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Connecting the recording world together...

I thought I'd like to kick of this new forum category with some lessons I've learned in over the last few years in video production and I would love to hear others views.

My top 3 myths are:

1. All you need is a smartphone and you can make awesome videos.

While there is some merit to this, it is akin to making music on an iPhone. It can be done but it is hardly the option professionals choose. Smart phone cameras have gotten really good. By the time you rig one out with a gimbal, filters, lenses and software you are into a similar price point as a decent mirrorless camera with a far inferior workflow.

2. The best mic for video is a camera mounted shotgun microphone like the rode video micro.

As an audio guy first, I have never had good results with these. In order for the mic to sound good a person needs to get it close to the source. This means you'll need to mount it on a mic stand and get it as close to your talent as possible. In run and gun situations they can work okay. I've had better luck with wireless lav mics. I currently use the Hollyland lark 150. If I need a camera mounted mic. I clip the transmitter onto the lens hood of my camera. This gets the mic a few inches closer to the talent. The polar pattern is not as directional however it doesn't suffer from the same phase issues these "video" shotgun mics typically suffer from. These shotgun mics are basically a lav mic with a 3-6" tube coming of the end with holes in it.

3. Be authentic with your audience.

This is the mantra that you hear on line in every "how to make digital content" video. I change this to "be consistent". Video is a performance just like being on stage. You generally need to talk faster, be more concise and more well groomed than in everyday life. If you are using video to support a business the organization needs to keep the video consistent with the business. You may have a sales rep that is very good at what they do but is a raging closet alcoholic. You don't want that person being "authentic" on camera. You want that person being consistent with the persona they uphold at work. This is an extreme example that doesn't stand up under close scrutiny but I do think it makes the point.

I would love to hear others views on the on this from their experience.

bouldersound Wed, 02/24/2021 - 10:40

How do you feel about fancy, high budget music videos produced for studio recordings vs. decent, more affordably produced, live performance videos? How about an actual live performance with a paying audience vs. an authentic live performance in, say, a rehearsal space?

My feeling is that a live performance video of any kind has more value for booking gigs than an MTV style music video. I think having a live audience is only somewhat better than a live take under more controlled circumstances.

Paul999 Wed, 02/24/2021 - 10:57

bouldersound, post: 467761, member: 38959 wrote:
How do you feel about fancy, high budget music videos produced for studio recordings vs. decent, more affordably produced, live performance videos? How about an actual live performance with a paying audience vs. an authentic live performance in, say, a rehearsal space?

My feeling is that a live performance video of any kind has more value for booking gigs than an MTV style music video. I think having a live audience is only somewhat better than a live take under more controlled circumstances.

From my experience creating an MTV style video is very difficult to do at the best of times without it looking cheesy. For booking gigs a live show with an audience is the best way to go. I would also get a multi channel split of the the audio feeds recorded so that it can be mixed later. A "live studio" feeling video would be second best IMO.

bouldersound Wed, 02/24/2021 - 11:39

Paul999, post: 467762, member: 42110 wrote:
From my experience creating an MTV style video is very difficult to do at the best of times without it looking cheesy. For booking gigs a live show with an audience is the best way to go. I would also get a multi channel split of the the audio feeds recorded so that it can be mixed later. A "live studio" feeling video would be second best IMO.

I find doing a split adds a ton of work (and expense) to a live recording. If cost were no object, I'd do it every time (and I have the gear to do it), but cost is always an object. I think viewers are fairly forgiving if the audio mix is at least fair and the visuals are engaging. But this might be my bias as one who targets a budget market, better than a phone cam but under four figures. I've gotten pretty good results using my Zoom H5 to capture the board mix on two tracks and the stage sound (amps and drums) with the onboard mics on the other two tracks. If the live mix sounds good, I can "reconstitute" it in post.

Also, I expect successful artists to outgrow me and move to pro level video. I just serve as an intermediate step for newish artists that need to upgrade from the shaky phone cam with distorted sound. I don't think bands should overspend on videos until they can justify it.

Paul999 Wed, 02/24/2021 - 11:50

bouldersound, post: 467766, member: 38959 wrote:
I find doing a split adds a ton of work (and expense) to a live recording. If cost were no object, I'd do it every time (and I have the gear to do it), but cost is always an object. I think viewers are fairly forgiving if the audio mix is at least fair and the visuals are engaging. But this might be my bias as one who targets a budget market, better than a phone cam but under four figures. I've gotten pretty good results using my Zoom H5 to capture the board mix on two tracks and the stage sound (amps and drums) with the onboard mics on the other two tracks. If the live mix sounds good, I can "reconstitute" it in post.

Also, I expect successful artists to outgrow me and move to pro level video. I just serve as an intermediate step for newish artists that need to upgrade from the shaky phone cam with distorted sound. I don't think bands should overspend on videos until they can justify it.

That is a completely fair comment, especially if your background is more in video than audio.

