On a platform where any video could be the next viral hit, it’s important to always put your best work forward. As a musician, the most important part of your video is the audio. Rather than relying on the audio your camera records, you should record your music separately. Then, add it in post-production.
Recording music is different and more labor-intensive than recording a voiceover or other audio for a video. However, if you learn how to record high-quality versions of your songs for your videos, then you’ll also be able to record music to make available for download or streaming right at home.
It starts with the right microphone.
The first two things you’ll need are a computer and a microphone. While you may use a lavalier or shotgun microphone for non-music videos, recording music requires at least one or two different kinds of microphones.
If you’re recording vocals, invest in a large diaphragm condenser mic. Its consistent pickup pattern and extended high frequency response make it a good choice for recording yourself singing.
Then, based on the instruments you’re using, you may need several different kinds of microphones. For the many singer-songwriters whose videos consist of themselves and a guitar or ukulele, a small diaphragm condenser mic will do the trick. This kind of mic also works well for piano.
Dynamic mics are better for low or mid-frequency instruments. For percussion and electric guitar amps, research mics similar to the Shure SM57. For low frequency instruments such as bass guitar and kick drums, check out mics like the AKG D112.
Set up a simple home recording studio.
You don’t need a full-blown studio to record great music. In fact, setting up a home recording studio can be as easy as moving your furniture around.
First, find a quiet room away from loud vents as well as the refrigerator, washing machine, or other noisy appliances. Your mics will pick up these sounds if you’re too close.
Next, make sure you have a place to sit your computer and set up your microphones. Make sure there’s room to play your instruments, move around, etc.
The most important thing in any recording studio is sound absorption. You can DIY sound absorption panels to hang on the walls.
However, you can also use plush furniture, rugs, and throw pillows to absorb sound. Move your favorite chair and a few pillows to your recording space. If you have any fluffy rugs or large pillows in other parts of your house, move them into your studio temporarily as well.
You’ll need special software to record and edit.
There are two more things you’ll need to complete your home recording studio.
First and foremost, download a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) to your computer. With this software, you can record, edit, and mix your own music.
If you have a Mac, then you already have a DAW installed. GarageBand is free and easy to use, which makes it perfect for your home studio.
However, if you’re working on a PC, download Audacity instead. It’s free, though it’s not as easy to use as GarageBand is.
If you have a bit of money to invest in a DAW, look into Tracktion. It’s said to be one of the easiest and most powerful DAWs in an affordable price range. All three options are good for recording vocals and instruments alike.
To connect your computer to all of your recording equipment you’ll need an audio interface as well. This piece of hardware enables you to hook your microphones to your computer.
Once you have your DAW installed and your home studio established, check for levels on your microphone. Check the instructions for your specific software.
Next, turn up the gain on your audio interface. If you leave it at zero, then no volume will come out of your microphone.
Finally, get recording! Go track by track for each instrument or set of vocals. Do several takes of each one until you’re happy. Then, when you edit, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.
When you’re done recording your song audio, listen to it a few times before planning your video. In the final edit, place your audio in the editing timeline first, then arrange your video clips accordingly.
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Kristen Harris enjoys listening to a wide range of music, from Taylor Swift to, on occasion, Celtic instrumental. She also spends her time writing, reading, and baking.