Considering my topic is improvising on piano, I felt this video-making opportunity should be taken for demonstrating how to improvise. That’s why I made a step-by-step instructional video for beginning piano improv.
My main inspirations for this were the Food Tube and Health Guru channels on YouTube. They led me to my decision of using a step-by-step format.
Since this video could only be two minutes long, I knew I could include only three steps at most. I thought that was perfect, however, since I wanted my lesson to appear as simple and easy-to-follow as possible. For the first step, I presented the notes I recommended using. In the next step, I suggested what you can do with your left hand. Lastly, I suggested what you can do with your right.
Each step is prefaced by a title card, then it is displayed by video of my hand on my piano paired with audio of my instructions. I took the title card idea from Health Guru, though I adapted it for my video’s style. Rather than flashy and colorful like Health Guru’s, I made my title cards monochromatic. That color scheme compliments the black-and-white of my piano in the recordings, and its simplicity helps my video story feel uncomplicated and approachable. But, just because I wanted the title cards simple doesn’t mean I wanted them boring. To liven them up, I paired them all with a piano lick I recorded.
I concluded my video story with a recording of me soloing. The purpose of this was to present what it looks and sounds like when you use the improv method I taught and practice it for a while. In other words, this ending shows viewers what they’re capable of if they follow my steps. I made it black-and-white to convey that it’s not an integral part of the video.
On the technical side, making my video story went pretty easily. The hardest part was only figuring out a way to record both my hands playing. (I taped my phone to my keyboard’s backboard).
After recording everything, including both video and audio, I imported it all to Premiere and paired the video clips with the necessary audio. I added checkerboard transitions to most of my video clips so the transition from title card to video would seem smoother. I then played with the audio clips’ volumes until all the sound was in a similar range.
The only challenge I had with the software was loudening some of the audio. Premiere has a volume limit, even though some audio clips might originally be very soft. This forced me into softening my video’s overall volume to compensate.
My advice to others beginning with Premiere is to not rely on queuing sequences to render them. When making my Premiere Tutorials videos, I had tons of trouble with rendering, and I think the Queue option was somehow responsible. When I used the basic “Export” option instead, most of my videos rendered successfully.