Upwork editing: ForeIQ Vlog

Editing is so much more enjoyable when your client has some basic video knowledge, and ForeIQ was delightful in that respect. Patrick had been editing his company’s Video Blogs himself and just needed an extra hand, which I was happy to provide.

He and Chris were clearly media trained and my job basically came down to multi-cam editing, and color grading. I spent some time creating motion graphics, but they went with what they were using previously (which I agree looks better and am grateful for the chance to play around in After Effects regardless).

I edited several episodes for them, the first one of which just aired:

EPS-007 Your People Are Your PROFIT, Pt. 1

Freelance editing: Precious family memories

I first connected with this family through Elance in 2013 and have been editing their home videos periodically ever since. It’s typically a simple job of culling tons of footage into what I believe to be the best memories. What I truly enjoy is watching the kids grow up by leaps and bounds in between each video.

Upwork Editing: DR12 Coffee Roaster

Upwork (formerly Elance) has been a great source of additional income for me over the past decade. I enjoy the breadth of projects available on the platform, and I never know what type of video I’ll be hired for next.

This small job from Germany company Datgen Roasters took me less than two hours. The client provided video files, text, and branding guidelines. I pieced together the video in Premiere and created the moving text in After Effects to go over the video in Premiere.

One notable (and frustrating) difference with this project is that the client accepted and published my rough draft without communicating his approval. Had I known, I would have at least exported a full-res file at YouTube spec. But he closed the job as completed and I moved on to the next.

Video Editing: Spiritual Fitness

Jeffrey and I connected through Upwork, and I edited the majority of the video lessons in his Spiritual Fitness class. What a wonderful experience! I do truly pay attention to content while editing, and I would often find myself following his exercises and completely losing my editor’s train of thought!

The video featured in this post is a teaser for the course and did not involve me in any way. It was just the only publicly available video as what I edited is part of the course.

Interested? Check out the Spiritual Fitness course (and my work) here.

Highlight Reel: Super Art Fight All Killer No Filler

Let me start by saying I truly believe this project is cursed. Super Art Fight (SAF) published this today from an event on March 12, that they contacted me about in December/January-ish. This project is the first time I have experienced (or even heard of!) Premiere Pro corrupting every single file on import. This is also the first time I’ve had an external hard drive die (after I re-loaded all of the corrupted files, of course), was forced to upgrade OS in the middle of editing and then switch to an all new machine while still in the middle of editing. I expect challenges and mistakes to take place during production, but I really thought I had post-production on lock until this bad boy came along. Live and learn, as they say.

I dragged my feet on agreeing to the project because I knew I couldn’t do it alone. Eventually my favorite Priscilla Thomas agreed to love and support me in my time of need. We began our friendship in Audio/Video class, after all. Priscilla drove up for the weekend with extra gear, snacks, and a exactly the right attitude to keep me going. Not to mention she busted her butt to overnight me footage that was lost when the files originally corrupted on import. I couldn’t have done the shoot without her, and she said it was the easiest shoot she’d ever done. Ha! Sometimes emotional/moral support is all you really need.

This project is also a beautiful lesson in trust and communication. SAF and I have a good working relationship and I consider them much more of a partner/collaborator than a client. They did a show at my wedding, after all. So we had a situation where I think we trusted each other too much. This happened in pre-production where phrases like “like last time” were used but never really explained only to have me slightly confusion and a little panic-y when production began and we had to have the “well what did you mean by that” conversation. Trust, but verify, folks. Trust and verify.

Same situation in post-production, where they said they wanted a highlight reel to help advertise/show off who and what they are. I had never edited a highlight reel before, so I took the entire event in chronological order and edited my favorite parts together. If I watched it the video on YouTube, it probably would have convinced me to see a show in person. But what they actually wanted was a high-energy, fast-paced reel that showed potential venues/hosts the jam-packed, epically happy audience and the frenetic energy of the artists and they didn’t care about chronology. This stumped me.

