I have had a few people ask me how I create videos for YouTube and Instagram and get the sound that I get. What kind of mic’s are you using? What kind of camera? How did you mix it?
The funny thing is I really don’t use anything fancy at all, only what I have at my disposal. I have just learned how to make it work for me instead of spending a lot money. It might not be as good as others but it works, and I’m very happy with the sound I’m getting from my kit.
Camera: GoPro Hero 3 Silver Edition
All of my videos are recorded with this camera. And yes… this is also the audio you are hearing on all of my videos. The microphone on this camera is phenomenal! I never have any issues with my drums being too loud, or the PA in the background causing any distortion issues. The Hero 3 adds a little compression to the overall drum sound.
Lighting: Sylvania 6500K 800 Lumens 13W, Utility Lamp from Lowes
I did some research on lighting a while back and found that the 6500K Sylvania bulbs worked best in a closed room situation. I also bought just a cheap utility lamp from lowes to house the bulb. It makes it easy to clamp wherever. You can also use as many of these as needed. I only use one.
Audio: QSC K8 PA Speaker, iPod Classic 6th Generation 80 GB.
For my audio when I am playing along to a track I am just using a PA speaker with a 3.5 mm audio cord ran to my iPod classic.
Editing: iPad 4/iMovie app for iPad
For editing I use my iPad 4 and the iMovie app. I usually connect my GoPro to my laptop to upload the videos and place them in a folder for my iPad. I do all of my edits in iMovie, save the movie, then pull that from the iPad back to my laptop if I’m uploading it to YouTube.
Camera, PA, And Lighting Placement
Camera and PA
When I first started recording these videos I tried to find the best spot for the camera to not only pick up a great sound but to show a decent view of me playing. I tried a few locations in front of the kit but ended up finding my sweet spot over my right shoulder facing all of the heads. It makes sense because that’s what your ears would be hearing and it’s still a view where you can see what’s going on for people watching. This may vary for each person. It is a personal preference and it’s what is working for me. Also the PA is mounted across the room at a distance and is turned up to produce enough volume to mix well with the kit.
Since I’m only using one light it wasn’t difficult to find the so-called “Sweet Spot”. I place the light to my upper right hand side pointed directly at my snare so that it lights up the whole kit. Nothing complicated there huh?
Here is an example from my YouTube clip “Crosses – Option (Drum Cover) by Matt Dudley
If I’m not playing along to a track I don’t edit any of the audio.
If I am playing along to a track I sometimes have to edit. Depending on how well my so-called “manual mix” is between the PA speaker and the volume of my kit determines if I need to add the audio from the track I’m playing to. I might add the track, line it up, and turn up the mix of that track just enough to sit well with the volume of the kit. It really doesn’t take much.
As far as video goes I just cut off a bit from the beginning and end and add the fade in’s and outs, and titles if needed. It also depends on what platform I am uploading to. If it’s Instagram I have to find my 15 second segment of the video I want to showcase and trim it down to fit. You can do this in the Instagram app but I like to do this in iMovie because I can make the video fade in from black, and fade out to black. Just another way to add a taste of professionalism right? I like it so I do it.
Use What You Have And Make It Work!
Hope this helps those of you wanting to get into recording drum covers, free lessons, etc… It’s not the only way to do it, it’s not the “Right” way, or the “Wrong” way, but it’s my way and it’s working for what I need it to do. Sometimes we have to use what we have to the best of our abilities so we don’t get hung up on always having the nicest gear. At some point you just need to play what you’ve got and record it the best way you can. If it’s great content it will shine through whatever gear you are using no matter if it’s the cheapest thing, or the most expensive.