How I make my video tutorials:

In this article i go into detail on how i create the video tutorials for joerundpiano. For those who haven’t seen them go to my youtubechannel and take a look.

Time Manangment:

Creating the video tutorials is  a process lasting from 2-6 hours for every video. If I already know the song and have the sheet music it can be done pretty fast. This is a rough estimate:

  • The setup and filming takes 30 minutes.
  • The screen capturing of the midi and sheet music takes 30 minutes.
  • The Exporting and uploading takes 20 minutes.
  • Then I wait a day or so until my brother Vidar has done the audio/video synching and video layering.
  • I then use 20 minutes to write the blogpost and youtube information/tags.

If its a complex song, a song I don’t know, and i need to create the sheet music it takes much longer.

My Hardware setup:

I got a Yamaha MOTIF XF 8 keyboard, a iPhone 4s, a Mac Pro from 2008 (10gb ram and SD-drive), and  a saffire PRO 24 DSP sound card.


Screen Capture Tool:

Sibelius 6: Sheet Music

Ableton Live: Audio/Midi Recording

VMPK: Virtual Midi Keyboard

Dropbox: Sharing huge files

Step by Step:

My Video Consist of 3 different layers.

  1. My hands and keyboard
  2. Virtual Keyboard
  3. Sheet Music

Filming my hands and the keyboard:

My Setup:

I use the default camera app on my iPhone 4s to film my hands and keyboard. It is put in the right angle and distance from my keyboard by using a micstand. I bought an inexpensive tripod and used duct tape to mount the tripod to my stand until the tripod broke 😦
Now i use the microphone holder for my AKG mic; Covering the bottom with duct tape 🙂 and laying the phone face up on the tape.

My Office:

There are many ways to do this. For a permanent setup using a camera check out this DYI article:

Simultaneously as the iPhone records video, I record audio and midi data to my computer using Ableton Live. Any Daw-software would do the trick along as it can route the MIDI to another software. I use Live only cause it came free with my sound-card. I set the metronome in Live and play on click.


I use the default template including 1 audio stereo track and 1 midi track:

I upload the video film from my iPhone directly to my dropbox account. This takes several hours.

Picture from Ableton live:

Screenshot 2014-02-11 20.45.04

Filming the Virtual Keyboard:

For the Virtual Midi Keys I use a free software called VMPK. It is very easy to use. You cannot record or save any data with it. So you either need to screen capture as you play on your keyboard or us another software to record the midi. The midi file can later send to VMPK and you can capture the screen later. The program allows note names, touch sensitive coloring and you can change octaves +++.

Picture from  VMPK:

Screenshot 2014-02-11 20.46.07

To get the colored notes on the virtual keyboard I need to record the MIDI data from my MOTIF. I plug the USB into my Mac Pro and it automatically connects to Ableton Live.

Screenshot 2014-02-11 20.45.13

After Ive done the initial recording
(audio, midi and iPhone). I open VMPK
and choose midi output from Live to VMPK.
 The setting is on the midi track in Live Midi to.

Picture Showing the midi track output in Live:

Screenshot 2014-02-11 20.47.51

I Open Screen ScreenCapture Tool and choose video recording custom area in the preferences.

Picture from Screen Capture Tool:

I mark size of my screen that is covered by the keys in VMPK and start recording. I then go to Live and press play 10 seconds before the first midi strike, allowing me to go to VMPK as the “top-program”.

I then drink a cup of coffee while waiting for the entire song to play.

The video film opens in quicktime when i stop the recording and i export it in HD to my dropbox account.

Filming the Sheet Music:

I create all the sheet music i use in my piano teaching so that it is custom designed to my style of teaching and corresponds with the level of the student. This is quite time consuming and is a skill its taken
years to develop. The ear training, complex sheet-software and knowing what to include and exclude from the sheet is quite the process.

Picture taken while I’m working on a sheet in Sibelius 6:

When the sheet is done i set the metronome in sibelius matching the recorded tempo.

Sibelius has this panorama feature creating a single system that moves infinitely from left to right.

Sibelius in Panorama Mode:

I open Screen Capture Tool and set the custom area so it records a marked area of my screen only including the sibelius staffs. I press play in Sibelius and then its time for another cup of coffee. 🙂


First of all Im not sure if i need to include the sheet music.

Who reads pop-sheets anyways?
Second; It is possible to open the MIDI file in sibelius. Ive found it more time consuming to edit the mess than to create it from scratch. I also learn the tune while creating the sheet.


When all the files (audio, iPhone movie, sheet capture and virtual keyboard capture) is uploaded to dropbox my work is over 🙂

My dear brother Vidar does my video layering and audio/video post synching. He does some cropping and stretching so that the iPhone movie and virtual keys match in size. He adds a short intro and sends it back to me before i upload it on youtube.


One could exclude either the midi keyboard or the video of the hands and keyboard from the tutorial. If you also use still pictures from the sheet (4 or 8 bars in every picture) all the video  editing could be done using iMovie or any other easy to use vide editing software.

3 thoughts on “How I make my video tutorials:

  1. Hi Joe!
    Great article – just where I needed it.
    A question: how do you film your fingers in such a manner that the real keyboard fits excactly your virtual one? It’s great on YouTube!
    I do here in Israel theory of music lessons and I want to start a course teaching basic piano accompaniment…

    1. Hi sorry for the extreme delay in my response. Didn’t realize there were a comment here before now. A friend of mine uses the video editing program vegas studio and does some cropping of the video so that it matches the virtual keys. Because of the camera angle the keys in the middle appears bigger then the upper and lower keys and he has to crop and “bend” the video so that it matches. I don’t know the specifics of how this is done.

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