The Videos

I get asked a lot what equipment I use for my pictures and videos, and how I edit them etc., so I want to shed some light on that. Last week I gave you some insights on my pictures and this week I’m gonna tell you a bit about my videos.

Ideas

I have a very long list of songs that I want to play – and when I say very long, I mean more than 200 songs long. When I hear a song or think of a song I want to cover, I usually put it on my google docs list. Every now and then I check the list and see what songs I want to do in the next couple of weeks. Lately I’ve been doing lots of original songs as well. So there’s even more to choose from – but it’s also easier, because I really want to share my originals with you and usually prioritize them over covers songs.

Practice

I always wish that this point wouldn’t be necessary, but it really is. So when I know what songs I want to record for the next couple of weeks, I start learning them. I try out different strum patterns (and usually resort do DDU UDU) and try out different keys (usually ending up with one that does not suite my voice at all). So as you can see, this is still really difficult for me.

Then I try to play the songs as much as possible and try to work on passages that might be tricky for me. I’m not gonna lie – sometimes practicing the songs means playing them once before I record them. But you know, sometimes it means actually practicing them for weeks before I record them. It really depends on how difficult they are, how much they mean to me and how much time I can spare.

Setup

You might have notices that I usually record in front of a white wall. This wall is in our dining room/kitchen area. I usually sit at our dining table where I also lay out the chords and lyrics. I use an app that scrolls for me but there will be a special blog post about my favorite ukulele apps in the next couple of weeks.

To get the camera on the right hight to be in front of my face and not film me from below, I use two yoga blocks 😉 They work perfectly. If our dining table wouldn’t be in the way, I’d probably use a tripod.

I have hubby help me with the camera, so I don’t have to use autofocus (this can look weird when you’re moving while playing and the focus keeps readjusting) but after that I’m the one pushing all the buttons.

While recording I also write down all the takes and circle the ones that I think were the best. This makes editing so much easier, when I don’t have to go through all the takes again to find the best one.

It’s perfectly normal to get nervous in front of a camera. Even songs that you can play by heart and have played for a long time can become difficult once the red light is on.

When I first started recording it sometimes took me 8-10 takes to get one recording that I liked because I was so nervous. After more than a year I’m now down to 1-2 (sometimes 3-4 if I just learned the song 10 minutes before). What I’m trying to say is: “It gets better”

After a while you won’t be that nervous anymore and recording will be a lot faster that in the beginning.

Tech

I use the Canon EOS 5DS R  for all my videos. As I said, it’s not mine, it belongs to hubby and he is the one who know what to do with it 😉 We use a 16-35mm lens. We also tried it with a 40mm – looked fine, and a 50mm, which made me look about 20 pounds heavier than I actually am, so that was not an option 😉

I also use an external microphone. A Boya BY-MM1 that I bought to actually use for my smartphone, but also works with our DSLR. I used to record my videos with my smartphone. Somehow the audio was just always real crappy. I guess it works great if you have an IOS but not so much with Android. So I switched to DSLR and I’m really happy with it.

Editing

I used to edit all my videos with various apps on my phone – they always messed with the quality of the video though and since Instagram does that as well, it often turned out crappy. I switched to editing with Adobe Premiere a couple of months ago and I’m really happy I did. It’s actually a lot faster than doing it on my smartphone and the quality is a lot better.

The only issue I now have, is Instagram not loading in a good quality or rendering it down to a low quality (not always just sometimes). Not sure if that’s a regional issue or just my phone though. I’ve seen this problem with lots of other videos as well, so I guess it’s just Instagram not being able to deal with that much data.

As for editing, I usually render the videos in 1080×1080 and use them for my feed as well as for IGTV. I just render one video in full length. Instagram will cut it for my feed at one minute anyway and I can upload full length to IGTV. IGTV will however cut something from the sides of the video, to the the special format.

Here are some pictures of my setup:

Let me know in the comments if this was helpful for you (and what else you’d like to know).

xoxo Nikky