Sequin Background for YouTube

She’s back! The lovely Chelle has been co-opted to write in my place yet again. Enjoy, and be sure to check out her stuff on her website (details below)!

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Hi everyone! My name is Chelle and I run the beauty blog Makeup Your Mind and YouTube channel of the same name. I’m filling in for Alison today with a DIY on how I created my sequin background for my YouTube videos!

Since I live in downtown Toronto in a one bedroom apartment with my husband and two cats, we don’t have a heck of a lot of space to use as a filming area for my YouTube videos. The *only* area we really have available to put up a backdrop was our entrance “hallway” to the apartment.

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So this is how my filming setup looks in essence. I’ve got a high chair in the middle of the entrance, my ring light and tripod with camera pointed at it. Sadly, the apartment door and surrounding walls just aren’t attractive enough for videos, so I had to rig up some kind of contraption to put up behind me that could be put up and taken down easily.

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I decided to buy some sequin cloth from Ebay and a shower tension rod to hold it up. The sequin cloth came as one straight sheet of cloth, so I was going to have to attach it to the curtain rod somehow.

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I flipped the cloth around so that the curtain rod lay on the unfinished side of the cloth.

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Wrapped the cloth around the rod, and safety pinned it into place!

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Since the whole curtain is on a collapsible tension rod, it makes for quick and easy set up and take down every time I want to film a video!

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You will find that the cloth needs to be pulled tight on the edges so that you don’t get any wrinkling effects in the background and for that I use painter’s edging tape (not pictured).

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Et voila! A shimmery, abstract background that helps bounce light back into the video! I love how professional this can look on camera, and yet when you pull away it just looks like such a hot mess in the entrance to our apartment!

Thanks so much for reading, and if you’re interested in my little corner of the internet, come say hi over on my blog Makeup Your Mind!

Egotistical Exercises, or, Experiments in Self-Portraiture

(Apropos of nothing, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOMMA!)

***EDIT: I was intensely caffeinated when I wrote this, so it kind of reads like it’s in fast forward.***

Ahem.

If you’re like me (and I suspect most people, even secretly, are), then, aside from the nominal insecurities about appearance, health, lifestyle, career prospects, finances, social interactions, intelligence, and personality, deep down you think you’re pretty awesome.

*I* think I’m pretty awesome.  The Pie is a terrible liar so when he says ‘you’re awesome’ generally I believe him.  So I’m a pretty awesome wife.  I’m a pretty awesome cook.  I’m a pretty awesome anthropologist – no, I’m actually just a middling anthropologist, but I do only have half a PhD at this point so there’s an excuse if I ever heard one.

One thing I am not pretty awesome at doing is taking pictures of people.  The light is always bad, they’re looking away, blinking, or moving so fast everything comes out blurry.  It’s a real failing.  My problem is I’m not a fan of posed photographs.  I find the candid ones always turn out better – expressions are more genuine and they’re less cheesy.  They just don’t turn out well when *I* take them.  Most of my shots of the Pie are of his back, a fact my mother never fails to point out to me.  I can’t even shoot my own husband right.

So I need some practice.  I can shoot Il Principe to my heart’s content but he’s a baby and baby pictures always turn out well, no matter how badly I set them up.  Kº, Kª, and the Pie will all lose patience with me very quickly if I practice on them before I develop any real skills.

I’m going to do the ultimate in self-serving activities, therefore, and take pictures of … MYSELF.

The main reason is to get some practice understanding how different poses work, to learn new lighting techniques, and to penetrate the miasma of technical camera stuff that I never bothered to absorb before.  And really only I have the patience to sit through my OCD while I figure this stuff out.

The other reason is that I am generally The-Woman-with-the-Camera, so in group shots and outings and whatnot, I’m the one taking the pictures and there are very few of me.  The most current pictures I have of me that I like came from my wedding, which was last summer.  Most of the other ones of me that exist catch me candid, showing my double chin, my belly roll, or the peculiar upturn of my nostrils.  Not flattering, really.  So it would be nice to have some shots of me where I’m in control.

Now just so you know, these aren’t going to be your typical ‘Myspace’-like ’emo’ shots, reverse-angled through a mirror and shot from 45°.  These will be real (though entirely inorganic) shots of me doing real things.  Brushing my teeth.  Cooking.  Washing dishes.  Reading.  Gardening.  The usual, which is usually action shots.  I don’t do sitting still very well.

***EDIT: Can you hear the caffeine?***

Kª mentioned Cindy Sherman to me the other day, and her work is kind of sort of exactly what I want to do.  You can see some of her stuff, done around 1977, as part of a MoMA exhibit in 1997.  I probably won’t be that well-coiffed but my mop-top will suffice for now.  I may even be wearing painting pants and be covered in dirt.  It’s kind of my style.

Now you know what I will be doing.  I’ll post results when I’m happy with them.  Until then, you can have a picture of my hands, a part of me with which you are already rather familiar.