Recording a D.I.Y. Music Video
Here’s our latest video – Commit A Crime (What A Woman) originally by Howlin’ Wolf.
We had a blast making it and I thought I’d just blog about the process a little. It as a bit of a complicated process making a music video…
I wanted to capture some of the blues covers we do. I’ve been interested in recording techniques for years and when I’ve listened to an album by often completely different artists I find it’s been recorded, mixed and mastered by the same few people. These talented group of people are the wizards behind the curtain who make a band sound amazing. It’s a subject that’s massively interesting and a personal one – after all, my favourite mixing engineers might not be the same as yours – so I suggest looking on the back of your favourite sounding albums and type their names into YouTube! For a general approach I would recommend some reading – these 3 books have all the tricks of the trade!
The books are really comprehensive and they work though many great concepts. One of them is the fact the ‘back in the day’ there used to be 3 different kinds of people, a recording engineer, mixing engineer and mastering engineer and each would do their respective jobs very well. These days, and with my band’s stuff in particular, I am doing all 3 jobs! You have to approach each stage as a job in itself and try and use the techniques and knowledge of each so it all adds up to a better sounding end product.
So the first job was recording/capturing/tracking the audio – this is how I approached it:
I recorded on two Zoom R16 synced together which gives me 16 tracks (24bit/44.1kHz) of simultaneous recordings. I recorded drums mostly on one machine and other instruments/vocals on the other. For the audio geeks out there like me, I had a D112 on the Kick, SM57s on snare and hihat, AKG D440 on 2 toms and a D550 on the floor tom. For the overhead/cymbal mike I had a single Golden Age Project R1 ribbon microphone connected to a sturdy overhead mic stand (see photo).
For the guitar amp I used a Sennheiser e609 (close) and an Sm57 (distance). 2 microphones for 2 reasons, I could use a back up mike if there were any problems and it also gave me options – I could use the microphones either in isolation or mixed together (after phase correction/time alignment). I ended up using just the Sm57 on its own as this just sounded the best.
And although we had a bass amp and a vocal monitor so we could hear everything in the room, I took a D.I. from the bass and a splitter cable for the vocals and recorded these ‘dry’.
My favourite recording technique involved the use of a ribbon mic (another Golden Age Project R1) as an ambience microphone. This captures the ambience of the room and I suspect this technique plays an important role in some of my favourite sounding recordings so I’ll be exploring this topic in the future.
The use of this microphone technique was a bit of a complicated idea for me to suss out but essentially, it acts as a ‘sides’ microphone in a mid/sides recording.
Well that concludes the capturing of the audio and if you haven’t fallen asleep yet you’re doing well! I’d like to get into the mixing stuff next but I think I’ll leave all that to another time.
I’ve just moved onto a great new DAW (recording/mixing software) called Studio One by PreSonus and it has TONS of great features but as one of my 3 books pointed out: take any great mixing engineer and get that person to use ANY equipment and ANY software and they’ll get a great sound.
Recording these video’s is a megga load of fun and it’s also giving me more experience learning how to apply all the things I’ve learned… so we’ll continue to do it. Please share the video’s and subscribe to the YouTube channel, it really helps us out