Head studies are one of my favorite things to paint. For me, this preparatory stage blends curiosity, observation, and empathy. It can be a real challenge to forward this sensitivity and energy on to the final portrait, as it’s tempting to worry over details in a “finished” piece.
This study of my mom was a natural choice for a first attempt at filming. As with learning any new skill, I faced a couple of unanticipated challenges:
1. I shot this film with a Nikon D3200, which is not really a video camera. You can only take 20 minutes of video footage at a time, and the camera overheats within an hour of using the Live View Movie setting. While I wasn’t expecting this, it wasn’t too big of an annoyance as I’m well adjusted to taking a break every 20 minutes or so, thanks to life drawing. However, the battery overheating was a let down, as I was in flow and didn’t want to wait for it to cool down. Hence the missing documentation of finishing up the last few bits.
2. As any artist knows, lighting can be a challenge. And filming added another dimension to these potential frustrations. Fluorescent lights emit a specific frequency and if your camera is not adjusted to this, your film will end up with horrible flickering bands of light across the footage. This is easily prevented by adjusting your camera’s frequency under menu options. (Check your model’s manual for specific directions.) Generally, fluorescents in the states are at 60Htz and those in Europe and Asia, 50Htz. Changing daylight can be prevented easily with a sturdy pair of curtains.
If you have access to Adobe’s Creative Cloud, you can download and use Premiere Pro for editing your footage. As someone who suspects that computers are sentient beings who actively hate humans, Premiere Pro was pretty intuitive. Not to mention the hundreds of free tutorials online.
Thanks for watching and reading. Feel free to post your comments or questions below.