How I make my videos…

June 2nd, 2017|Various|34 Comments

In this post I will go very briefly through how I make my videos (as of June 2017). I will link to other posts that go more in depth with some of the stuff.

My setup

Below you can see my lit­tle setup con­sist­ing of a Roland RD-800 key­board, an Avid Mbox audio-inter­face and a pow­er­ful com­puter. This is basi­cally what you need to start mak­ing some piano record­ings — and you don’t have to throw away all your money on expen­sive stuff like I have been stu­pid enough to do ;)

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Audio — The Piano

When pro­duc­ing the audio there are gen­er­ally two approaches. The audio can be pro­duced directly on the com­puter using MIDI along with a soft­ware piano (VST) or the actual sound of the key­board can be recorded. I always pro­duce using MIDI and this is the method I highly rec­om­mend. In order to do that I con­nect my key­board to my com­puter using an audio-inter­face. In Logic Pro X I record the MIDI file and then I pro­duce the sound with soft­ware instru­ments.

If you have no idea what I’m talk­ing about and what MIDI is then I sug­gest you read this arti­cle — “What is MIDI?”. Fur­ther, you can read this note about soft­ware instru­ments.

I use the soft­ware pianos from Syn­th­ogy called IVORY II. More specif­i­cally I use the Amer­i­can Con­cert D (Stein­way), Ital­ian Grand (Fazi­oli) and the three other grand pianos in Syn­th­ogy’s grand piano pack­age.

The pianos men­tioned above sounds beau­ti­fully alone, how­ever, I add exter­nal reverb to get an even richer sound. Here I use the PCM Reverb bun­dle from Lex­i­con which is great. This really affects the sound more than you would believe.

I also use equal­izer and other pro­cess­ing tools in order to improve the over­all sound qual­ity. I do not have any other expe­ri­ence in the pro­duc­tion of music than my works on YT but I feel that I have already learned a lot and keeps get­ting bet­ter.

Audio — Backing tracks

I often use back­ing tracks for my pieces (pri­mar­ily strings). I have a lot of soft­ware instru­ments but I pri­mar­ily use a VST called Cin­e­matic Strings and some­times also the Emo­tional Cello from Har­monic Subtones. After the record­ing of the piano track I pro­duce the strings track and add it to the final mix.


The video pro­duc­tion is sim­ple. I have a Canon EOS 550D cam­era (hop­ing to upgrade soon) with a 50–200mm Canon lens. I place my key­board in the mid­dle of my room and add some light sources — voila! While record­ing the video I record the MIDI file in Logic. Then I edit the audio and add it to the video file after­wards. I edit the video in Final Cut Pro.

If you have any ques­tions leave a reply below! /​Jacob



  1. Sophia June 10, 2017 at 9:50 am - Reply

    But how much time do you spend work­ing out your hands and fore­arms to make them look so per­fect for the record­ings?

    Love all the great con­tent of yours — keep inspire :-)


  2. Logan Miles Olson June 19, 2017 at 11:37 pm - Reply

    So, are we hear­ing mul­ti­ple tracks on the inter­steller record­ing?

    • Jacob's Piano June 21, 2017 at 9:47 pm - Reply

      Hello Logan.

      The descrip­tion above describes how I am cur­rently mak­ing my videos. When I made the Inter­stel­lar video I was sim­ply record­ing the audio from my old key­board. The audio from the key­board was a layer with a piano sound and a pad sound. Fur­ther, I recorded a strings track on the key­board after­wards and added it to the final mix.


  3. Roux October 8, 2017 at 8:52 pm - Reply

    Bon­jour , j’aimerais savoir tout sim­ple­ment com­ment vous fesez vous les effets sonore quand vous nous emporté avec inter­stel­lar j’ai l’im­pres­sion que vous jouer avec trois pédales , et quel pro­gramme aussi sur l’écran , je vous pose la ques­tion parce que je vais inve­stire dans ce fameux juno stage , je suis débu­tant mais ça com­mence a venir sèrieuse­ment
    Pou­vez vous me répon­dre à ce sujet la ?
    En tout cas bravo Jacobs Cdt a vous enten­dre.
    ( essaye de me répon­dre en français )

  4. wb January 6, 2018 at 5:35 pm - Reply

    Hi, great post :)) … how do you get the falling notes (i guess Syn­the­sia) into your video. Do you record the screen? Thanks!

  5. Gerard Viegas January 26, 2018 at 5:52 pm - Reply

    Which dig­i­tal pianos, being played in the videos, have you been work­ing on?

