Suggestions for making a Workshop or Concert Performance Video
As explained here
, we are accepting You Tube
videos for the Virtual Concert night and (static, 'canned' so to
speak) workshops. You make a video, put it up on YouTube and then
send us the YouTube link "URL". Please send concert videos to
and static workshop videos to
. Submissions deadline is September 10th!
Your You Tube should have
- your name (or an alias) and the names, if any, of your co-conspirators
- tune or song title and composer, if known)
- optionally a description including such things as history, background & contact info and the like.
We want to hear your music, to host your concert performance and
workshop videos. The video doesn't need to be a polished
production, but....if you are interested, here are some ways to improve the
presentation of your videos.
Submitting your Video
- Please, when you submit a video, please put your name and the title of your submitted video in the email subject line.
- As directed in the Guide:
- As laid out at the bottom of this page are Video Submission Adivce and Requirements....
- Required reading! The 'thumbnail' image which will represent your video on the Concert webpage
- other tips about making your video look its best when it's put on the website
- requirements that must be followed on what you submit to be put on the website
Video making basics
Setting the stage
Consider what might detract from the video and:
- take the phone off the hook/disable the ringer...or anything else that might sound-bomb your video.
- listen for background noise. Our hearing screens it out so
we don't even think about it...but it sticks out like a sore thumb on a
recording. Is there a ceiling fan running (which will make a
concertina sound like an old Lesley Speaker),
a loud dishwasher or fridge, vehicle traffic? Is your significant
other making coffee or a clattering dishes in earshot? Recordings are
never perfect, but an ounce of care taken here will make a big difference.
- Accept and get easy with kids, pets and the significant other wandering around or otherwise affecting the video, so when it does happen when everything else is perfect, you make it part of the action.
- evaluate the lighting: does it look even and soft?
- look at how you look, listen to the sound quality. Figure it out before you make your performance video. Don't rush to
be done; you are having fun (right?). Start early so you'll have plenty of time to figure
- mess around with camera angle, background and
framing and look at what you've got. Does it look
good? How could it look/be better? Make some raw video, nothing deathless, and then let it sit for a day and
come back to it and really look at it.
- look at You Tubes: what are they doing right in the ones you like and what's wrong/annoying with ones you don't?
Setting up your equipment
Once you figure out how
you want to make the video, arrange
things so you can set up everything easily and right when you decide to
video. For instance, do you have a way to quickly set up your
camera/smartphone/tablet and get the camera angle right? There are
inexpensive adjustable holders for your smartphone
Getting comfortable with video
- Start early. Play around, enjoy yourself, make
any number of takes and get easy with making video. It should be
fun for you, that way it'll be fun for everyone else.
just making throw-away videos to get a feel for the media: what camera
angles work, what works for a background, that sort of stuff. Look at the videos and think about whether they look interesting. Show your work to your significant other, close friends; they may see things you don't.
- Work with the mechanics of video so it's as natural as brewing the morning's coffee.
Above all, have fun...this is an adventure
Spiffing up your video
Once you've got some video "in the can" of you making beautiful music and having fun, you might
want to polish it up a bit by:
- adding a title at the beginning
- cropping the video footage so that it just has you playing
(leave out the setup, false starts and getting up to turn your
video rig off)
- maybe doing a fade in and out of video and sound
have to do this, but if you want to polish it
up, you need to get a simple video editor to finish or produce
your video. Hey, you can be a producer, just like Spielberg!
Video editors are available free and can be relatively simple to
use; think of it like a word processor, but a video processor
Consider this video...
I started with raw video footage (chippage?) and did the steps
above. Only then did I upload it to You Tube.
Remember this is easy stuff... nothing's going to break. With
digital you can make plenty passes until you're satisfied.
Just make sure that:
- Once you get the raw video with good
staging/framing, clean sound, and no (bad) bobbles in your playing
and/or singing, set aside a copy, so if you muff the editing you
can start afresh using a new copy of that raw original footage. Never edit that original, edit a copy!!
- Every time you successfully get a major part of your editing done
(ex: you just finished all the cropping), save the project files (they
keep track of your changes). If things go bad, you can fall back to the last save.
Again, start early and play with the editor. It won't
bite you, and because you saved that copy of the raw video and your work at successive stages, you
can always go back to the last stage instead of starting all over again
Getting a free video editor
I use a PC and an archaic Windows free video editor called
MovieMaker. A free download of an updated version (for Windows 10
and DirectX 9) is available free from the Microsoft Store
There's an earlier version here for Windows 7,8,8.1,XP.
Moviemaker 2020. This is probably what I've been using for the
last couple of years
I make no representation for the safety of its download, though such
is generally safe.
Apple people may wish to suggest video editors for their OS, though
I suggest such be simple and free.
Video editor basics
You use a video editors in this way:
- You pull in a copy of the raw footage (same as you might edit
an old letter in a word processor)
- You do things to produce a clean video (like making a final
draft of a letter)
- The editor probably has a project file that tells the editor
what you have done to slice, dice and produce your video. You
should save this early and often. If you close out the video
editing session, the project file will save what you have done,
if you save the file before exit...and when you come back to it,
it will restore your editing session as you left it.