This is also when my MacBook Pro died. I brought it back to life and my external drive died. I actually drove to a Best Buy for the first time in years, in tears and 10 minutes before closing just for a new hard drive. I ordered a brand new iMac and had plenty of time to think. My husband set up our spare room as an office for me and I began to post-it note up my favorite moments, along with those (I finally asked that) SAF specifically mentioned.

Help help I created a work area without adequate post-it space!! #editorproblems #storyboard #videographerlife

A photo posted by Heather Haynes (@haynesha) on

I stared at the post-it notes, moved them around, and remember how much I loved storyboarding on blank walls during grad school. I watched commercials for concerts and sports highlight reels and began to cut in a way that made me uncomfortable but that I was pretty sure was correct.

I delivered a new draft and after a month of busy schedules received a response that basically said: “Can we add an explosion at the end?”

The lesson here: always ask questions, always be willing to adapt and push yourself, and work with whom/what you love.

Smart Phone Nature Photography

When a friend asked Matthew and I (as well as another biologist friend of ours) to help with the Earth Day Celebration she was putting together at the Benjamin Banneker Historical Park, we were all about it.

Matthew created a poster and pulled samples of local invasive plants, our other friend put together an experiment for kids to extract DNA from strawberries, and I prepped a walk & talk on smartphone nature photography.

Here, in my professional opinion, are the basic tips for an average person who wants to make beautiful visual memories while surrounded by nature:

  • Find the Light – Where does your eye naturally go? Most people prefer soft, warm colors. Avoid harsh light and shadows when possible.
  • Think – Why this picture? Focus on the most important part of the image. Minimize distractions that may also be in-frame.
  • Change the Perspective –Where is the most interesting point of view? Try high and low angles and walk around the subject. Avoid digital zoom.
  • Steady the Shot –If a tripod isn’t available, place the camera on something solid or hold it against your body.
  • Befriend the Camera –Know your tools! Learn tips, tricks, and shortcuts for your particular camera and be ready when the moment strikes.

And here’s a Pinnable/downloadable version:

The gallery in this post are some of the nature photographs I’ve taken throughout the years. Notice that just following the rules doesn’t automatically make a photograph visually pleasing; the subject matter needs to be interesting, too!

Tough Subjects, in audio

In the fall of 2014 I attended the RTC staff retreat. I felt like very much the outcast, their video person in a beach house full of writers, written word editors, operations people, etc… when everyone broke into their teams or discussed their processes, I was completely left out. The final night of the retreat we all sat around the table to discuss how to, as a company, tackle a large project for a client of theirs, Oconomowoc Residential Programs.

Somewhere in the conversation it dawned on me that the writers record their calls(/research) with clients (and why wouldn’t they?!), and that RTC has permission to use those calls in whatever capacity, and like a strike of lightning… I knew I had to do audio pieces. The content already existed, it just needed to be lovingly crafted into a narrative!

I was given several interviews each for two disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Prader-Willi Syndrome, and created two downloadable content pieces to compliment upcoming articles. I got to work with a writer (new for me) and craft pieces that were meant to speak to parents of children with the aforementioned disorders. After a lot of listening, highlighting, Google-ing, talking to the writers, talking to friends in psychology fields… I finished two very specific pieces.

The first piece to be published, on ASD, focuses on extremely violent child behavior and exists behind a paywall of sorts.

You’ll need to enter your e-mail to listen to it. The parents go through heart-wrenching situations and I’m still haunted by some of their anecdotes at times.

Now the second piece, on Prader-Willi, is a true emotional roller coaster. It took so long to gain approval from ORP that I stopped receiving updates from RTC on the project and only found it today when updating my project list on LinkedIn (true story). My name isn’t even on the page, but I remember all 13 minutes and 10 seconds of that finished piece, and that’s my voice introducing it, my voice warning you halfway through that you’re about to hear something awful, my taste that decided just how much hysterical sobbing was enough… I’m proud of this audio piece because I included the toughest topics and fought to keep them included. I’ll be blunt with you here: a kid chokes a puppy to death in this story. It’s awful, and it’s a really good reason why people with Prader-Willi need very precise care. If including that rough/controversial anecdote convinces just one parent to push for better services & care for their child, then it’s well worth it my book.