What’s It Like to Make YouTube Videos about Handspinning with a Film Crew of One?

Josefin Waltin wears many hats producing YouTube videos about handspinning. In this excerpt from her article “Old Techniques & New Technology: A Beautiful Marriage,” featured in the Spring 2018 Spin Off, Josefin gives us the scoop on what it’s like to be her own film crew.

I consider myself an experienced spinner, but I have no training in video making. Sometimes I have no idea what I’m getting myself into, but I also have no preconception about filming—I’m a tabula rasa (blank slate). I have created my own way of making videos, and I am constantly learning, failing, and improving based on my ever-growing bank of experiences.

YouTube videos

A notebook serves as both a storyboard and title cards. It’s important to sample and keep notes. Creating this sample is part of my video. Photo by George Boe

I do practically everything myself in my videos. I don’t have a drumcarder, assisting spinners, or fiber preparers. There are no shortcuts. If I come to the conclusion that I will spin the softest weft yarn with a Navajo spindle, then I spin as long as it takes to finish 1,600 meters of yarn.

When it comes to filming, I am the camera operator, production designer, writer, director, producer, location manager, film editor, and the assistant to them all. Sometimes Josefin the Film Editor has issues with Josefin the Crafter and Josefin the Camera Operator about a bad angle or a fumbling hand, but in general, we all get along.

As a director/camera operator/crafter, I use a flexible holder for my phone camera and attach it to the garden chair I use as a camera stand. My neighbors occasionally see location manager/assistant me lurking in the bushes with spindle and fiber under one arm and a chair under the other, hunting for filming locations. My inner production designer is usually quite confident, but as a film editor, I sometimes feel frustratingly inexperienced. I remind myself that the craft often carries itself through the screen and does half the job.

—Josefin Waltin

Josefin Waltin started spinning in 2011 and publishes instructional and documentary-style spinning videos on her YouTube channel. She also blogs about her videos and spinning in general from her home in Sweden at www.waltin.se/josefinwaltinspinner.

Pick up a copy of the Spring 2018 issue of Spin Off to read the rest of Josefin Waltin’s article about making YouTube videos about handspinning.

Featured Image: A simple setup of a phone camera attached to a garden chair with a flexible holder helps me film without having to depend on someone else filming for me. Photo by Dan Waltin.

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