Since the original 2009 post is outdated, I have made 2 NEW walkthrough videos showing how I do my process. Check these newer videos out, and be sure to get the current “7 recording tools” cheat sheet.
ORIGINAL 2009 POST:
Hey friends! After several requests, I figured I’d write this once so that it is easily accessible, and hopefully will save at least one of you some hours of frustration.
In case you’ve not met me or been introduced – my name is Adam and I am a fingerstyle acoustic guitarist. Youtube has been a blessing in so far that is has connected me with fans and other guitarists around the globe…I mean, I have walked into new countries and people say “you’re the Billie Jean guy!”
Pretty cool! This type of exposure was only formerly possible with a huge record deal. I have people in St Petersburg, Korea, France – all of whom can watch my vids seconds after an upload.
But enough about that –
Here’s what we will cover:
1) Sound recording
2) Video recording
4) Uploading, file formats, etc
1) Sound Recording
Ok, DO NOT use the camera for sound. It will suck, period.
You’ll need a good condenser mic, and I have had the warmest results with a large diaphragm mic more suited for vocals. I would never use that (at least I think) on a record, but for a big fat mono signal, it sounds good.
I have had very very good results with Studio Projects C3. (see the end of the article for new updated gear)
The mic is the heart and soul of the sound you’ll get.
The software simply massages the signal. Even Garage Band is fine, once you get a good sound – so don’t sweat the software. You will need some basic audio software though.
I use Digital Performer and I get the sound into the computer with a MOTU Ultralite interface. I got pretty good at editing in DP and I find I can slice with precision more easily than in Garage Band.
I did do a few videos when I was in Europe recording with a handheld ZOOM H4. The sound was tinny, as they are different mics – but I’d like to try it with a condenser mic (you can plug one into the H4).
One option I have not checked out is USB mics. If you have software but no interface, you may want to investigate these…that way you need no interface.
2) Video recording
Previously I recorded to DV video cassette and imported it into Apple’s Imovie, but now since I have a laptop with a cam, I record video with my laptop.
The downside? The footage takes up lots of space. The upside? I am more mobile – so if I travel I have my video kit, and they look pretty good.
3) Mixing & Editing Sound
I fix my mistakes in the audio. I don’t make many, but when I do, I don’t want to get into that “start again, start again, etc” in search of perfection. Well I do get into that, and it is maddening, so eventually, I find the most musical take and fix small things.
Of course, it’s spot edits so I don’t screw up any syncing with the vid.
Usually, I will do the following to the guitar (mono)
- boost level
- add compression
- eq, usually bring up bass & treble
- add reverb
When I am done, I’ll output a .aiff file (same as .wav)
4) Imovie Work
I’ll then sync up the souped-up audio with the video, totally turning off the sound that’s with the video file. This was easier in the old imovie, but I try to always push out of my comfort zone and learn new software.
As well, in imovie I will boost the audio level again. This just takes experimentation. You can check another Youtube video and see where the level of yours would sound good.
Add titles, and the movie is done.
5) Outputting the file
There are many articles on Youtube Settings, and then of course youtube upped their limit from 100mb to a gig…so here’s how I export the file. Remember, you can output a big (less than a gig) file since their servers will do the compression & squashing of your file.
Some of my videos look better than others, as I have experimented a bit…
Here are my Imovie settings, and there may be better ones out there:
- Compression: H.264
- Quality: Best
- Frame Rate: 30
- Frame Reordering: Yes
- Encoding Mode: multi-pass
- Dimensions: 640 x 480
- Scale: Letterbox
- Format: AAC
- Sample Rate: 44.100 khz
- Channels (Stereo L R) – who knows, I may record in stereo someday
- Bit Rate 128 kbps
Here’s what those settings and techniques yielded…Enjoy!!! If you know better than I do and see a horrible mistake, please enlighten me, there is always room for improvement!
Hey Y’all – Update. I am on the road and finding great results using.
- RODE NT5 Stereo Mics
- ZOOM H4
- Mixing in Garage Band
- And – you can output up to a 2-gig movie now for youtube
The same concept – marry the spiffed-up, souped-up audio with video. Check it out:
Ready to take the next step in your guitar journey?
Learn fingerstyle guitar from a world-class guitarist and teacher. Let Adam guide you and show you exactly how to improve your guitar skills. Grab the rarest opportunity to Study With Adam FREE for 14 days, right now!