  6. Robert Mendez March 6, 2018 at 6:56 pm - Reply

    Ques­tion, hope you can respond. While I record MIDI with my piano, some­times the notes I play will con­tinue to sus­tain even after I let go of the sus­tain pedal. Not sure what is caus­ing this but it’s some­what frus­trat­ing as it does­n’t sound too pleas­ing while some notes con­tinue to sus­tain when they should­n’t. Any idea as to what might be caus­ing this? I’m using a Yamaha YDP163 Piano and I am also record­ing in Logic Pro X on my Mac­Book Pro. Thanks!

    • Jacob's Piano March 6, 2018 at 8:44 pm - Reply

      Hi Robert! I have expe­ri­enced that, but only one or two times… I hon­estly have no idea what is caus­ing it :( It may have some­thing with your keyboard/​MIDI con­troller. When I was record­ing with my old key­board each MIDI notes was dupli­cated — that issue dis­ap­peared when I bought a new key­board. So I’m pretty sure the issue is in your MIDI con­troller and not in Logic :)

      • Robert Mendez March 6, 2018 at 9:06 pm - Reply

        Awe­some, thank you so much for your reply :)

  7. Bill O June 4, 2018 at 7:42 pm - Reply

    Hi Jacob. We have a Disklavier Enspire series. When I play­back most of your MIDI files, I’m hear­ing some live piano mixed with speaker piano. I may be a bit crazy but is there any­thing I can do to have all live piano to your knowl­edge? I can con­trol speaker piano using Ensem­ble TG Vol­ume in speaker set­ting within the Enspire con­troller.

    I hear piano only on A Breath­tak­ing Piano Piece, Light of the Seven and Hymn to the Sea. Every­thing else is mixed between speaker and piano???

    • Jacob's Piano June 15, 2018 at 1:40 pm - Reply

      Hi Bill. Unfor­tu­nately I hon­estly don’t know any­thing about these player pianos. So I can really give you any guid­ance. How­ever, it does really sound like an issue that can be fixed so keep search­ing for an answer :) /​Jacob

  8. Mattia June 11, 2018 at 5:44 pm - Reply

    Hi Jacob, first of all com­pli­ments for your beau­ti­ful chan­nel, you are amaz­ing. I have a ques­tion for you. Where do you take the strings on divenire of ludovico ein­audi?

    • Jacob's Piano June 15, 2018 at 1:37 pm - Reply

      Hi Mat­tia! Thank you so much :) I pro­duced the track myself — but I did that using the orig­i­nal arrange­ment. /​Jacob

  9. Roy July 30, 2018 at 9:36 am - Reply

    Hi Jacob thank you for cre­at­ing your chan­nel I’m learn­ing piano from your videos . I would like you to try some famous Indian tracks like Tum hi ho, channa mereya or some leg­endary tracks of Rabindranath Tagore , Indian clas­si­cal it will really be great with your style.

  10. Ken Monroe July 31, 2018 at 12:00 pm - Reply

    So why do you use a “piano” key­board as opposed to a straight MIDI con­troller? Is it because of the feel of a piano vs con­troller? I’m ask­ing because I’m try­ing to decide on a key­board to use with a com­bi­na­tion of VST instru­ments (NI Una Corda) yet still have built-in sounds.

    Love your per­for­mances and you’ve been a big inspi­ra­tion to me to jump back in to key­boards after hav­ing been away for a while.

  11. oveja August 13, 2018 at 4:29 am - Reply

    donde estas????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! se me explota el corazón

  12. Francisco Duch November 7, 2018 at 9:49 pm - Reply

    Hola solo me gus­taria saber como con­sigues ese sonido, llevo tiempo bus­cando y .… no me sale ni de cerca, mesa de mez­clas… no lo tengo conec­tado porque.… no se hac­erlo.
    tengo un rd 600 i un fp 90

    Muchas gra­cias y me encanta tu musica
    Att Frank Duch

  13. Diego November 23, 2018 at 11:22 pm - Reply

    So, which piano (I mean the fisi­cal one, not the soft­ware) and audio-inter­face do you use?

  14. daniel chamas February 20, 2019 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    Hello Jacob’s! I would like to know how I can sell my sheet music, do I need to copy­right them? or what do I need to do ? how you did? Thanks!

