[Video] Painting a Tree for Non-Artists :: Production Notes

Painting a tree without having a clue about painting using a simple technique that most people will be able to pick up within a short time. Since it was autumn when I shot this, and I adore autumn, I went with colourful trees that reflected my favourite season.

Here are my production notes for this video.

This video is a bit old, but I don’t think there’s any harm in going back and talking about the process of making it. I learned a few things and got used to the whole “work hard for something nobody cares about” thing that’s so omniscient when having a hobby like this.

I’ll admit that I’m sometimes overly melancholic. For this video however I think it wasn’t all that bad. Calm introspective with a bit of bittersweet pessimism seems to fit a painting of this type. Let’s get into the main meat of this.


The only thing I wrote were the first few opening moments. They seem a bit too cheesy now that I’ve read them again, but considering the general target audience for painting videos I don’t think this is much of a problem.


The big one. At the time of making this video I didn’t have access to a dedicated camera, so I shot it with my mobile phone. It’s a Galaxy S5 Mini, so while not completely outdated, it at least produces images that don’t make you go “this looks too bad to watch”. I enjoy filming quite a lot. That’s why I decided that even though I couldn’t afford a more sensible camera for what I wanted to do, I could at least spend some money to increase my options while shooting.


I bought a tripod for mobile phones and a set of 3 clip-on lenses for around €20,00. Wide angle, fish eye, macro – with those I was able to film a few more interesting shots than with just my phone. The tripod was attached to my microphone arm for most of the filming. It’s a painting video, so I didn’t want to include too many different angles that take away from the action.

To get this out of the way: I spat coloured water, there was no post production trickery.

While filming myself filling the glasses with water I dropped one into the sink and cut myself on the shards. Don’t die out there.


Most of the video is a time lapse sort of thing, so I didn’t have to do too much work. I removed a few segments that maybe showed an arm obscuring something more important or just generally dull or ugly moments. Afterwards it was on to colour correction. It was a bit of a nightmare seeing as I shot with mostly daylight again. There were many breaks in which I had to allow the painting to dry, so some differences are a little extreme. I added some additional flourish by doing some extra grading and a adding few ray effects to make the entire thing look a bit more dramatic. The pencil shot is especially silly.

Conclusion & Improvements

Work with what you have. I put off working on this channel for a long time for various reasons, but really nothing was as stupid as “I don’t have the right equipment”. You gotta learn anyway, and you won’t just randomly drop your magnum opus after upgrading a few bits of hardware.

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel and follow this blog if you want to read more notes about making content for video sites, I’ll post notes for all my weekly videos.



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