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How I create my video lessons

Someone asked me recently about the technology I use to create my video lessons.

He was reacting to the recent lesson from my online course Improvisation Savvy that I shared publicly.

As I wrote in my response, which I’ll post below, I have always believed in putting forth the highest possible quality in everything I do.

I responded:

Regarding my video setup, I use a Canon XA30 camera about 10 feet away zoomed pretty close in order to provide a little depth of field. I slightly sharpen and color correct the video in post.

For audio, I use a Rode Lavalier mic which is connected to one of the XLR inputs of the camera.

For my playing, I have my beloved Neumann M149 in front of me off camera going into my Apollo interface using the Manley VoxBox software preamp which gets recorded directly into Logic. After my video is recorded, I insert that compressed and light reverb-processed trombone recording into the video, replacing what the lavalier picked up. If I am playing with a rhythm track in the video (like this one), I have it playing softly in the background just enough to hear (which unfortunately is sometimes difficult to hear while I play) so that it isn’t picked up in the Neumann. I do that so I can mix the recorded clean trombone back into the final video along with the rhythm track without live bleed.

“Why don’t you just save all that trouble and record everything at once with the built-in mic on your camera?”

Well, because I want to capture the best possible sound from the voice and instrument so that the ideas I am presenting have the greatest possible impact on the listener. (Plus I’m a perfectionist!)

You’ll notice paintings in back of me in my formal lessons and also in these videos. I painted those with my brand colors and placed them on my various studio walls to provide a nice cohesive background.

I look and listen back to videos I did years ago without any of this and sometimes cringe, but through those early videos, I’ve learned.

I am a little nutty about the details of everything I create, but I’ve grown to believe they matter in the end.

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1 thought on “How I create my video lessons”

  1. Your lessons have kept me going through Covid-19. I have some old 78s recorded on vinyl by a relative in 1949. A lot of noise and clicks and such on these home made records even after a good delicate record washing. The tech guy that you are, I must transfer these 78s to digital then clean them up. Do you have any advise on methodologies and electronics needed? Do you have a recommended software to analyze and edit these recordings? Low cost to maybe $150.

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Picture of Michael Lake

Michael Lake

Trombonist, author, marketer, & tech guy

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