You are smart to know who your market is and give clients a realistic expectation of what they will receive. I also agree that bands should not over spend on video until their income justifies the expense. It is rare that a single video launches a band into a level of income. Videos are stepping stones along the way.

bouldersound Wed, 02/24/2021 - 12:11

Paul999, post: 467767, member: 42110 wrote:
That is a completely fair comment, especially if your background is more in video than audio.

You are smart to know who your market is and give clients a realistic expectation of what they will receive. I also agree that bands should not over spend on video until their income justifies the expense. It is rare that a single video launches a band into a level of income. Videos are stepping stones along the way.

Actually, my background is more in audio, but it all started from dabbling in live bootleg style recording. That led to live mixing and studio recording. Eventually, hauling a PA into a venue, mixing the band, then hauling it all out again became too much, so I went back to my live recording roots, but with video.

pcrecord Wed, 02/24/2021 - 12:12

I'm totally with you Paul. Althought I must admit there is a strong trend of glorified lowres going on for a few years.
I've invited friends to record at my studio and they keep doing the cellphone thing anyway (Lower angles, backlit, noisy roomy sound, bad instrument vs voice balance. everything to make me cringe) ;)
I don't know if we will get out of this trend soon. I see this in audio, video and photography and from very talented artists.

bouldersound, post: 467766, member: 38959 wrote:
I find doing a split adds a ton of work (and expense) to a live recording. If cost were no object, I'd do it every time (and I have the gear to do it), but cost is always an object. I think viewers are fairly forgiving if the audio mix is at least fair and the visuals are engaging.

I agree it is extra work.. but if I had the ressources to do so, I'd record on multi track and mix in post all the time.
I mean, all my decision mixing live depends on the room or venue. it's clearly not ment to sound good any place else.
Having at least in stems would be a good thing... I've often been asked to record via the digital mixer rec options.. but never got good results.
But of course it always depends on the expectation. If I end such recordings I will promptly say it will sound bad and nothing like what the person hears from the PA.. ;)

I'm doing a video a week on my youtube channel and I often cut corners to get it done on time..
There is some things people won't notice.. but not doing it full time kinda limit how much time I can invest in them...

bouldersound Wed, 02/24/2021 - 13:06

pcrecord, post: 467769, member: 46460 wrote:
I agree it is extra work.. but if I had the ressources to do so, I'd record on multi track and mix in post all the time.
I mean, all my decision mixing live depends on the room or venue. it's clearly not ment to sound good any place else.
Having at least in stems would be a good thing... I've often been asked to record via the digital mixer rec options.. but never got good results.
But of course it always depends on the expectation. If I end such recordings I will promptly say it will sound bad and nothing like what the person hears from the PA.. ;)

It's not my resources that matters, it's the band's. And if there are two to four bands playing in a night, arranging for a split is going to lead to issues of diplomacy with the house crew that can cause a lot of friction. I try to keep things low impact.

When a band gets to the point where they can dictate the tech situation in advance, then they can do the split etc., but then they've probably outgrown me.

pcrecord Wed, 02/24/2021 - 15:39

bouldersound, post: 467770, member: 38959 wrote:
It's not my resources that matters, it's the band's. And if there are two to four bands playing in a night, arranging for a split is going to lead to issues of diplomacy with the house crew that can cause a lot of friction. I try to keep things low impact.

When a band gets to the point where they can dictate the tech situation in advance, then they can do the split etc., but then they've probably outgrown me.

I get it..
Ironicly, musicians aren't always the easiest to deal with around a stage.. ;)

Paul999 Wed, 02/24/2021 - 20:17

bouldersound, post: 467768, member: 38959 wrote:
Actually, my background is more in audio, but it all started from dabbling in live bootleg style recording. That led to live mixing and studio recording. Eventually, hauling a PA into a venue, mixing the band, then hauling it all out again became too much, so I went back to my live recording roots, but with video.

Ha! yup loading and unloading gear gets old really quick. I am happy you have found a niche that is working for you. I need to make efficiencies and decide to leave videos alone even thought there is more I can do all the time. Billable hours and giving clients what they pay for is one thing. Working indefinitely to get a budget project perfect is taking advantage of yourself.

Paul999 Wed, 02/24/2021 - 20:23

pcrecord, post: 467769, member: 46460 wrote:

I'm doing a video a week on my youtube channel and I often cut corners to get it done on time..
There is some things people won't notice.. but not doing it full time kinda limit how much time I can invest in them...

I get what you mean with youtube videos. Getting the job done within a time deadline is part of the overall picture.

pcrecord, post: 467774, member: 46460 wrote:
I get it..
Ironicly, musicians aren't always the easiest to deal with around a stage.. ;)

Truer words have never been spoken:cool:

ronmac Thu, 02/25/2021 - 10:35

Sorry. I may have drifted off your topic.

In a nutshell, my number one myth to bust is "Good enough, is good enough". A poorly conceived/performed/produced "live" video was likely better than nothing at the beginning of our stay at home, but it won't be acceptable forever.

bouldersound Thu, 02/25/2021 - 11:24

ronmac, post: 467789, member: 24337 wrote:
Sorry. I may have drifted off your topic.

