Behind the Scenes of The Quilting Company’s Video Studio

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The video studio in the Golden, Colorado, office of The Quilting Company is a busy place. Between the many quilt videos as well as sewing videos recorded there, it’s rare for the studio not to be a hub of activity.

I run into our video content manager Caitlin Dickey in the lunch room from time to time, but it had been a while since I talked with her about what she’s been working on. That’s because when quilting videos are being taped she spends all day in the studio, and she’s been in that studio a lot lately.

In addition to handling the logistics of booking and bringing quilt video instructors to Golden, Caitlin serves as the creative producer during the shoot. She helps the instructor plan exactly what the focus of the video will be, and coordinates what the instructor does with how the video crew will record it, both before and during taping. Even instructors with a lot of on-camera experience occasionally skip over something or lose their place, and Caitlin—herself an experienced quilter with retail quilt shop experience—is their eyes and ears who makes sure they cover everything and that the video crew gets all the shots needed.

Jenny Kae Parks (left) and Caitlin Dickey (right) walk through the steps of a tutorial before taping an episode of the Morris Star video series

Jenny Kae Parks (left) and Caitlin Dickey (right) walk through the steps of a tutorial before taping an episode of the Morris Star video series

 

She also understands the magical properties of caffeine. On a typical shooting day, the hair/makeup person arrives by 7:00 a.m. and the instructor arrives soon after to get ready. “We get a lot of talent who are not morning people,” Caitlin says. “A lot of our instructors bring sewing machines and sew in their hotel rooms at night, so 7:00 in the morning seems like an early call time. We try to get them coffee.”

Filming days can be long and tiring for the instructors. The video crew starts gearing up to shoot at 8:00 a.m. and cameras typically are rolling by 9:00 a.m. Depending on how many episodes are on the shooting schedule, they sometimes tape until 4:00 or 5:00 in the afternoon (with a break for lunch, of course).

For example, when shooting season 3 of “Absolute Beginner Machine Embroidery” hosted by Sara Gallegos, they taped 26 episodes and some bonus videos over the course of four days. It may not seem like much considering the episodes are only 8–12 minutes long, but it takes a lot of focus and energy on everyone’s part to set up and coordinate all of the materials and examples for each episode while making sure everything gets covered in the time allotted.

Of course, Sara Gallegos is an old pro at this, as she also hosts “Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting” on PBS* and the free “My First Quilt” series, which just launched season 3 here on The Quilting Company website. (Fun fact: “Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting” is also available for on-demand viewing here on our website, including “vintage” episodes starring Marianne and Liz!)

Sara Gallegos on the set of “Absolute Beginner Machine Embroidery”

Sara Gallegos on the set of “Absolute Beginner Machine Embroidery”

 

Most recently, Caitlin was in the studio overseeing the taping of two upcoming Block of the Month video series featuring another familiar face, Jenny Kae Parks. The Morris Star BOM videos will be released in April 2018, and the Primitive Lines BOM videos will be released the following month.

Jenny Kae Parks on the set of the Primitive Lines video series

Jenny Kae Parks on the set of the Primitive Lines video series

 

“We taped the videos using our new set design,” Caitlin says. “The background behind Jenny Kae looks more like a quilt gallery than simply a flat wall. You can see both BOM quilts in both series—it looks really cool.”

Jenny Kae Parks on the set of the Morris Star video series

Jenny Kae Parks on the set of the Morris Star video series

 

Caitlin describes the Morris Star BOM as very traditional and a little more challenging than most, saying this is a quilt intended for intermediate or advanced-intermediate quilters. The Primitive Lines BOM is a log cabin design with a lot of greens batiks. “I think people will really like it,” Caitlin says.

“Jenny Kae is a lot of fun to work with,” she continues. “She’s always completely on top of the projects and makes them interesting and enjoyable to work on; even techniques you’ve worked on a hundred times, she makes them new and interesting. She always has some sort of little tip or trick that makes it easier or faster.”

Caitlin sums up The Quilting Company’s quilting videos by saying, “If there’s a technique you want to learn, we have a video for you. We have more quilting videos than any other site or subscription. If you’re not finding something you want, then ask us because we’re always interested in new topics.”

As for what’s coming next, Caitlin will only say that some “big things” are on the horizon that should make a lot of quilters quite happy. “I think people will be very excited.” Stay tuned!

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