If you’ve seen some of the popular nonfiction shows on YouTube, such as One Minute Physics or Doodling in Math Class, you’ll notice that all you’re watching is someone drawing on a desk. But with the right editing and presentation, you have enjoyable and informative webisodes. What this shows is that given the limitations of producing a show, on your own, at home, you can still make something entertaining.
Luis and I are currently producing our third episode of Curious Component, which is a show for beginner Arduino hobbyists who want to learn new gizmos to add-on to their Arduino. Everything about our production is homemade. The lights, the props, and the stage (aka my desk).
Of course the camera and audio equipment isn’t homemade, I mean you could, but it wouldn’t look or sound good.
Like One Minute Physics, Doodling in Math Class, or The Secret Life of Machines, we depend on illustrations and crude demonstrations to clarify such difficult to understand topics in science. For us, we have to explain electronics, programming, and whatever baggage that comes with working with the Arduino. Our arsenal of props, that we use to teach, include:
and, of course, the electronics themselves.
Now it is important to frame our shots properly. That is why Luis uses the guides on the Canon camera or else we are left adrift in a sea of wooden textures.
Overall, the genre that we work within is really nothing more than a dynamic PowerPoint presentation. The host explains something and the visuals reflect what she is saying. If you’re interested in producing a web series, but are not ready to deal with the difficulties of shooting on location or with actors or all the difficulties that come with video production; then this desktop format of video is a minimal, but effective way to get started. Also, you’re not confined to just nonfiction, others have created stories or essays or other works of video fiction such as the Tales of Mere Existence.
Of course, since it is video, you have room to add more than just static images and we have taken advantage of that, as you’ll see in our upcoming web series.