Make a Video Demo #1 – The Barbarian Method

My indicators lead me to a clear statement… You love these video demos that are filling the MuZicoSphere!! No, please don’t blush because I am just like you… I love them too!!

Dirty Harry Callahan would be so angry about it, but we do have opinions and we want to share these with our fellow musicians… Even though we are not trying to reach the quality of a Hollywood blockbuster, it is obvious that we need some basic skills to make these videos useful for the viewer. Indeed, he is looking for information in order to select items of interest for a future purchase and you want to share your information… So let’s give him the best possible quality demos…

Though the amount of tools is almost infinite, there are not much methods to realize a demo video… And this will be my matter of interest in this short article and few others to come…

The Barbarian Method

This method is the easiest one. I won’t extensively write about it but to tell you about advantages and disadvantages of this method. Resulting videos of this recording method will range from bad as hell to reasonably good!

It consists in capturing the image and sound via one unique device (Digital camera, camcorder… I even saw some people using mobile phones). It is the fastest way to get a video of your musical instrument. It involves a few steps:

  • Recording
  • Transferring to the computer
  • Video editing
  • Uploading to your favorite website… Obviously, this will be MuZicoSphere!!

As a counterpart to this fast implementation, you will quickly reach the limits of this method… It’s just a simple trade-off!! There are two major limits:

Gear limits.

The image quality of a video made with a digital camera will usually range from mediocre to reasonably good. However, these cameras are often equipped with low performance microphones. The entry level is usually impossible to set on these cameras so that the saturation peaks are often easy to hit, particularly if you are recording an amplified instrument or percussions. I guess you will agree that this is too bad as you are looking to emphasize the sound properties of an instrument. I used a digital camera to make two demos (lapsteel and miniolian) because at that time I only had that device available. Moreover, the quality of the youtube player is not satisfying at all when it comes to musical videos, so…

Generally, camcorders are way better either you are considering the image or the sound qualities. They are equipped with better microphones that often have to reach a higher level before saturation occurs. My personal experience with camcorders lead me to think that the results are satisfying enough if you are recording acoustic instruments or amplified instruments at a reasonable volume.  However, the microphones you will find either on digital cameras or camcorders are not made to capture the sound of a musical instrument.

Technical limit.

It is always interesting to work on the soundtrack in order to clean it up a little (filter background noises, adjust the volume,…). But don’t forget that you don’t want to heavily modify the sound in such a demo video. There are software solutions to separate the sound track from the video in order to edit it on a sound editing software. Some video editing software are less flexible and will just allow you to visualize the soundtrack and to perform some basic editions such as volume adjustment. I will talk about these software solutions later. However, whatever software you are using, you will have to face the problem of the original sound capture that relies on the standard microphone of your camera.

That is why I think you will have to look for the sophisticated method that we will see in a more extensive article to come…

 

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