How to improve the quality of your sound & video, and increase your overall production value!

in Music4 months ago (edited)

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The Music community on Hive is more vibrant than ever, we are having newcomers daily, which makes our community even more diverse and interesting! This is great, I can't wait to watch more videos from amazing artists and aspiring musicians!
The most common question I get, at least once per video, is "how do you get such a clean sound". Shout out to @jaydr for raising the question once more. I've thought of it, and decided to give you all a few tips on how to up your game!

1 - Sound

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I won't get too much into the details on the ideal distance between you and the mic, or how not to make sure you don't saturate, instead let's talk about how to get the cleanest, most efficient sound.

  • I often use open source software to record, my favorite is: Audacity but there are many other good software on the market, or Digital Audio Workstation like Cubase, FL Studio, or Ableton.

  • Mic: If you have a laptop, I advise you to go for a USB condenser mic, in that case you don't need to invest in an external sound card, XLR cables, and it will also limit the amount of white noise created by the electricity current. You can find the one I am using for 50 bucks online.

  • Computer: Now I've learnt the hard way, and I apologize to all the sound engineers I've worked with in the past (in particular @d-vine haha) for having given sub par takes, I've recorded my second album, and several of my favorite featuring on a pc that was quite loud, very powerful though, but with a massive fan making a huge noise, and it was always a mission to edit the white noise from it.
    Truth is, a laptop, even a cheap one, will do the trick to record. You don't need a state of the art one, but I would still suggest to get a newer one, as they are much more compact and less noisy.
    Those condenser microphone are very sensitive, so you might even hear the fan if you don't position the microphone away from the laptop.

  • External sounds: This one is just logical, you want to stay away from any distracting sounds, children, road, kitchen, unless it's wanted to add an ambiance, like playing next to a river, on the beach, or next to a crackling fire.
    If you don't have a microphone, nor a laptop and just record with your phone, I still will suggest to invest in a selfie ring which are super practical, and allow you to position the camera as you will.
    Understand that the room will also play a role in the sound recording if you are using the phone microphone, and in that case you need to position your phone closer to you, and make sure that there isn't anything standing between you and the phone, once again logic but worth mentioning. The room size, the amount of furniture, having a carpet, will affect the reverberation of the sound, and the resonance too, everything is important.

  • Electricity: That's why I prefer using a USB condenser with a laptop, that I keep full charged, but not charging, to avoid as much current as possible, as it creates white noise.
    If you decide to go the full out "live set up" route, with a mixing desk, a SM58 mic, an amp, and record the "audio out" of your mixing desk, all this equipment creates an electrical charge, which will produce white noise. Less is more in sound recording.

2 - Video

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I am not going to get into investing a real camera, if you can that's great, but it's not even on my priority list right now, so any phone will do the trick.

  • Front camera phone: Always use the front camera, which mean you cannot see yourself, make sure not to stare at the camera too much neither, unless it's on purpose haha.
    The front camera of a phone has always more megapixel that the one that people use for selfies, every details matter when you are recording a video.
    Always make sure that you are using the right aspect ratio, most phone can increase the resolution if you are set up in 16:9 ratio, and make sure your resolution is at least 1920x1080.

  • Change backdrops: This one is very often overlooked, and it's a shame. Make sure that you don't always stand at the same spot when making your videos, and change backdrops if you can. Try different rooms around where you live, or try outside, on your balcony, in the garden, at a friend place, the possibilities are endless.
    By doing so, you will make sure you are breaking away from monotony, if all your videos look very similar, people won't know which one to click on because they're all the same in the eye of the audience.

  • Make sure it's pretty: That's a tough one because it's subjective, but if you are recording a video, make sure that things around you are more or less neat (unless it's messy on purpose haha to create an atmosphere), use your country to your advantage, every places have their perks, their styles, their own uniqueness.

  • Lighting: It's always preferable to record during the day, this is the best way to get a natural lighting. I have become a specialist of the "Golden Hour", dawn or dusk. I just love the colors it creates, but if you want to record indoor, you can use the selfie ring I was mentioning earlier, but I would even suggest to add a few extra lights, the brighter the better.

3 - Video Editing

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  • The same as for the audio recording software, I go the open source way for video editing: Shotcut. I use it to edit all my videos, it has a wide variety of tools, and is quite user friendly. Don't expect it to be as seamless as Adobe Premiere, but it will do the trick if you don't want to spend a dime.
  • When it's time to export your video, don't hesitate to pick the highest quality possible (in advanced/quality/best), even if the rendering takes 2 hours, you won't be disappointed with the result.
  • If you are using 3speak, as the servers can be sometimes a bit slow (at least for me) compared to Youtube, (which is totally normal, as we can't compare the bandwidth capacity), you can always render a lighter version under 1Gb. Also, as for now 3speak reencode 4k videos into 1080p, I would suggest to not even bother with 4k unless you are adding a Youtube link.

4 - Performance

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  • No Lyric: This one, is the difference between a pro and an amateur musician. You think people can't see that you are reading the lyrics, but they can. Most importantly, the attention that you spend reading, could spent playing music, and adding some performance value.
    Know your lyrics by heart, or don't play the song! I know it takes time to learn a song, but it will be all worth it.
  • Know your chords: The same way you should know your lyrics, know your chord progression, know your bridge, don't strum the guitar half confident, because the audience can sense that you aren't confident with your playing. I would suggest to always play the song a few times, without even singing, so you don't need to look at the chord progression anymore.
  • Do a few takes and keep the best one, again the first take isn't always the best, and you'd be surprised how many second take are just more relaxed. If you are worried about the space it takes, once you're sure about which version you prefer, delete the other one.
  • Take your time to know the song. If it means you will not record today, wait until you know the song by heart, as if you were about to go on stage.

