I was asked by ToolSelect.com to do a tool review of three Jet woodworking tools. I wanted to share a behind the scences look at how the tool review video was make. The review video links are at the end.
Who or what is ToolSelect.com? Here is a quote from ToolSelect.com’s website: “ToolSelect.com is an unbiased power tool comparison
website that offers our users a wide range of resources and information to assist you in researching your intended purchase.”
I am a woodworker who was asked by ToolSelect.com to test three woodworking tools in my shop and then to provide a summary of my experiences .
This was initiated by an e-mail I received from Gerry Barnaby, ToolSelect.com’s spokesman, asking if I would be interested in testing some woodworking tools for them. Of course, I agreed or this would be a very short blog.
The process began by the manufacturer shipping the tools at no cost to ToolSelect.com. Jay, the videographer, delivered the tools to my shop. Jay arrived about 10:00 am and we got right to work unloading and setting up three pieces of equipment.
I was asked in advance to have a project ready so each of the tools could be utilized. My instructions were simple… go to work. OK, maybe not that simple, but the goal was to use the tools, like I would on any other day, and then share the experiences with the viewer.
Sounds easy enough, just do what I do everyday and forget that someone is following me around the shop with a video camera. At first, I thought I did pretty good. I set up each machine and then we positioned them so that the lighting was right and I went to work. Trying to focus on the project and not wonder what Jay was doing was challenging at first but after a short time I relaxed and it went smoothly, at least for me. From time to time, Jay would stop me and ask me to adjust my position so he could get a better view of what I was doing. A couple of times he had to stop me so he could clean the camera lens. I quickly learned that you can’t use compressed air to clear away sawdust when video taping. Sorry Jay.
As the day progressed, I became accustomed to having Jay around, maybe a little too comfortable. On several occasions, I know I screwed up Jay’s shot by stepping in front of the camera or by stacking wood which then blocked his view. Jay was clear that he wanted me to use the tools as they were intended and not concern myself with what he was doing or how difficult I may have made it for him.
Having never done this before, it was easy for me to make a few assumptions. What was I expecting??? I thought that we would unload the tools, take a few staged shots and be done by noon. It was after 6:00 p.m., when we finished loading the video equipment and Jay headed back to the studio.
Knowing that one day would never be enough time to do a complete tool review, I started making plans to use my new woodworking tools. At this point the plan was to use them until the guys at ToolSelect.com were ready for me to make a trip to their studio and do a video review.
The day has arrived and it’s time for me to make the 75 mile trip to ToolSelect.com’s studio. I arrived shortly after 8:00 a.m. to find a crew ready to unload the tools and show me to the studio. The studio was much larger than I had imagined. Tall metal stands with cameras and lights seem to fill the room. The set was brightly lit and it felt much larger than what I viewed on the computer screen. Lights , Cameras, Woodworker?…Oh no, what have I gotten myself into? Is it too late to return the tools and sneak out the back? I didn’t even get my coat off and in marched the butterflies. You know the ones, big, fluffy and a persistent reminder that you are not in your workshop.
Jay introduced me to each of the crew members which helped quiet the fuzzy critters. Dean, Director of Video Production, introduced himself and gave me an overview of the set up. Before I knew it, I was focused on what I needed to do and feeling a bit more relaxed.
I realized the butterflies were gone after meeting Gerry Barnaby. We started talking about the tools and it quickly became evident that Gerry had done his homework. We talked about where to stand to best illustrate their use. We covered the features and how I used them to build a project. This wasn’t a rehearsal, but two guys sharing information on a new woodworking tool.
Time to start the cameras, ready to roll, as they say. Gerry starts his introduction and introduces me. This was a conversation just as before. I forgot about the cameras, microphones and lights. Gerry, doing what a pro does best, makes it look easy. After Dean said “cut”, I had a sigh of relief and thought, one down and two to go.
Dean smiled and offered a few pointers to help with the next take. Next take? You mean the next tool? I don’t know many terms used in making a video, but I do know that “next take” means “do over”.
Dean pointed out that I was talking a little fast and that it was okay to pause and collect my thoughts before answering a question. Was this a symptom of too much caffeine or could it be that I was practicing for a competition with John Moschitta of the famed FedEx commercial.
After several takes, I figured out that it wasn’t a race and there was plenty of time to share my findings. We had several “takes” for each piece of equipment which from my point of view went pretty smooth.
Review of the process…
What you will see on the videos is my opinion of three woodworking machines. There were no cue cards, scripts or anyone directing me to say this, that or something to give an opinion that wasn’t my own. The only thing that I received from this group of professionals was encouragement and a couple bottles of water. Oh, yea and a tee shirt because now it’s official I am a certified tool tester.