Ink, Yarn & Beer

my life a bit at a time

Video: Painting Sunflowers in Sumi-e

November 4, 2009

There are a lot of “try before you buy” video editors out there.  Some allow you to publish a video without blurbs on the final product which tell the whole world who they are.  Others do it, which is annoying, but they can be removed with some editing.  Some programs are fairly intuitive – which is important if you don’t know a dang thing about video editing – and others come with decent tutorials and help sections.  Some are slow to load, hard to see, confusing, but full of cool devices.  Others are not, but have online resources which you can use to create your own what-is-needed, like a title or template.  To get what I want I have been swapping between a number of programs, but expect I will eventually settle on one.  I really appreciate 30-day windows to try out stuff!  I’ve been rather confused and frustrated, but am beginning  to understand a bit about them. One thing I do know is that over-processing the videos is occurring, and a lot of quality is lost. As long as you don’t watch them in full-screen mode, the quality is okay.

Sunflower Sunday

As always, my weekends are far too busy, but I do make time to have fun.  This weekend I was determined to try out a different set-up for the Zi8.  When I work inside in my studio (office, spare room, whatever!), the camera cannot be easily placed where I usually work.  My painting area is part of an L-shaped computer table, and the camera really is best placed to my left.  Unfortunately, the computer area is also to the left.  I have tried all sorts of gyrations, but nothing was especially great.  Practice will eventually create the perfect set-up.

So, I decided to try it out on the patio, and it worked out pretty well.  I could get the camera over to the left of the chair and angle it so I could film as if the viewer were looking over my left shoulder.  The key was to place the feet of the tripod perpendicular to the table – this way I could scoot the chair back to stay out of the picture, but not knock over everything if I moved.  All this worry creates a very stressful painting situation, but this time I actually felt fairly comfortable, and ended up painting and filming – turning the camera on and off with the remote – for quite some time.

The result was a 15-minute video on painting sunflowers.  YouTube has both a size and time limit, but I decided to try it anyhow.  No dice.  I tried to compress the video into a 10-minute segment, and all I ended up seeing was a black screen.  Thus, I had to divide the video into segments, which was not easy until I got into another software package.  I was able to edit out sections with pauses, and divide the sections into different videos with different titles.  The final result is two videos!

Painting Sunflowers in Sumi-e:  Part One and Part Two

Here they are!  YouTube also allows you to do “audioswap” and add a free (to the video-maker) music track to the video, with the caveat some advertising may appear.  I did it for the Painting Wild Orchids in Sumi-e video, and for the two sunflower ones, which you can see below.  Hopefully the music will add to the proverbial “viewing pleasure” and the advertisements won’t distract.


  1. Loved it. Haven’t seen the orchid one yet. What kind of xuan(rice) paper did you use and did you eventually add any colour?

  2. Hi Nora – I used the practice sulphite paper you can buy quite cheaply in art stores or online, made in Japan, tissue-paper thin, and not really good for permanent work, but excellent for practice. Glad you liked the video! -N

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