5 ideas for better fingerstyle videos

by Markus Stelzer

Who doesn’t know this problem? You upload a video on YouTube with great expectations and then are disappointed when it does not receive the expected views. There are several ways to counteract this. In addition to high-quality content, this includes the sharing of the video on all available social platforms as well as the high quality of the video material. At least with one of these problems we are going to help you this time: Paying attention to the following five aspects is going to improve the quality of your fingerstyle videos on YouTube.

The camera

The first step to improving your fingerstyle videos is by choosing a suitable camera. Smartphone cameras are often sufficient enough for filming videos in a high resolution. However, if you want to take your videos to the next level, you should probably have a DSLR camera (e.g. Canon, Nikon or Sony, see picture). The price or the brand of the camera do not really matter, but there are some things you should pay attention to.

Cameras for your fingerstyle videos
DSLR Cameras are available from 500€.

The camera should be able to record videos at least in full HD (1080p) quality. If you are mainly filming alone, you should think about a camera with a swiveling display. This makes ist easier for you to adjust the focus and you can check the effect of the chosen perspective while you play the guitar. In addition, you should get a lens which allows a good depth of field. Depth of field means that only a part of the image is displayed sharply while the rest is out of focus. This allows you to focus on specific areas in your video. To achieve this, you will need a lens with a fixed focal length. When choosing the lens, make sure it is compatible with your camera and the focal length is between 35mm and 50mm.

The positioning of the camera

If you shoot videos from your hand, the pictures often look very shaky. Additionally, if no one can help you with shooting your videos, looking for a stable position to place your camera will be difficult. In order to get a good video, it is therefore advisable to get a tripod. This allows you to place your camera in various positions and at the same time it provides steady images. When buying the tripod, make sure that the diameter of the thread is suitable for mounting the camera and the tripod has a secure stand.

tripod for your fingerstyle videos
You can get a tripod from 20€.

The lighting

An often underestimated aspect when shooting videos is having the right lighting. Even if you have an excellent camera, low light situations will provide you with only adequate picture quality. If, on the other hand, you are shooting with a smartphone camera with good lighting, very good results can be achieved. The best lighting is found in the open with an overcast sky, because in contrast to direct light from the sun or other sources, no disturbing shadows occur. Since it is not always possible to film outdoors, you should get a suitable light source for indoor recording.

Softboxes are available from 50€.

The available light sources are usually not sufficient to get high quality video results. Therefore you can use so-called softboxes, which produce a soft, daylight-like light. An alternative to the expensive softboxes are construction site spotlights. In contrast to softboxes, construction site spotlights produce a harder light which results in clear shadows. This can be reduced by attaching a pre-cut baking paper in front of the spotlight.

Several perspectives for your fingerstyle videos

If you have only one camera available but still want to mantain different camera positions, it is necessary to record the video playback. The first step for getting a multicamera video is recording the song without filming. Then you film the complete video from different perspectives while you play the song playback. In addition to the different camera shots, this has two advantages: There is no recording equipment visible and the video can be recorded at many different locations. The difficulty with playback is syncing image and sound. The song has to be played identically each time, as otherwise discrepancies between picture and sound can occur.

The sound

One of the most important aspects when recording a video is the sound. We will talk about the best way to record the guitar in the next episode of this short series.

One thought on “5 ideas for better fingerstyle videos

  1. Many thanks for sharing your insights of recording a video, Markus. A very informative blog and I’m looking forward to the sound episode.
    Greetings from Bernd

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