- As you go along with editing, you can generate a video with
all your changes so far: your finished, produced movie video
You are saving three things:
- your original raw video recording (which you only ever make copies of),
- your project file that records your editing work,
at any point, you can tell the editor to produce a movie (usually in
MP4 file format) that incorporates all your work so far. This is called exporting or rendering, and it takes a while. YOu might get a cup of coffe while you're waiting.
So as you go along,
- you can see what you've done with your editing by playing it
in the editor,
- you repeatedly save your project file to save your work and
its changes, just like you do in writing a letter with a word processor,
- ....and every so often, render your movie in MP4 format and see
how it looks full screen;
- at the very end, make your final cut: the MP4 that you upload to YouTube.
A caution: video editors generally come with a a lot of whiz-bang
effects that are over the top (and can make you look like an idiot
if you indulge, like writing a letter with twenty different fonts).
What you need to do is to not be distracted by the bells and whistles
and Just Learn the
- pulling raw footage into the video
- saving not only your produced footage but also the project
files that tell the editor where to put and get things. Save
early and often to protect your work
- cropping your footage
- sticking a title on the front and maybe some credits at the
- For extra points, simple fades in and out, ditto with the
sound. The editor will probably have a way to adjust sound
volume and image brightness.
- Play around with the raw footage video making.
- Once you've got good raw footage, play around with
- Be careful to save that virgin raw footage aside and Do Not
Edit It....you make a copy of it and edit that.
- Save early and often, the project files as well as
the produced video.
- When you're done, make the final produced video high rez if you can, 1080 or better.
- Two watch words: Play Around and K.I.S.S.(Keep it Simple
Stupid). I think you will find the your video editor will be
easy to manipulate and produce well formed video once you get
beyond the initial awkwardness of What the Dickens Do All These
Controls DO??? Again play around and learn the basics
are 90% of what you need....and KISS.
- If you muff up something on YouTube, delete it and reload it.
Remember to provide comments
- Note the limits set up in the Guide, "one tune or one song or a short set of tunes, ideally 5 minutes and
8 minutes max including any intro comments"
Make it fun, and work with other squeezers; learn and share from
Oh...all suggestions and corrections gratefully accepted by Stewart
Some advice and requirements for your video submission
Whether you are making a static video workshop or a concert video, you should look at this sample page
Yes, I know it's for the concert, but the static workshop video will be similarly displayed.
Some things to think about:
High resolution video
Please beg, borrow or steal a device that will do sharp, preferably
high resolution. Yes, the sound comes first, but think about the quality
of the image too.. It's a pity when you've made your made your video
and the image is so blurry you can hardly make out what's happening,
worse if you assembled a bunch of people for your piece and you can't
hardly recognize them in the video.. As I try to suggest in here, try stuff first! Pick
your venue, figure out lighting, camera angles, all that good
stuff.....but then shoot some video with someone clowning around where
you're going to be making the video and see if that looks (and sounds)
The "thumbnail" image for your video on the webpage.
Each video will get a thumbnail picture just as you see on the web page, a
little wider than square (actually 293 pixels wide by 241 high, a 4 by 3
ratio, etc.): an image that presents your
video. It is in the bounding box proportion shown at the left.
With a physical performance I'd have taken a picture like I did in
the sample concert page, cropped it and dropped it in place.
BUT...videos are usually a super-wide landscape rectangle almost twice
as wide as it is tall. If the video is of a single
person, with maybe a cat wandering in or even two players (side by
side), I can do a screen capture from the video that will give me what
I need. But if the video is of a duet or trio spaced apart, I
have the problem that I can't grab the image, without something like
this on the right happening. In this example, the musicians are
beautifully distanced for covid, but not for the image I need.
group or one of those Zoom mosaics (of each person in their own little
square) also causes problems, since there's no way to crop out an image
that does leave a lot of people out. Of course, I could just
stick the whole superwide video image into the bounding box which looks
like this on the right, but this leaves empty black space below the
full width video rectangle.
So Please! Unless you are doing a solo act, send me a thumbnail of your own
creation that just fits the place where an image goes
for your concert
or static workshop pieces. If you can come close to 293x241 pixels...or
586x482 pixels...or 1"wide by a little over 3/4" high....or 4" wide by
3".....a 4 wide by 3 high ratio....that'd be just dandy. You may wish
to send me a thumbnail even if you're doing a solo video where I might
do a screen-capture just fine....because you
want that image to be just so.
I want you to be presented the way you want and looking good.
So your choice: I either
- Screen-capture an image from your video, (either
cropping it to 4x3 or, for a big group, putting it at the top of your
display cell, with black at the bottom of the cell)
- send me a
thumbnail image and I will use that. You can send me a thumbnail for a video
you've already submitted, if you get it in by the deadline of 9/10. Do
NOT send it to my personal email, as with the videos, send it to
email@example.com OR firstname.lastname@example.org as
approriate and directed in the VNESI guide
You get two lines with 35 characters on each line. Standard
format is your name or the name of the group on the top line, tune
title and maybe the composer on the second. That's it. If
you want to list the participants, do it in the descriptive text for
the video on the video hosting site (like YouTube), ditto for anything
else like the arranger and the person that brought donuts. And
no, you cannot use the black space under a full width video rectangle
for more text.
So! You are warned and informed. Go out and knock us dead with your video.