Blog 03 - What do I use to record Instagram videos?

I'm just going to apologies in advance for the mass of text but here it is!

I get asked all the time “what do you use to record your videos?”. And the answer is usually simple. I try to use as little as possible. Setting up a big rig with multiple cameras etc just isn’t practical for me and it takes away from the “flow” that I try to capture with my videos.

That being said, I’ve made sure that I have all the little gadgets I need to capture those moments with minimal effort.

All products listed will be linked with an Amazon link to check out, simply click on the name of it. And if you do use those links, I get a small % out of it so it helps me out 🙂.

First thing’s first; the camera. When I'm not using my iPhone, I use an Olympus pen Epl 7 to record most of my videos and photos. The good thing about this camera is how easy it is to use compared to some DSLR cameras. The size is also a major factor as it fits nicely in a small compartment of any gig bag, so it makes it easy for travelling/recording sessions and gigs. 

Aside from the size and ease of use, the picture quality is fantastic with the stock lens. In addition to this, the sound quality is decent too. I hardly ever spend time recording my amp on Logic then syncing it up with the video because it does the job.

So if you’re looking for a fairly priced camera that will do all the work for you, then this is great. However, I’ve added a few different lenses to my collection to up the quality significantly.

The Olympus 45mm and 25mm digital lenses make a huge difference to the quality of video I’m able to capture. My go-to lens is now the 25mm because it’s the most practical size I would need for any situation. 

Tip: natural lighting is key. If you have a half decent camera (even on your phone) then having nice natural lighting will help. Simply make sure you’re facing into the light to capture all the details in your video.

But sometimes we don’t have natural lighting available to us, so I use this simple camera light.

It’s great because you can select the amount of light you want and it comes with a few different filters for different light diffusion effects. Just buy two batteries so that one is always charged and you’ll be good to go. I use these for my Skype lessons all the time.

Tripods- I use two tripods; one for my camera and one for my light. This one is fantastic because you can put it anywhere really quickly. So it’s especially useful if you want to experiment with different angles with your lighting or videos.

Tip: Try and make sure that your videos are formatted in the most optimal way for each platform. YouTube is going to use landscape videos but Instagram prefers portrait videos. You can use landscape videos on Instagram but they never seem to perform as well as portrait ones. Plus you can have your whole body in the shot with a portrait one which is always important to consider every now and then; it lets your audience know that you’re a real human being and not just 2 hands playing a guitar (landscape videos 😛).

This little phone holder helps with shooting in portrait! 

The things listed so far as literally all you need to get started in making killer videos. But if you’re interested in what I use to make a more high quality video, here’s my process:

 

1-    Record audio from my guitar, to my amp with a Shure sm57.

2-    Record into a Zoom R16 Multitrack Recorder .

3-    Into Logic Pro X on my Macbook Pro.

4-    Any extra instruments are added with my Akai LPK25 midi keyboard.

5-    Or I use my new Jamstik + which is an awesome little midi guitar thing.

And BAM! You have much better audio on your videos. Just open up iMovie, add some Ken Burns for those stupid zooms and there you go; Bob’s your uncle.

 

I hope this blog post was useful! Please let me know in the comments below if you have any questions or feel free to email me rhysgilchristguitar@hotmail.com

Blog 02 - Four Great Music Books You Should Check Out!

You asked for a few of my favourite music books so here they are in no particular order! 

Got an idea for a future blog post? email me - rhysgilchristguitar@hotmail.com

 

The Jazz Theory Book
By Mark Levine

The Jazz Theory Book- Mark Levine
 

Want to start learning Jazz but not sure where to start? This book is perfect for you! It starts with the very basics of music theory and builds up to some more advanced concepts including: melodic minor and diminished scales, playing outside, advanced reharmonisation and Coltrane changes. A great resource for students and teachers! Chapters are as follows:

  1. Theory: Chords and Scales- Basic theory, major scales, II-V-Is as well as Major, Melodic Minor, Diminished and Whole-Tone harmony as their uses and applications.
  2. Improvisation: Playin' The Changes - a more practical description of how to utilise the material explored in chapter 1 as well as tips on practice, a few jazz standards and other scale choices.
  3. Reharmonization-  The final chapter explores basic and advanced reharmonization techniques as well as providing examples of 3 tunes that have been reharmonized.

A solid book for any budding jazz musician or music teacher.

Effortless Mastery
By Kenny Werner

Effortless Mastery- Kenny Werner
 

This book is probably my favourite book ever. It literally changed my approach to music and I'm so grateful to have been given the book from a teacher at the right time in life.

I recommend it to all my students and they're also grateful for it! It's not going to give you any advice about music theory or technique but it will give you really incredible insight and information on how to become the best version of yourself as a musician and "liberate the master musician within". 

    The book is really a mindfulness book for musicians but anyone could      read it and still reap the benefits. I'm not sure what to say about it other than just buy it! 

 

THE Music Lesson
By Victor L. Wooten

The Music Lesson - Victor Wooten

Another more spiritual book but very different to effortless mastery. This book details a "music lesson" that Victor Wooten had. It's written as though Wooten was sitting next to you telling you a story and can be pretty funny at times because of this. However, it does explore some serious concepts within music and provides insight in the areas of: groove, notes, articulation, technique, emotion/feel, dynamics, rhythm/tempo, tone, phrasing, space and listening. 

