Uses This

A collection of nerdy interviews asking people from all walks of life what they use to get the job done

A picture of Molly Mary O'Brien

Molly Mary O'Brien

Video producer, writer

Who are you, and what do you do?

I am Molly Mary O'Brien, a video producer and writer living in Brooklyn, NY. My full-time job is making videos for the health and wellness site Well+Good, but in my spare time I am always experimenting with making other video things. Documenting and sharing peoples' creative processes in video form is very satisfying to me; here's a short profile I made about visual storyteller Bianca Ng for a series I started called people making cool things. I'm also getting more into shooting performance-based stuff like music, dance and comedy. When I REALLY have extra brain space, I enjoy writing fiction. I like experimenting with formats and trying weird visual things — this is a short story I wrote in the form of a music festival poster.

I also co-host a biweekly podcast with my boyfriend Chris Wade called And Introducing, which is about "words about music," aka musician memoirs and biographies, criticism, interviews, and less-classifiable mediums (here's an episode we did with Hillary Benton about her investigative PowerPoint presentation about the hidden meaning of Lorde's album Melodrama). I do the pre-production and Chris engineers and edits each episode (and also composes the theme music for each).

What hardware do you use?

My computer is a 13" 2015 MacBook Air which is fine for cutting simple social videos but starts wheezing when I try to do anything with 4k footage. I only got into shooting + editing video last year and this machine needs an upgrade badly!

My camera is a Panasonic GH4 (great for beginners). I have a Rode VideoMic Go shotgun mic, a very cheap Amazon Basics tripod, and the LimoStudio softbox light kit, which is nice cost-effective lighting to have on hand. I also just got a Canon VIXIA R800 camcorder that I'm kind of obsessed with. I was weirdly inspired by Kylie Jenner's birth announcement video, some of which was shot with camcorders; it had a warmth and intimacy that I found fascinating, so I wanted to start making stuff with one.

I usually am several models of iPhone behind the current one and was rocking an iPhone 6 til this past April when I lost it at a mosh pit at Coachella — so I decided to treat myself to the 8+ in all its Portrait Mode glory. I had to get Jabra Move Bluetooth headphones to accommodate the 8+ because keeping track of that Lightning-to-3.5mm dongle suuuucks so wireless headphones it is. I use the Wirecutter for lots of my gear recommendations and they suggested the Jabras as an affordable option.

And what software?

I edit on Adobe Premiere Pro. I write most things, including podcast notes and fiction, on Google Docs, though I'm always on a futile search for The Perfect Minimal Word Processor. I use Gmail and Slack for work-related communication and dig Celtx for writing scripts. On my phone I use Instagram all the dang time, the Kindle app for reading library books on my phone, the TeuxDeux app (which is just my dream to-do list functionality, shoutout to Tina Roth Eisenberg for making that particular jam), Nike Training Club for workouts, and HUJI Cam for taking trendy-ass disposable camera looking pics (their tagline is "just like the year 1998"). I purposefully keep the Facebook and Twitter apps off my phone, and I do this thing where I put all my apps in one folder on the 2nd page of the homescreen so as to keep mindless app-tapping to a minimum. I learned this tactic, no joke, from googling "marie kondo your phone" and I actually love it.

Oh! I am very into the Golden Thread Tarot app. So well-designed, great for anyone who wants to dabble in the decks.

What would be your dream setup?

I think I've got it pretty good, and have been blessed with having enough money to acquire the gear to help further my creative pursuits. I am definitely eyeing a nicer desktop setup, like a 27" iMac, so I'm not constantly murdering my comp with high-res footage, and I'd love to eventually own some lav mics for documentary stuff. Other than that, just more hours in the day would be a nice setup.