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‘Behind the Scenes of the Gestation Project’…VH1, please don’t sue me!


The video | Behind the scenes | Carlin’s take | Learn more

Gestation stills: transparent overlayAnyway, after we started get major traffic from digg.com and video.google.com (third most popular video on google on 8/9/2006), my good buddy, Drew Angeloff, convinced me I should make a little “The Making of” for folks that wanted a little more info.

I’m not sure when I first came up with the idea to take a sequence of photos to show the change the expectant mother’s body would go through during pregnancy, but I thought it would be cool to see something that normally happens relatively slowly in a compressed time frame…Maybe it was all the Wizard of Speed and Time videos my mom and dad used to play for me when I was kid. I know I had been thinking about it for a couple of years before Carlin got pregnant, though. Once the baby was on the way it was time to get cracking!

So after I told Carlin my idea, she was onboard…At this point, neither of thought of posting it on the Internet. It was just going to be one small piece in a bigger project. I created a DVD of the pregnancy, birth, and first month of Life With Ella, with picture slideshows and the gestation video included that I gave to the grandparents for Xmas. It took me about 100 hours to edit all (paternity leave) the video down and set to music to a DVD I’m really proud of that has all the great moments, including showing Ella’s birth by C-Section. I kept the audio from this in but whenever you would actually see Carlin’s guts, you see me stirring a big pot of steaming spaghetti…it always make folks hungry :) . That way you can hear Ella’s first cry, my excited voice saying “SHE’S OUT! SHE’S OUT!” and the doctor announcing her the time of her birth without having to see scenes from Aliens.

So for the gestation video, I plugged the digital camera in to the wall socket (so we’d never have to move it), placed the camera on some books on the dresser, and then used to some other books (always the same ones) to square the bottom books / camera up with the dresser so that it was always in the same position…it was actually a two person job. We knew we would end up bumping it (no matter how careful we were) and knew that we would need to take the camera down because sometimes folks would be coming over and might see the camera set up figure we were up to something kinky.

We basically dedicated the camera to sit there for this project. I used my old SLR to take normal photos and later on the digital video camera we bought could also take decent stills.

We tried to take the photo at the same time of day so the light would be as close to the same as possible but seasons change and sometimes we just went with when it was convenient. Carlin marked off on the floor where to stand and then she just somehow found the same spot over and over again (note her arms against the wall never seem to move). We used the remote so that we weren’t touching the camera needlessly. Despite the fact that it seems like it would be easy to walk up to a camera, stand in the same spot, and hit a button; it definitely became a chore. There were days when we were kicking ass nesting (landscaping the backyard with 60 yards of dirt and painting rooms) that it was pretty hard to expend the extra energy…In retrospect, we are glad we did!

There are some fun things in the pictures like watching Carlin’s different hair styles (someone noticed she was wearing ponytails almost exclusively at the end…when she was tired and it was easy to do), the walls change color (we painted), her paintsline move down, etc…I thought about putting up a whiteboard on the wall with the number of days pregnant but realized the numbers would flip by too fast to be of any use.

The last bit that made it turn out so well is that Carlin is a designer and was able to create a template based on the vertical and horizontal lines in the door frame to match all the pictures to…we probably could have been a lot sloppier had we realized that fact going in.

Team T-shirts
Team T-shirts

The matching tshirts are sort of a cheesy, gag gift I gave my wife. I have always joked that I’d get Team tshirts and make ‘the kids’ wear them. Once she actually was pregnant, I had them made in secret, and then gave them to her after the baby’s birth. We’ve only worn them once but I’m guessing we may wear them again when she is old enough to be embarrassed by her geeky parents. :) Mine = coach; wife = manager; baby = shortstop; dog = mascot. What a geek!

After Ella was born and we were sleep deprived but on paternity/maternity leave I started futzing with all the content I had. Once Carlin got all the photos lined up (I had a perl script number then in the proper order based on date taken…I LOVE PERL), I ran them through a freeware program from DemoStudio called AviMaker that turned them into a movie.

For the big DVD project, I spent a day brainstorming all the different words I associated with this pregnancy (on the whiteboard and lost forever) but they were along the lines of: love, baby, change, life, mother, etc…there were about 30 of them…and one of them was weight because all expectant moms love the lbs they pack on. Then, I went into iTunes and picked music that seemed appropriate based on those words. For some reason, I liked Joan Osborne’s cover of Aretha Franklin’s ‘The Weight’ better so that one seemed perfect for the video.

After friends and family saw the video, Drew (again) said I should post it because folks would love it…I wasn’t so sure but thought it would be cool since Carlin and I worked so hard to create it. I put it on Google back in March cuz another friend (Matt Martin) said it would crash my host…I wasn’t really thinking about bandwidth considerations cuz I didn’t think it would be that popular…I thought maybe 100 people might see it…but I sure am glad I had it hosted somewhere else.

Back in March I posted to one of my favorite websites: Fark.com (come on, Drew Curtis!) but they never picked it up and I thought: eh, maybe it’s only cool to me and my family…we are biased after all.

I checked Google last Friday (August 4, 2006) and we had 5000 hits since March and I was shocked that so many people had seen it…I guess it was just from folks looking for pregnancy videos. I posted the video to Fark.com again and they still didn’t pick up (I still love you, Fark.com…) but then I posted to digg.com in the afternoon. I saw other videos with digg scores of 4 so I figured I would get maybe twenty. I got back to work and checked digg.com a few hours later…it was somewhere in the 800′s and folks in my office had seen it but didn’t realize it was mine. I had to jet to a doctor’s appt…by like 11:30 pm that night it was the most dugg story on digg.com despite the fact it posted around 1 pm. Saturday, it was number 18 on google’s top 100. Today (Sunday) it is in the top 10. Traffic to the video from Friday (after 1pm) and Saturday totals about 75,000 views…a few more than the 100 or so I expected. Who knows what tomorrow will hold?

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The Gestation Project


Looking for the gestation video? Here it is, '9 months of gestation in 20 seconds'. Watch the video, then check out the behind-the-scenes story and Carlin's take on being the subject of an internet sensation.


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