie, after three years and 170 videos, I've got my video-making routine down pat -- I have a dancer's memory for steps -- do this, then do that, then this, then that. There's been a problem occasionally that I blamed on our lights -- sometimes the finished video is sort of yellowish.

Well, the other day, while we were recording, we noticed that our faces, our outfits, and the room itself was turning very, very yellow.


I raced around adjusting the lights, turning things on and off, checking fuses. We re-booted and started recording again -- it was very, very, very yellow -- fatally yellow.

On the phone, I spent 1½ hours with a Mac technical support guy, then 2½ hours with the senior technician for Mac videos. Golly, I'm not a techie or a secretary -- I was in vaguesville, scrawling notes, hoping I could hang on to half of what these guys were teaching me.

Short long story: After another yellow video, I got our techie friend, Asa, to help. He bought us a Logitech Web Camera. With Asa and the Logitech's techie, we practiced -- made 50 one-minute test videos. They're adequate but somewhat blurry, not as sharply focused as the videos we made on the Mac camera, and the color is rather inaccurate. I talked with various Logitech guys, but neither they nor I can find a way to get my bright blue blouse NOT to look sort of bluish green, and my bronze hair NOT to look sort of red mahogany.

Hey, I'm not a techie, but I know when my hair looks weird.

There were other EEKS. We did a five-minute video, but after three minutes -- though our hands were not on the controls, -- the camera was on, -- for some reason, it just stopped. Okay, we made 10 tests -- no more stops, so we dismissed the problem. The next day, a new video we made stopped -- yep -- just stopped on its own.

I may not be a techie, but a camera that stops for no reason that no one can explain, is NOT a camera for us.

We're getting a new Mac with a new camera, hiring Asa to configure it and help us learn the new routines, so we can make a new video next week, and each week thereafter.

John, who is great when it comes to setting up the room, turning on lights, positioning the bench, splicing in our logo, calls himself a computer dunce, and ... well, that's what he is.

Next time you see one of our videos, you'll know that behind our gaiety, our smiles, or loving rapport, lurks a dunce and a bewildered half-baked techie.


Carola said...

I would have had at least 10 nervous breakdowns coping with all that.

Linda Phillips said...

No one ever said that you weren't tenacious. :-)

You are very much a techie and so is John in his area of expertise.

Fantastic Books Publishing said...


Ok, so we've recently battled through the long and arduous process of setting up our website. It looks beautiful but there were lots of bugs and last minute changes and our learning curve was very steep indeed. Then my wife started a photography course...

We made a few videos for the business but she's such a perfectionist, nothing has been uploaded yet. To see me wobble my way through my first radio interview, check out my stunning broadcasting skills here (11 minutes, don't think you have to listen to it all);


And my acting/directing skills were tested when we announced the winners of our charity competition last year. You can check it out here (just 2 minutes, please note the need for an autocue!);


This is why we don't post videos.

Em and John, you are very brave and your videos are excellent, keep up the good work!

Dan :)

JD Holiday said...

LOL, Em! You can tell a funny story. I agree with Carola. :D

JD Holiday