In August 2016 I finished the following video about painting my 12 string which shows my full set of five matching guitars. A bass, classical, electric, 12 string and acoustic.

The guitar painting took around 2 or 3 weeks but the video turned into a huge project lasting 16 weeks.

I'm subscribed to a few youtube channels who spend a lot of time making involved, detailed, informative videos that are sometimes half an hour, or an hour, or longer.

They have lots of subscribers and get lots of views. This is one of those kind of videos, so it's aimed at viewers like me who can relax and watch someone working hard.

I think there's something therapeutic about it. I like this youtube comment "I love work, I could sit and watch it all day".

I have lots of experience with graphics software and photography, but this was my first attempt at video editing so I was learning as I went along.

I first assumed you have to make cuts where there is no movement so I spent ages doing that, then I found out you have to cut on motion so I had to start again.

I looked briefly at some video editing for beginners blogs etc., but I ended up developing my own consistent way of cutting.

Any speeded up parts are around 30 seconds max then about two seconds of normal speed, then a cut, then two seconds at normal speed then speeded up again.

It feels similar to stopping for a breath between the fast parts. After a fast part, "phew" then a deep breath in, and away we go again.

The speeded up parts are mostly cut on the first and last hand movements of one continuous spraying/polishing/sanding event. Eg. doing one side or area of the guitar.

The video has 1544 cuts/edits and 2927 words as captions/subtitles. The total footage time I used was 31 hrs 48 mins 42 seconds and the final video is 1 hr 17 mins 25 seconds.

It has more cuts per hour than the film "Requiem for a dream" which is known for having a huge amount of cuts.

The whole project when finished used 91 folders, 14,282 files and took up 310.47GB. That's not counting hundreds or maybe thousands more files that were deleted while progressing.

The captions/subtitles have to fit into 32 characters per line. I spent a lot of time on each sentence removing or replacing words to make them fit but still keeping the meaning.

The short parts at the beginning and end that use images of the guitars also took a long time including getting the lighting correct for photos, morphing between guitars,

removing the background to make them into transparent gifs, and making the spaces equal between them as they move.

In all of the speeded up headcam footage, I removed parts where I looked away from the guitar. It's not noticeable after removal, but was distracting when left in. That was a massive amount of editing.

I sometimes spent hours or even days on parts that only last a few seconds like the parts that have a blurred background, or blurring my face in the guitars reflection.

Each short video clip of the finished guitar during the song "Fortitude" was a project in itself. The final clips were the best out of lots of attempts due to shaky movement or lighting changes.

The order of the clips had to be arranged so I didn't have two similar clips one after the other Eg. two shots that were filmed on the same day, or two shots that pan left to right etc.

Each cut during the song is on the first beat of a bar and, because the ideal start and end points of each clip were already chosen, I had to speed up or slow down every clip to fit in with the tempo.

The timelapses at the end of the song were all around one hour long. In the right to left dolly type shot, the tripod was sat on the cardboard box from my bass. I then pushed the box along the carpet.

The sort of star wars shot where I move slowly over the guitar (and lasts for just six seconds), took lots of trial and error over a few hours. I slid the tripod over two cardboard boxes.

I had tried lots of different things before building this set up to get the shot I had in mind. The tripod is only fixed to a plank of wood with elastic bands so it could go squint easily.

It was very hard to keep the camera central to the guitar, keep aiming down the middle of the fretboard and to move smoothly. It was just done by pushing the plank with both hands.

The distance I had to push the guitar was as far as I could physically reach so I had to take a deep breath and try to move away slowly and come to a slow stop while staying central.

Here is the set up for that shot.

The video started out as 8 separate projects, intro, buffing etc. I first removed unwanted parts eg. When I left the room to get sand paper or looked at the guitar inspecting what I had just done etc.

After trimming them down, each project was between 10 minutes and an hour long. They were still at normal speed and altogether totalled 4 hours and 10 minutes.

I then started at the end of each project and worked my way to the start, cutting and speeding parts up. This shortened them a lot with one project going from 1 hour 13 to just 5 minutes.

They were now easy to work on and much quicker to render short final test videos for analysis. After about two months I had almost finished each project. Their combined total was now 1 hour 4 minutes.

Because I was close, I tried to trim them down more to get closer to one hour (I later thought of other things to add at the end, like repair work and a summary).

At that point I joined them all together into one project. It then took my pretty decent spec pc, six or more hours to render a test video which I would watch and repeatedly find things I wanted to change.