5 - Thumbnail

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  • Don't use the same one all the time, you might think "this is genius" but you're audience will get bored very quickly. The same way, if you use a different picture every time but you're pouting the exact same way, using the same backdrop, you're making sure people will skip your video. I know it's a hard pill to swallow, but it doesn't matter you can't develop your own style of thumbnail, it's also a part of the creative process in some ways.
  • Don't use a picture from the video with a screen capture, but make a real picture with the front camera, using a 10 seconds timer. Take a few shots, to have a choice.
  • Use a thumbnail maker website like https://www.canva.com/ to make better looking thumbnail, don't hesitate to play around with the typo, the effects, the filters, etc... Have fun with it!

6 - Tell a Story

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This one is quite open to interpretation, but some people will enjoy the video, and others won't even click on it, and tell you "good job" in the comment section (which is better than nothing!!!), you also have to entertain the people that just want to read something, and for this, it's important to at least write 200 words, even if it's just to talk about your day and what the song means to you. Some of us started to ask a question at the end of the post, to create engagement but it's not always necessary.

That's all for today, let me know if you have any questions! 😉

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I'm not a musician but every now and then I do some live recording and editing and these tips are just right for me. Especially the tip for Shotcut. I have an older version of Premiere on one desktop PC but this one I could use on a laptop because it even has a portable version. Thanks again. 👏 😎

Hey @seckorama nice to meet you! Glad I could help!

A warning for Shotcut, it isn't perfect, and 4k footages need to be made into "edit friendly" files, because it's not as effective as Premiere, but it's free!
Cheers!

Thanks for the warning! Well, I usually don't use 4K footages, HD or FHD are enough for me :)

Wow!! These are really great tips not only for musicians but also for future vloggers! Thanks for sharing and I know that many people will appreciate your tips!


I have picked this post on behalf of the @OurPick project and it will be highlighted in the next post!

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Niiiiice thanks so much!! Cool community ^^

Excellent advise all around there man, I obviously don't perform songs myself, but I took plenty from your advise around the setting, the front camera vs selfie camera. For anyone starting out your advise, must be golden.. This pic is class by the way, good one for an album cover maybe? "Ed's Greatest Hits" emblazoned across the top there would look cool..

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Thanks for the compliment, I like this pic too. I remember very well that morning, I actually got sick, because it's wet everywhere, my socks were wet and started almost crystalizing and freezing, at least it felt like it hahha.

Oooooo never nice to get properly cold like that 🥶 Still, at least you got this sweet photo out of it 👌

I quite agree with the Album cover idea :).

Cool ..

Now I wonder if he has a team or he has robots obeying orders around him ..lol.

@edprivat you re simply a genius.

Hahaha a team of robots? I dreamt of that once! That's a good question, I don't know if I would cooperate with robots. Thanks for your comment brother, and your spirit!

I know this is a great article but I'm packing and cleaning to go. Might not be able to connect as much for awhile. Just know that I'll be back and I support you friend🙏🤗 Bisous à ta femme et tes bouts de choux😘

Merci à toi, prends bien soin de toi!!😁

Oh my.
It feels as if I just attended a class and its you Prof. @edprivat dishing out just what I needed.
This is a masterclass content.

I appreciate it, and will keep it for my growth.

I need to read this a few more times and begin to apply necessary changes myself. I have no questions.

Thank you Sir.

That's wonderful, let me know if there is any questions, no problem!

Nice tips. Even though they are specific to music and performance, a lot of them apply to regular posts as well. It's interesting reading about what goes into your work as well. Clearly there's a lot of thought given to the posts and you can see that.

Thanks my brother, yeah this one was in the backburner for a while, and started a draft accumulating ideas! Glad I can help the cause hahah, hopefully it increases everyone's games, mine included lol

I'm a huge fan of making music at home and the beauty of this is that you can sound profesional without breaking your bank account, and there are interesting and affordable gears you can get.

I bought the fifine 669B mic a year ago under $30 and this sounds amazing. I also use audacity, it's simple, it's fancy, powerful and open source 😎

I bought the fifine 669B mic a year ago under $30 and this sounds amazing. I also use audacity, it's simple, it's fancy, powerful and open source 😎

100 % agreed! Those super cardioid mics are just so sensitive, they could hear a fly buzzing around!

Are you on Linux by any chance 😄?

Great comment brother!

Yeah I use Linux very often or should I say GNU/Linux xd I the past I use a lot Debían for my work, also Ubuntu, but most recently I'm using Linux mint. I'm trying to learn LMMS (Linux multimedia studio ) btw xd

I have installed both Linux and WI does on my laptop so from time to time I have fun on the Terminal you know lol

My first is also audacity. Thanks for this informative blog. This is what I need to start covering songs.

Niiiice! What song are you going to cover first? Tag me when you do!

I have several in mind. That's for sure.. Thanks for the support

Great, master! Excellent content

Hey Alejandro how are you? Thanks so much!!!!

It is a very well elaborated post and it is just the necessary and useful format for those who want to make quality musical content.

Thank you so much, I hope that you got something out of it!!! Take care Jim!

This is gold!
And you know what? I have been asking this question everywhere on Hive the whole time too. Specially when it comes to your videos 😊
So much appreciation for you doing this for us bringing all those inside information!
You're the best!

HEllo @littlebeatle, great to see you around!

Hope that everything is going well on your side of the world! Big hug!!

All good here Ed! I only need some time to adjust and get settled then I can make a regular schedule to take care of all things I want. Don't want to drop anything I like behind 😊
Still watching your stuff on Youtube and here!

amazing!! great video!

Awesome post with excellent tips, pointers and recommendations!

I'll just kick back and watch the master, @edprivat, do his thing!💯

Keep up the fantastic work! 🎶🎤👨‍🎤🎬🎸💿