Kaye Kittrell, the host of the Late Bloomer show has a serious passion for urban organic gardening. Her popular YouTube channel has won many awards for best entertainment, best actress, and best entertaining. As Kaye shares her love and education for growing your own food, her popularity with fellow garden lovers keeps growing and growing, just like her YouTube views! Over 1.7M.
We had a chance to talk to Kaye about how she films and edits her videos. We were so excited when she took time out of her extremely busy schedule to speak with us. For the very first time, Kaye gives an in-depth look at how Late Bloomer comes to life. We are so lucky!
For those of you who are thinking of starting your own gardening or crafting channel, you will get a rare glimpse into how much work goes into an episode before it's released. This is for you!
We get excited when we see dedication like this. Thank you Kaye, for sharing this insightful material for our readers. We seriously can't say thank you enough. Sit back, get a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy.
Tell us about your video process and how long it takes to film and edit your videos.
This is a simple question, which requires a complex answer. I could say anywhere from 6 to 24 hours or more, but you might not have any idea what that entails, nor understand why it takes so long. Allow me to take you through my process.
From walking in the door with the camera and tripod after shooting, which could take anywhere from two to six hours, to seeing my video published on YouTube, varies widely in the amount of time it takes. An absolute minimum would be eight hours, and it could take up to 20 or more. Usually, it’s around 16. The least time I have spent just editing picture is 4 hours, but usually, it’s 8 to 12, sometimes more.
If the video planned is of one event, one garden visit or one Thursday workday, for example, it takes less time to edit because all the files are in one folder. If it is a video where I show a plant over time, those take more time searching through thousands of files to locate supporting material, going back over a season or sometimes years. I’ve all but abandoned those because I simply have too much material now and a search could take a night. The search could be for a video or a still image. Videos have to be reviewed to locate that moment when a lizard appeared in my raised bed. When I made two episodes a month, I often did that. But I had much less material and could keep a mental note in my mind of what I shot when.
Now that I try to make two videos a week, it’s just too much material to remember. For example, I have 11,623 files from 2017. Recently, I spent at least two hours searching to find a clip or photo I know I shot of me standing beside my milkweed “tree,” and didn’t find it. I reasoned it was only a four-second supporting shot and it would have been great to have in there, but I had to move on.
Preparation to edit a video involves downloading, saving and naming the files. If I’m up to date with filing everything away in my external drives, this might take an hour or less. I have accumulated numerous external drives over the years to house all my video clips and stills, many terabytes of material. I have been editing for over a year on Premiere Pro, Adobe’s professional editing software, and there is storage of autosaves, rendered files and previews to manage as well. File management is time-consuming. And my computer is now six years old. That’s ancient for a computer. My graphics card is no longer compatible with Adobe’s streamed applications so I cannot update the software. I’m on borrowed time and must upgrade my computer soon. The upgrade will cost an astounding $7,000.
Once files are in order and I have established a named project in Premiere Pro, I start building a timeline in the project monitor. If I am working from one folder of files, I select and drag down my opening shot, copy titles from a previous video, and start building. Since I’m not a natural editor, but an editor by necessity, I rely on my mind, which tends to think chronologically. This happened first, then that happened, etc. I’m a documentarian. A talented editor might envision whole sections rearranged, out of order, but that’s not how I think. So, you will always notice a natural progression through my videos.
After the picture has been assembled on the timeline, and any voiceover has been written, recorded (on a separate microphone at my desk), downloaded into the computer, and cut to the timeline, music located and selected, and time code added, I make an export of sound files called an OMF and a low-resolution video and send with the original music files via internet (this transfer of files has changed methods over the years, presently we use Dropbox) to my sound editor. While I am waiting for her to edit the sound, do the sound mix, add any sound effects needed, and send me a final WAV sound file, (which takes her from four to ten hours with no interruptions) I add any transitions that do not involve sound, do simple fixes on color that I can manage and add necessary titles. Everything that involves sound (like the opening title, and the push and page turn transitions) must be on the timeline before I export to her.
Once I have the final sound, I add it to the timeline, remove all of the other sound clips, review it several times, as there is absolutely always something I find to add or fix (that won’t affect the sound, which is locked), and when it is as good as I can make it, I export the final HD video for YouTube. A ten-minute video takes nearly an hour for export. A longer video takes longer. Once I have the export, I upload to YouTube. A ten-minute video can take 35-40 minutes, during which time I create a thumbnail in Photoshop, and add the titles, descriptions, and tags. Once the video is finished processing, I set the end screens that link to videos and my website, set the cards, and any ads I am placing in longer videos. Lastly, I edit the closed captioning for deaf and hearing impaired. The entire upload process to publish on YouTube can take from one to two hours.
I’ve never actually added up the time I spend, because sometimes things go simply and other times, like last week, we had a four-hour power outage. Nothing was possible, no cell phone, no landline, and no Internet. I put in at least 40 hours a week working on my channel, double the time I spend in the garden.
I'm going into details with my process because I don’t think anyone viewing original content on YouTube, who is not a creator, has any idea of the work involved. And the content is free to the user! The only way we get remunerated, unless we have a branding or merchandise deal, which I don’t, and Google ads (and the support of patrons on Patreon). It’s simple. If viewers watch the ads and don’t skip them, we get about 3 cents. If they are skipped, we get nothing. The more subscribers, the more chance at views, the more views, the more chance more viewers will watch the ads. It’s all chance.
This detailing of time spent doesn’t even touch on coming up with ideas and doing the gardening to support the content. Or traveling! My process was far different on the 100 episodes of Late Bloomer than it is with my garden vlog, which I am editing myself. Then, I created a detailed script with timecode from each clip and typed it all out and sent it with all of the original video files to my editor to work from. The transfer of 2 gigabytes of clips could take all night. And then I would wait, sometimes weeks, for her to work me in, because I was not able to pay top dollar. Occasionally, I would take a day and drive down to Newport Beach to work at her side and see the videos come together, which I enjoyed. But, for most of the 90 videos we did together, we worked remotely. It would speed things up for her to have me there because I would make decisions on the spot, but it would involve at least three hours of commuting and I would drive home at night with tired eyes.
Even though each video costs money, I have not given up my sound editor. She charges me a very reasonable rate to provide polished sound from Pro Tools professional software, and the final result is much better than I could do just by making a few simple adjustments in the editing software. She has been my constant since our first meeting in February of 2012, and I really don’t want to continue without her.
Regarding the music, which commenters say they enjoy, I signed a contract with a YouTube partner in 2016, and they take 40% of my Google ad earnings in exchange for unlimited use of a huge sound library. I pull from 750 songs I’ve downloaded from Epidemic Sound that I am free to use, but on YouTube content only. For the original 100 episodes, I paid a composer and own the rights to all those episodes. I would like to sell the whole series to Amazon for a large chunk of money to be able to afford to hire an editor and do even more polished productions.
At this point in my life, work is what I yearn for. My drive to inspire and entertain is what keeps me grabbing the camera and going out to the garden. If I can’t be on Broadway, I can still put myself out to the world on YouTube. I would shoot a video every day if I didn’t have to sit for hours and hours in front of the computer cutting it together.
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