Again, it's a bit of a music philosophy book, but with much more practical advice and examples of how he personally worked on each of these topics. Each chapter even has a measure of music written for it to demonstrate the point of the chapter which is a cool little touch.

   A really great and fun read for musicians of any level!

 

Chord Chemistry
By Ted Greene

Chord Chemistry- Ted Greene

The last book is going to be a more practical one. Ted Greene's "Chord Chemistry" contains a plethora of chord charts designed to inspire creativity in guitarists. Literally just open the book anywhere and find a new voicing to work on for the day. As well as thousands of chord charts, Greene explains his approach in using these chords, playing technique, ear training and the theory behind pretty much any chord you'll ever have to play! 

    Even if you're not looking to specifically build on your chordal  knowledge, this is a great book to have around.

 

I hope you enjoyed this blog post! Remember that you can purchase any of these books by clicking the "Buy on Amazon" photo.

Blog 01 - Q & A

Hey! Hope you're having a great day. I've never blogged before but I'm looking forward to it. I figured I'd open it up to a Q&A for my first post so here we go!

  • jhartguitar Q: what is your personal recipe for ‘success’ within the music community? I.e. some people just get lucky, some start with a lot of money, some are just super creative but others like myself have all the skills and work super hard but can’t seem to further my popularity. What would you say to these kinds of people? Cz there’s a lot of them. 🙏🏽🔥

A: Good question! I think this depends on what you definition of success is... For me, success is not at all defined by the amount of followers I have, or how much money is in my savings. For me it's really just about staying true to myself as a musician whilst having as much fun as possible and helping others do the same... If I can live a life like this, then I'd consider myself to be successful. And I've heard your playing, you are successful! I get that this answer might be pretty subjective but I've never saw success as being something that related to one's wealth or popularity. But if you're talking about how to market yourself on social media, that's a whole other topic! I can cover that another time if enough people ask.

 

  • omerekeryilmaz Q: Can you give some information about your music education and school life?  

A: Thanks for your question! So I didn't have any special music education when I was younger. I went to a normal school and started playing guitar when I was 11/12 year old. Then I went to college and got a BMus Degree (Music). My degree is through Kingston University in London but I done it on campus in Edinburgh. It was a great experience but if I was to do it again, I'd probably go for the full on Jazz College thing.  

 

  • Everyone on Instagram Q: Can I have TABs for this video?

A: Yes! Click here 

 

  • ej_swartz Q: What advice do you have for young musicians and songwriters about making it in the industry?


A: Honestly, the best advice I could give you is to really work on finding your own voice. Spend as much time as possible with your instrument, developing your craft and learning about music. Assuming you've already got that down, then just go for it. Get yourself out there: play shows, release music, network, make mistakes but do whatever you can! Nowadays everyone has the same opportunity because of social media. There's no reason why you shouldn't be sharing your music and making friends all over the world. It's one of the most sensible decisions I've made in my career and it's free :-)!
 

 

  • lewwg_Q: who is Boggy Pete? I’ve heard his name on the streets, apparently he’s a friend of yours.

A: http://worms.wikia.com/wiki/Boggy_Pete

 

A: I think when you're new to any instrument, the best thing to do is learn some of your favourite tunes! But if you're looking to go down the route of learning applied theory then you gotta learn the major scale. All the info you need to start building chords, other scales, arpeggios etc is contained within that one scale. Learn it all over the fretboard, in all positions and then understand the role of each interval and start building chords, other scales etc based of the intervals... I'm not going to go too into this because it'll become a lesson! But this is a simple place to start and you could spend years working on all the elements that come out of it. Of course rhythm is important too...

 

  • Pookhan Q: Been playing guitar for 15 years, mainly rock and metal. I want to get into jazz; what's the bet starting point?

A: So learning jazz is like learning another language. If you were learning another language for the first time, would you hone in on the small details like grammar or just learn some basic sentences to get you going? I'd say the latter! So what I recommend is spending some time learning your favourite jazz tunes as a means to learning some more vocabulary. Then you can worry about learning scales, chords etc. If you're not sure where to start, check out people like Joe Pass, Charlie Parker and John Coltrane :-). Hope this helps!

 

A: This is a great question but I'm going to try and not get too deep and philosophical on it! The very fact that music is limitless just excites me; I'll never be finished! And that's totally cool because there's so much I want to work on. But when it comes to "inspiration" and my basic answer to this question doesn't help there are a few things I'll try:

  1. Listen to music you really, really enjoy. I find myself checking out Pat Metheny when I feel uninspired. 
  2. Learn something new: a new genre, lick, or song.
  3. Transcribe more. As an improviser, I often feel uninspired when I'm not playing anything new or exciting, so spend some time transcribing your favourite solos and study what it is that you like, then apply that in your own solos or compositions etc.
  4. This one is really helpful for me when I've been in a rut for a long time. TAKE A BREAK. There is no harm in taking time away from the instrument. Sure, you might need a day or two of shedding to get back into the groove, but nothing helps me more than time away on holiday or just a few days of hanging out with friends. I always come back much more focused and have a better idea of where to go with my playing.

I hope this helps, man!

 

That's all for today! Sorry if your question wasn't chosen, maybe I'll do it in the next one.

If you have any comments or suggestions for this blog, leave them in the comment section below :-) (I think this works!)

Cheers!