I shortened the whole video as much as possible but still kept in everything I thought was important. So it ended up being as long as it needed to be instead of me aiming for an exact length.

I wasn't going to add music but a few parts like the beginning and end were silent so I spent a few days recording/mixing three songs, two using the guitar that was painted.

Once I knew it was all finished, it took 7 hours to render the final video. I boosted the colours a bit and added some sharpening which adds a lot of time to the final render.

A glitch in the program added an echo to parts that should be silent, so I had to figure out how to fix that. I did three 7 hour renders before it was fixed.

It took 21 hours to upload to youtube on my not very fast broadband connection. The final mp4 is 5.47GB.

The paint turned out pretty good overall. It looks like new from a distance, but the masking tape problems have left the edges around the neck and bridge still not perfect even after repair work.

This turned into much more of a film project than guitar painting. I'm more pleased with the video than the guitar, but considering both were first attempts, I think both turned out pretty good.

BTW. The car passing at 300mph will be actually be near that speed. It was probably doing around 20 to 30mph and that part is speeded up ten times. So 200 to 300mph.


Below are some videos of me playing my own arrangements of some favourite songs, and six of my own songs.

Almost all of these are my own unique versions of the songs with only a few where the guitar part is close to the original.

The songs are all very stereoey and will sound better on headphones.

You can click on the playlist in the top right of the video to scroll through the songs.

Scroll down for details on how I record and edit the video and sound.

Craig Hood's own songs.

Craig Hood multi instrumentals.

Craig Hood all youtube videos.

Craig Hood plays David Bowie.

Craig Hood plays Bread and David Gates.


In my song arrangement videos, October 2015 was the first time I got the lighting and camera settings close to the way I wanted using my panasonic GH2 with a 20mm F1.7 lens which has a 35mm equivalent of 40mm.

In 2017 I started using a 4k panasonic G7 with the same 20mm lens. The image quality looks excellent and is even a big improvement on the GH2.

Before 2015 I had used cheap cameras which needed noise reduction to remove speckling and grain

and I never got the right balance of natural looking skin tones with a pure black background.

Up to about 2017 I used close to a three point lighting set up with one 400 watt security light as the key light, two 100 watt lights as fill lights, one on the floor and one to my left, and another 100 watt light above and behind me.

These were halogen lights and were very hot. It was a real struggle trying to record myself playing/singing for 3 or 4 minutes before starting to sweat from the heat.

In late 2017 I started using led lights and they give of pretty much zero heat. So it's much more comfortable for recording.

I use a large 300 led light as the key light up to my right, one 126 led light to my left and another 126 on the floor facing up to me.

Changing to a different kind of lighting meant I had to spend a long time doing loads of short test videos with different camera settings and moving the lights around untill I got similar lighting to my halogen set up.

Even after spending so much time trying to improve the lighting/camera settings I still have to make colour and brightness changes on the pc.

It's also not easy being able to tell what a natural looking skin colour is as monitors differ so much in colour and brightness and the colours and brightness can also vary a lot depending on your viewing angle.

Although the background is black, the bright lights stop it from looking black so I have to position the lights so a shadow is cast on the back wall.

I then have the camera at it's lowest iso setting (200 in the G7) to keep grain to a minimum, and f4 turned out to be the best setting for overall brightness with 1/50th shutter speed and 25fps.

It look masses of trial and error at lots of different settings to get it OK, as you can see by looking at many of my videos from before 2015.

But after that I still use a solid black mask in after effects which fades in from the edges to cover any objects in the background like my electronic drum kit, pc, synth etc.

The motion tracked titles at the start and end of most videos up to 2015 are only visible for 12 seconds total for each video, but I spend around one and a half hours or more per video creating them.

The actual movement with the guitar only lasts for 2 seconds at the start and two at the end.

After spending more than twelve hours on seven videos in 2015 I dropped the motion tracking as not one person has even commented on them anyway.

Motion tracked titles are quite common now on TV and films.

I was disappointed at still having to use sharpening in the GH2 after upgrading to a decent camera and lens,

but a side effect of the sharpening is that it makes the white binding on the guitar much brighter so that it almost glows.

It also makes the strings look pure white too which looks good.

The G7 deosn't really need sharpening, but adding a small amount of sharpening just makes it look even better.

In the video for my unique arrangement of David Byrne and Brian Eno's Strange overtones uploaded on 7th September 2017 I added myself playing my synth.

