The pandemic might prevent musicians from working together in person, but it is not an excuse to stop collaborating altogether. With the technological tools at our disposal, we can collaborate using remote sessions to record videos and songs. In fact, many music videos or performances are being created with remote videos these days. With some planning and coordination, it is possible for anyone to create remote music videos. In this blog post, we’d like to outline the six steps for making a collaborative performance video remotely.
1. Determine orientation, angle, and position of each player in the video
The first step is to decide on your video orientation. Do you want a horizontal or a vertical video? Vertical videos are great for highlighting individual players, and they are usually preferred for a solo performance or a performance up to two players.
On the other hand, horizontal videos are great if you have two or more players in the video. It is easy to divide up the horizontal video into smaller sections to show what each player is doing in each video.
Then, the next step is to decide on the angle of each player. You should plan this ahead and perhaps even create a storyboard to make sure everyone’s position is predetermined. If you have two players, it would be nice if one of them was facing slightly left and one slightly right so it would look like they are facing each other. Or, perhaps you could have an angle where all players are facing the camera.
Based on how everyone’s positions will be in the video, then you can instruct each player. Moreover, you should coordinate how far each player should be from the camera, what the background should be and what color should they wear to make sure the color coordination in the video is cohesive.
Once everything is carefully planned out visually, it’s time to plan how to record audio.
2. Decide how audio will be recorded
An important decision to make is how audio will be recorded. If the proper equipment is available, I highly recommend using a dynamic or condenser microphone to record any given instrument in the video. Phone microphones can be used as a last resort, but for a commercial quality video, solid audio is required.
3. Create an arrangement where every player knows the timing of their performance
Once the visual aspect of the performance is planned out, the next step is to determine the musical arrangement. I think the best way to approach a remote video is to start with one instrument. This could be a guitar or a piano, ideally tracked to a click, so people can keep up with the tempo. Once this initial instrument is recorded, you can send it to all other players and everyone can shoot their own videos based on the visual plan.
4. Mix the audio
Once you receive the recordings from players, the first step should be to mix the audio. You can run a regular mixing chain, such as an EQ and compressor, and you can also add effects like reverb and delay. You can even apply some moderate automation in order to make the volume levels a bit more balanced. In certain cases, it might be a good idea to pan some players to the left and some to the right in order to create a more real live audio experience.
5. Put the video together
Using video editing software, start putting the picture together. First, import the videos into the software. Line up the videos to make sure everything is synced up properly. In order to make the sync easier, feel free to use the camera microphone recording.
Once you line up the picture, add the mixed audio. Then, extract the camera audio and delete it to make sure all that’s left is the mixed audio.
Once the picture and audio are locked up, now you can edit the picture. You can create little squares or rectangles and place each player into them. This will create a clean layout and also an entertaining experience for the viewer. Once you have a layout that you like, make some color adjustments and make sure the colors are cohesive for each player. The overall experience of watching this video should be a pleasant experience for the viewer and it should not be visually overwhelming.
6. Export and upload
Once everything is ready, export your video and upload it to the platform of your choice!
These are the six steps of creating a collaborative performance video remotely. There are many details involved in planning and producing a remote video, but I highly recommend that you find some reference videos. Also, do not hesitate to use the search engines to look up any problems you might encounter.
When you’re making a video for the first time, the process can be difficult and the learning curve is steep. But, as you keep making more videos, you will find out that the process can be streamlined and you get quicker every time.
Performance videos are great for social media engagement and they really drive the traffic to your music. Videos are memorable and listeners really like seeing their favorite music in video form, especially during these days when concerts are non-existent. So, give it a try and record some collaborative music videos!