Music & Tech & Posts by José Luis Miralles

set up for on-line piano lessons

On-line lessons had become one the biggest concerns of instrumental teacher around the globe these days due to the coronavirus outbreak.

In my country (Spain) we are in a massive lockdown, but we must continue our teaching (by legal imperative, but also by moral obligation). So I rush to make the best I can with the tools I have in order to offer an optimal pedagogical experience.

I’m not going to discuss the creation of teaching materials in this post (which I’m also using massively)…

Yeah! It’s me creating videos with Final Cut Pro X for the students

In this post I want to show you which is my set-up for doing on-line lessons “face-to-face” with the students.

The Hardware Tools

  • A DSLR Camera (Canon Eos M50)
  • A tripod.
  • An micro HDMI to HDMI adapter
  • HDMI wire
  • A usb video Capture Card
  • A Webcam (logitech brio)
  • An arm mount
  • Zoom H4n (and his usb wire)
  • iPad
  • iPhone

THE SOFTWARE TOOLS (all free)

the explanation

I want to be able to have at least three video inputs:

  1. A video input from the right side of the piano (via the DSLR camera)
  2. A video input from above the keyboard (via the webcam)
  3. The screen of my iPad

Having the input of any webcam is pretty easy in any pc/mac, but for having the angle view from above you will need an arm mount.

For capturing the input of a DSLR camera you need a usb video capture card and a tripod to mount it in the desired angle view.

You can input the screen of any iPad with QuickTime in mac (I don’t know how it works in PC).

The audio is fed to the mac via the Zoom H4n and its ability to be an audio interface.

In the software domain all three inputs are mixed in OBS. It is very easy to confingure some basic scenes and the desired positions (scale, rotate, crop) of the inputs.

OPTIONAL: If you want the ability to change scenes in OBS (i.e. different arrangement of views) from your phone you can use UpDeck to control OBS remotely. It is a bit tricky to configure, but not imposible.

ALL TOGETHER

In Zoom (videoconference software), just use the H4n as mic source and (and here is the magic!) use the screen sharing function to only share the window of OBS. You can also hide all controls from the view menu.

Here are som captures explaining the set.

The hardware domain
The software realm

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