My lighting setup is positioned for filming towards my side wall with good colour/skin tone etc. and I wanted the camera looking down on the keys so I had to position the synth vertically like this.

To get into playing position I had to go in feet first on my back on the blue mat and shuffle from side to side like a fish gradually moving myself further under the synth till I could place my hands on the keys.

I did this a few times and realized I had forgotten something like moving my pc keyboard or mouse nearby to start recording so I had to shuffle back out like a fish again.

The synth was balanced precariously and in one good take I played the synth a touch too hard and it started to fall towards the back wall so I had to catch it before it fell on the floor.

I made up all of the synth parts (mostly violin) using the mouse on the pc, so for the video I had to learn how to play each individual part so I could mime it exactly.

You can see my evolution keyboard on the far left which I used to learn each part then I would play those parts on the Korg N5.

I have a monitor on the floor so I could see my recording software to set up tracks and record etc. After maybe a few hours I eventually got good video takes of each part.

I then dismantled all this equipment and later got down to editing the video clips. It was maybe the next day I realised I had forgotten to wear my watch which I wear when playing all of the other instruments.

So I figured out which parts have my left wrist in shot and re-recorded those takes then went back to video editing. But I missed one part so had to re-record that again maybe the next day.

It was a massive amount of work for something that probably nobody will notice or even care about as it just looks like I have filmed the synth from above.

This is the video here :

In July 2019 I decided to get another panasonic G7 so I could film myself from two different angles at the same time.

I didn't need one as I could just film myself playing the same thing again from a different angle with one camera.

I was very very lucky to get a G7 that had a shutter count of just 379 on ebay buy it now for 200GBP with a 12-60mm lens that I didn't need.

I sold that lens one week later for 190GBP, so I got an almost new camera that records excellent 4k video for 10GBP.

I then got a Samyang 12mm F2 lens (35mm equivalent of 24mm) for close up video.

My original intention with the extra camera was to film my drum kit from above, but I have a low ceiling and my widest angle lens (14mm) was not wide enough to fit the whole kit in.

In my videos for "Reminiscing" and "Below the valleys" with the added drums, I used this new camera and lens to film all the percussion and some close ups of short drum fills.

But I bought the camera soon after I had finished filming the drums so I had to play the exact same drum fills again while filming the close ups.

I doubt if anyone will ever notice that I filmed the close ups later, even considering I had forgotten to put my watch on and didn't notice that mistake till a week after uploading the videos.

Another shocking mistake I noticed after uploading is in the Young Americans with drums video. I left my blue (yes blue!) usb stick in the top of my drum sound module.


When I first started making youtube videos I decided I would do them pretty quickly and spend much more time on my own album music.

But my youtube videos (some of them anyway) have had massively more people viewing them.

So I gradually started spending more and more time on each video. I now might spend over a week on the sound for one video.

A lot of my YouTube videos have two guitar tracks and two main vocals. That's two different recordings of me playing and singing the same thing.

Double tracked vocals are quite common, but I also double track the guitar.

I like the full stereo effect of two guitar tracks panned left and right which works better than chorus or stereo widening on a single guitar track.

Some of my videos from before 2010 use the sound from two different folk club sessions which had the added bonus of two audiences applauding at the end.

I use a metronome when playing in sessions so those separate recodings fitted together perfectly.

From around 2010 onwards all of the recording was done in my living room or kitchen.

When recording video, because of the heat from my lighting set up, I'm not concerned about getting a perfect take. It just needs to look like a perfect take.

I also record the sound from my DPA 4088 head mike and my Taylor into my pc via my Roland VS700R and use that recording as the main guide track.

Later, I might record two or more full takes of vocals and guitar to use for making up a good final mix.

I spend a lot of time removing clicks, thumps, fret buzz etc., then might have to re record some short vocals or guitar parts again due to mistakes.

With double tracked vocals I might have two vocals panned 30 left and 30 right. I will make changes to the volume levels of even individual syllables to make sure they both sound similar in volume.

At the end of 2018 I got a DPA 4099G clip on guitar microphone. Because I record my videos sitting near my pc, this mike just picks up the pc fan noise.

So I started using my tablet pc to do the recording as it is silent and in July 2019 I sold my Roland VS700R and got a Roland studio capture.

This was mainly because the VS700R has a cooling fan that is always on and might just be picked up by my mike.

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