In a nutshell, my number one myth to bust is "Good enough, is good enough". A poorly conceived/performed/produced "live" video was likely better than nothing at the beginning of our stay at home, but it won't be acceptable forever.

I tend not to shoot for the absolute top grade production, mostly because that's out of reach. My approach is to go for good enough + 10%, with "good enough" an evolving standard.

ronmac Thu, 02/25/2021 - 11:42

Bouldersound, I believe we are on the same page.

"good enough" for most local musicians I see doing live shows is getting something/anything to appear on Facebook Live. They can improve that with a bit of guidance and help.

Paul999 Thu, 02/25/2021 - 12:43

I love this question of "what is good enough". In audio mixing I have the level of mixing that I do. It most best suited to small market radio and beginning big market radio level. This is the only type of mixing I do when I am hired by bands. Whenever I've tried to do things on a lesser budget I end up working for free to get it to the level I can. I have three considerations when taking a project. 1. Can I elevate the project? 2. Does it pay? 3. Do I like the people and the project? If one of these is a no, I don't take the project. I am working to get to the same level with video however I am still finding that balance.

paulears Sun, 03/07/2021 - 01:02

Don’t ever do what I did. Because we record audio and video we have the kit, but three of the four of us in our band do sound, video and lights for others, but we can’t do ourselves! We had the idea that we could wait till we had an event our friends, wives, girlfriends could get to, and we’d give them the kit to work. We could show them, train them, give them things they could do as beginners. Most of our work was away, but one big theatre was close enough, and they let us arrive at ten, instead of two. We set up the gear. Instructed the least able to be on the wide shots we framed and told them they could slowly pan left right, and zoom between only two marks we put on camera tape. Very wide to wide. We put a camera at the stage edge on a rolling ped, but warned them not to change the hight because people behind would get their view blocked. We gave another a shoulder mount camera with it set to always in focus wide and told them to get on stage in their black clothing and get interesting shots.

what a disaster. Out of 90 minutes we got three songs worth of useable material.

the on stage person did ok till halfway through song one when she realised everyone could see her so she hardly appeared on stage from then on and zoomed in so it was out of focus and wobbly cam. Same with the left right front camera. They stayed totally right. I stand the other side, so no pictures of me apart from distant zooms all soft. The rear audience camera had got bored staying wide so decided she’d help by zooming in and randomly going from person to person. We did use the multitrack. It had the best drum sound we’d had for the live gigs mainly because the stage was big and separation from noisy guitars was good.

great gear and untrained people was a bad move. We assumed it would be occasional wobbles, or weird framing we could sort, but in the edit we often had one shot. Every other had errors on the same place. Like there would be a guitar solo, so EVERYONE zoomed in, badly. Cutaways worked badly. The wide angle camera worked for just a few tracks until they got bored and the safety cutaway vanished. Two 45 min sets, and three song’s, and only two of those were good, and I’m hardly in them! The best pics were the drum GoPro!

Paul999 Sun, 03/07/2021 - 06:41

paulears, post: 468120, member: 47782 wrote:
Don’t ever do what I did. Because we record audio and video we have the kit, but three of the four of us in our band do sound, video and lights for others, but we can’t do ourselves! We had the idea that we could wait till we had an event our friends, wives, girlfriends could get to, and we’d give them the kit to work. We could show them, train them, give them things they could do as beginners. Most of our work was away, but one big theatre was close enough, and they let us arrive at ten, instead of two. We set up the gear. Instructed the least able to be on the wide shots we framed and told them they could slowly pan left right, and zoom between only two marks we put on camera tape. Very wide to wide. We put a camera at the stage edge on a rolling ped, but warned them not to change the hight because people behind would get their view blocked. We gave another a shoulder mount camera with it set to always in focus wide and told them to get on stage in their black clothing and get interesting shots.

what a disaster. Out of 90 minutes we got three songs worth of useable material.

the on stage person did ok till halfway through song one when she realised everyone could see her so she hardly appeared on stage from then on and zoomed in so it was out of focus and wobbly cam. Same with the left right front camera. They stayed totally right. I stand the other side, so no pictures of me apart from distant zooms all soft. The rear audience camera had got bored staying wide so decided she’d help by zooming in and randomly going from person to person. We did use the multitrack. It had the best drum sound we’d had for the live gigs mainly because the stage was big and separation from noisy guitars was good.

great gear and untrained people was a bad move. We assumed it would be occasional wobbles, or weird framing we could sort, but in the edit we often had one shot. Every other had errors on the same place. Like there would be a guitar solo, so EVERYONE zoomed in, badly. Cutaways worked badly. The wide angle camera worked for just a few tracks until they got bored and the safety cutaway vanished. Two 45 min sets, and three song’s, and only two of those were good, and I’m hardly in them! The best pics were the drum GoPro!

That is an awesome story:) I had a similar experience doing a show for a festival some years ago. Sometimes we take for granted how much we have learned over the years and assume that beginners can step into some of our roles.