I get a lot of questions regarding the tools and programs I use to create my youtube videos. Thus I thought it would be nice to make a little tutorial covering the most common questions regarding this topic. If I happen to miss a subject you are interested in, just post a comment with your question below this article and I will anwser it.
What is this program you are using in your videos?
This is by far the most posted question under my youtube videos. Fortunately it has a short and quite enjoyable anwser: The program I'm using in my videos is called "Synthesia" and can be downloaded for free on the website Synthesiagame.com. Yes, there is a version you have to charge for available, but it only gives you certain extra features you don't necessarily need to use the program. Especially if you only want to use the program for making videos, the free version makes it job just fine.
After you downloaded and installed Synthesia on your computer, you have to open a file including the music you want to play with it. The file-type you need for this task is called MIDI. In contrast to mp3 or wav files, MIDI files doesn't contain the recording a musical performance, but include the notation, pitch, velocity and instruments of a certain song. It's basically a file containing the information the sheet music of a song has to offer. After you created or downloaded such a MIDI file, you'll be able to open it with Synthesia and see the animations I use in my videos. Now it's time to record this neat animation, so let's move on to the next point.
What screen capture program do you use?
After you know how to use the program Synthesia properly, it's time to make the graphical material for your video. In my starting time I used Camtasia Studio to create, edit and render my videos. The advantage of this method is that you only need one program including all important tools to create your video. Nethertheless I decided to drop this program because I didn't really like the screen capture quality. The program I got better results is called Fraps and was developed to capture the gameplay of video games. However it can also be used to record the activites on certain programs and Synthesia is one of them. To get the best image quality on your recordings, you should make sure to set the video capture settings in Fraps on 60 fps. This should cover the recording issue, let's move on to the video editing.
Which program do you use for editing your videos?
To edit your Synthesia videos, you only need the basic functions every video editing software should offer. Hence it isn't of much importance which one you use for this task. I personally decided to go with Sony Vegas Movie Studio. Nevertheless it should be able to render your videos in a frame rate of 60 fps and a resolution of 1080p. Some might wonder why I render the videos in 60 fps although youtube reduces the frame rate to 30 fps after uploading the video. In my opinion it's the best method to upload your videos in the best quality available on youtube to get the best image results. However, if you want to save rendering time, you can also decide to use a frame rate of 30 fps.
Why does your Synthesia videos sound so realistic?
Many people are wondering why my videos are sounding so realistic in opposition to many other Synthesia videos you find on youtube. The bad news is that you can't create this sound in Synthesia itself. However it's quite easy to achieve a better sound if you are prepared to spend money for good sound files and a good audio editing software. Let's start with the last one. I spent some time looking for a good audio editing software and decided to go with Samplitude Music Studio. It has a fair price and imports your MIDI files just fine.
After that you have to decide which piano sound files you want to order for your videos. I'm currently using three different types of piano sound for my videos. I bought two of them on the website Imperfect Samples: The sound files for the "Ebony Concert Grand" and the "Steinway Concert Grand". The Ebony Concert Grand is a great piano for calm, melancholic and meditative piano songs. I used it in my video of the famous Naruto song Loneliness. The Steinway Concert Grand piano on the other hand is great for classcial pieces and also is a great option for ragtime piece like The Entertainer. In my most videos however I used the concert piano sample from the "Edirol Orchestral VST". It sounds a bit generic compared to the other two samples, but it offers a powerful and lively piano sound. I used it in my famous Pirates of the Caribbean Medley. There certainly are much more good piano samples out there, for instance the piano sound library EWQL Pianos Platinum. All providers offer audio examples of their products, just listen to them and assess which piano library you like the most.
If you decided which sound library you want to use, you just have to use it in your audio editing software and export the resulting audio file. After that you import the new audio file in your video editing software and use it instead of the audio from the Synthesia recording. Make sure that the image and audio tracks are in sync.
This should cover it for today. As I said, I will be happy to anwser any questions remaining in the comment section below. I hope you got a good overview what it takes to create good Synthesia videos and I'm excited to see your videos on youtube.