    • Jacob's Piano February 22, 2019 at 7:52 pm - Reply

      Hi Daniel. Well if it is your orig­i­nal com­po­si­tion then you auto­mat­i­cally owns the copy­right for it. There’s no such thing as “get­ting the copy­right”, it auto­mat­i­cally exists once you have cre­ated some­thing. Mean­ing that you can just go ahead and sell it :)

  15. Burkhard March 12, 2019 at 8:04 pm - Reply

    Hi Jacob, thank you for shar­ing your music(sheets) with us. I also like to use a DAW and a Midi-Key­board to play around. After using sev­eral VST pianos, I finally found the
    Raven­scroft 275 sold by VI Labs. Take a look, may be this is some­thing for you.
    (I am not con­nected to VI Labs in any way)

  16. Michelle April 10, 2019 at 11:38 am - Reply

    Hi Jacob

    I would love to buy a piano to pro­duce my own songs.
    The sound of yours is great, there­fore I would like to know which one do you have.

    KR from Switzer­land :)

  17. NOURA HAYNOUSSI April 23, 2019 at 10:52 am - Reply

    Hi Jacob

    I would love to buy a piano to pro­duce my own songs.
    The sound of yours is great, there­fore I would like to know which one do you have.

  18. thanos July 21, 2019 at 5:15 pm - Reply

    hi, here you have a huge fan.

    just wanted to ask you 2 ques­tions:

    1) how in the world can you pass your MIDI file though a audio inter­face? i though you could only do that thought an USB

    2) how do you make your image qual­ity to look so pro­fes­sional? do you darken your videos or some­thign?

    • Jacob's Piano July 31, 2019 at 6:34 am - Reply

      Hi Thanos. Thanks for your mes­sage. That’s exactly what you can do with an audio inter­face — you can con­nect any MIDI device to your audio inter­face and then con­nect your audio inter­face to your com­puter. Regard­ing my image qual­ity I record with a good cam­era, but I do a lot of color edit­ing after­wards (in Final Cut Pro) to make it look good :) Cheers, Jacob

  19. Kaushik September 22, 2019 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    Hello Jacob,
    Won­der­ful chan­nel! I have one ques­tion. If you are send­ing MIDI directly from your piano to the com­puter, then you dont need an audio interface,correct?
    Thank you

    • Jacob's Piano September 24, 2019 at 12:35 pm - Reply

      Hi Kaushik. No gen­er­ally you can do that with a USB-cable. Until recently I have used an audio inter­face (because I used the inter­face for other pur­poses), but now I just con­nect my key­board and com­puter using USB. But off course you have to check that your key­board has a USB out­put :)

  20. KAUSHIK September 25, 2019 at 1:33 pm - Reply

    Thank you Jacob. One other ques­tion if you don’t mind. A lot of the tunes do not have eas­ily avail­able sheet music made avail­able by the orig­i­nal com­poser or an arranger.. Do you fig­ure out the notes by ear and cre­ate your own score?

    • Jacob's Piano September 27, 2019 at 9:16 am - Reply

      What I usu­ally do is that per­form the orig­i­nal com­po­si­tion (if the orig­i­nal is a solo piano com­po­si­tion), then sheet music is usu­ally eas­ily acce­si­ble. If it’s a larger orches­tral arrange­ment then I usu­ally arrange the piano score myself. The arrange­ments for sale on music­notes ( are my own arrange­ments.

  21. KAUSHIK GUHA September 25, 2019 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    Hi Jacob,
    Also, do you record an entire piece in one go, or do you record parts of it and stitch it together in Logic? Some of your pieces are quite long and if it is shot at one go, that is very impres­sive! My respect!

    • Jacob's Piano September 27, 2019 at 9:11 am - Reply

      Hi Kaushik. I usu­ally record in one take as you can see on my videos. How­ever, I do have some videos record at dif­fer­ent angles where I have also stitched together the record. How­ever, record­ing using MIDI has the advan­tage that I can remove minor mis­takes that may hap­pen which is very much pre­ferred to record every­thing all over again :)

  22. KAUSHIK GUHA October 2, 2019 at 4:47 pm - Reply

    Thank you Jacob. By putting copy­righted music on Youtube (bar­ring your own com­po­si­tions), don’t you run into any copy­right issues from the orig­i­nal com­poser? Or do you exclu­sively get per­mis­sion before post­ing?

  23. nick January 1, 2020 at 9:13 pm - Reply

    Hi Jacob and happy new year! I have a ques­tion on your scores. What soft­ware do you use to write the scores and what is the eas­i­est and best way to do it? Love your chan­nel!!

    • Jacob's Piano February 13, 2020 at 1:49 pm - Reply

      Hi Nick! Thanks for post­ing here. I am using Sibelius to write sheet music. I use Logic to record and pro­duce. Cheers, Jacob.

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