Recording Tips

Preparation

  • Music should be thoroughly prepared, aim for a max of three takes per piece. Try to play all the way through without stopping; it is easy to get stuck and obsess over the first section of a piece when recording.
  • Will you give an introduction, if so what will you say? Practice saying it to a mirror before you record.
  • Plan how you want your video to look, what camera angle(s)? Below are some options to consider.
  1. To the right of the piano, aligned with keys, at eye level with pianist.
  2. At either end of keyboard with camera close to keys
  3. Aerial view from above keys
  4. View from further away to see entire piano
  5. View of hammers
  • Do a trial-run at least one day before you record

Making it look good

  • Stability: tripod, iPad stand, a music stand, other solutions.
  • Landscape orientation: important for recording on iPad/iPhone
  • Lighting: natural light vs. artificial light. A light source behind you can be an interesting effect, but it can also turn you into a silhouette. Recording video in dimly lit rooms = grainy video.
  • Movement: pan, tilt, zooming, changing camera angles, other kinds of movement. Movement makes videos more interesting!
  • Give a few seconds of stillness before you start and after you finish in case you want to do a fade-in/out

Making it sound Good

  • Generally, the closer the microphones, the better the sound.
  • Recording external audio: Zoom recorders, Voice Record Pro app, USB mics.
  • Setting gain: reading db meters, finding the sweet spot. It is best to set the gain by playing the loudest part of your piece to insure there will not be any distortion when you record the entire piece.
  • Give a few seconds of silence before you start and after you finish for fade-in/out

Editing

  • Software: iMovie, Windows Movie Maker, Lightworks (free), Adobe Premiere Elements, Garageband for audio.
  • iMovie on iPad vs iMac/Macbook: good for simple editing
  • Titles, transitions, fade-in, fade-out
  • Audio synching external audio: align sound graphs in editor
  • Adding visuals, photos and video
  • Multiple camera angles: watch each camera shot all the way through and choose what parts of your recording you want from each angle.

Sharing

  • Where will you upload your video? How will you get the word out?

Guiding principles

  • Better equipment = more flexibility, creative options. But not necessarily better videos, start making recordings NOW and worry about upgrading equipment later. You can achieve great results from an iPad or iPhone with practice.
  • Editing video/audio is time consuming. The more you do it the faster you will be. Have patience! If you are having trouble figuring out how to do something, search the internet for a solution to your problem. It is likely someone else encountered the same problem as you before and found a solution. YouTube tutorials can also be helpful for attacking specific problems.
Location

Centre for Musical Minds
9300 John Hickman Pkwy
Suite 405
Frisco, Texas 75035

t- 214-586-4309
e- info@centremm.org