While people use the internet’s largest and most popular video sharing website for their viral video needs, high quality content and charismatic personalities, YouTube is also one of the most accessible and effective platforms for any modern musician. From the grand music videos of pop stars, to videos of a young singer songwriter in their bedroom in front of a camera, YouTube has it all, and has sparked the music careers of various unique artists such as Meghan Tonjes, Boyce Avenue, Pentatonix, Kurt Hugo Schneider, Scott Bradley’s Post Modern Jukebox, Lindsey Stirling, Sungha Jung, Watsky and Bo Burnham to name a few!
But say you want to make your own video of you singing, playing guitar or piano, or showcasing an original song, but you have only an account and a camera. Well fear not! Here are 10 tips on how to make great quality music videos that show the Internet what talent you have in music, as well as video construction!
- Do some research
Before you start making videos, you have to learn a bit about the site of YouTube itself. First, you’ll need an account. Since YouTube has parted with Google Plus, this process is a lot simpler. Once you have a catchy name, and distinct icon and a fancy backdrop to your page, you now have the platform to showcase your videos!
But what to make? Before you start the video making process, look at some of your Favorite YouTube Musicians to gain some inspiration. If you are looking to showcase you vocal and instrumental skills, look at artists like Meghan Tonjes and Boyce Avenue. If you want to grab some friends and form a band, look at artists like Post Modern Jukebox and Walk of the Earth. If you want to Showcase your electrifying shedding guitar skills, Rob Scallon and Jared Dines are your guys! Once you have an idea about what kind of video you want to make, and what your favorite artists make their videos on, you can get to work!
- Practice your song
Once you have the song you want to showcase, get to practice! Getting the right take of you playing can take a very long time, as even the smallest slip or mistake could leave you unsatisfied with the video. The best way to avoid this is to practice practice practice your song until you can get your vocals or instrument perfect every time. This will also mean that your video will show the best of what you can do, make the recording process easier and quicker, and you can feel more proud of what you have recorded!
- Understand how to use you camera
Before you hit record, understand all the functions capable of whatever camera you are using. Most digital cameras have the same layout, but make sure you know all of what you are able to do with your camera. It can open up possibilities of how you can record your footage and give your recordings that little bit more to make them stand out. The same goes with using a mobile phone as well. Next, you should consider where you are going to place your camera. Are you going to simply sit it on a desk, or are you going to attach it to a tripod in order to get a better frame?
(Most digital cameras have a flip screen, showing you exactly what the frame will look like) Does you camera or phone fit whatever tripod or stand you use? Is it in a stable position (you don’t want your camera falling while you are 3 minutes into your video) Does you device have enough charge? Do you have any spare batteries? And finally, how can you get the footage from your device to a computer? Some digital cameras can be plugged straight into a computer, while most just require you to insert an SD card into the camera and remove it when you have finished. If you are using a phone, you can plug it straight into a computer and import whatever videos you record.
Understanding ever aspect of your camera will allow you to get the best possible videos out of your device, and raise the quality of your videos from ordinary to extraordinary!
- Light up your frame
An underestimated yet vital feature of any video is the lighting used in the shot. While the focus might be on the music, the footage of you jamming should also have a lot of care in its construction. Without light, your footage could look dark, blurry and overall unpleasant, which could turn off some potential viewers.
Try and find a space in your house with a decent light, and find a spot that best illumines you in the shot. If you can find any natural light, make some light of you own! House lights are great for even lighting, and lamps can be adjusted to light up specific aspects of your face. For a more professional quality, consider using soft boxes or photography umbrellas, which is what most of all your favorite YouTubers use themselves.
- Find the right Microphones and Audio Interface
The audio of your music videos is vitally important if you want to show off what you as a musician can do. Because of this, the microphone of your camera or phone will not cut it, as the quality of the audio will not be too crash hot. In order to achieve the best quality of sound, use external microphones. Microphones like shotgun microphones can be attached directly to your camera or phone, and will mean you can record you audio directly alongside your video.
However, another option is to use an external microphone to the camera, and create a separate audio file to sync up with your footage later in the process. USB microphones, like the Samson Meteor or the Rode NTUSB can plug straight into you computer and allow for easy and direct audio recording. If you have a normal microphone with XRL or Jack connections, consider getting an Audio Interface.
These are devices that serve as the connection between a normal microphone or instrument and your computer, and can allow for the connection of multiple microphones or instruments. This is useful if you want to have separate channels for your vocals and your instrument, or for the separate instruments of an ensemble. This method results in a more defined, crisper sound. An audio interface could be an electric pedal system (such as a ZOOM G3X) or a standard issue AI (such as the Presonus Audio Box)
However, in order to record audio from your computer, you will need to own and have a working knowledge about your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
- Learn how to use your Digital Audio Workstation
Essentially, a DAW is a digital program that records and saves the audio received from the recording equipment onto the computer. From this program you can edit the audio, cut the audio to size, add filters to the audio, and remove factors like background noise and lip-smacking (depending on the program.)
Due to their larger budget, you’re favorite YouTube Musicians might use programs like Pro Tools, Logic Pro and Wave Pad. However, there are several programs that are cheaper and even free that work just as effective for what you want to record. For single track recording (for the use of one microphone) Audacity is a free, easy to use and effect DAW program, which will work on both Mac and PC. If you are creating multitrack mixs, programs like Stagelight for PC ($9.99) and Garageband for Mac (Free) are also very easy and very effective programs. Once you have your program selected, play around with it. Make some mixs or recording and practice exporting them from the program, experimenting with effects and modulations.
Once you have a good idea about how to work the program, you can start to use it in your videos. When you start to record the video of you performing, make sure you also hit the record button on your DAW, so it separately records video and audio at the same time.
- Learn how to use your Video Editing Software
Now that you have the footage of you playing, and the audio of you playing, it’s time to edit them into a final video with a Video Editing Program. Before you do, as with the DAW, experiment with whatever programs you chose and make several videos before hand. Play around with whatever effects, filters, titles, cuts and fades are on the program, and get a knack for how the software works and how to get it to do whatever you want it to do.
There are countless Video Editing Programs you can download, and it’s all about finding which one works best for you. You don’t necessarily need the expensive and feature filled programs like Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro, or be limited by the basic software’s of IMovie and Windows Movie Maker. A program loved by beginner and intermediate filmmakers alike is Adobe Premiere Elements, an easy to use program with enough feature and flexibility to still give your videos that edge. However, in the end, try several software trials and find one that works for you and that you are willing to spend money on.
With a program down, you can put all of your audio and footage together into a final edited video. If you have separate audio and video files, sync the two up on the program. To do this, upload the video to the program, and then on a separate track upload the audio. Carefully move the audio file so it syncs up with the audio from the video file. When the two are in sync and sound as one, remove or lower the volume of the audio of the video, and keep the volume of the audio file.
Once the audio and video are synced up, add whatever filters, text and fades you want in the video (saving along the way) until you end up with the final copy of the video that you are happy with. Export your video to the format you desire (MP4 is most common and easy format for videos) and then upload the final file to YouTube.
And just like that, you talents are available for everyone on YouTube to see, share and like! With some dedication to the channel and a skill in making videos, each video you create will become greater and greater in quality. In time your channel will grow, and you will have a great portfolio of what music you love to show the world.
Now get cracking in making some amazing videos!