YouTube is a huge part of what we do as musicians today, and the tools for creating high quality audio and video are easier and more affordable than ever. I’ve had the chance to do a lot of video work for the web over the last few years, like the above video of the Kiley Evans performing at the famed Indian Ranch, and wanted to share a few odds and ends about creating the best content you can when making live recordings of your band.
Clean up your space
A cluttered, messy room looks 10x more cluttered and messy on camera, so take the time to look at your space and move things around so there are less lines and less colors to confuse the shot.
Shove the camera up there
Get closer than you think you should, especially if it’s a GoPro or another fish eye lens. You’ll capture all the motion of the player without cluttering the shot if you keep things tight.
Create a sense of movement
Humans love visual change, but if you’re shooting in a basement that can be difficult. Here are the three basic situations I’ve run into:
1) One camera and an operator: the camera itself can move around your group, in and out, creating visual interest.
2) One camera and no operator: you need to move. Whether you’re doing serious choreography or just blasting out the energy, the players are the only thing that will be moving in the shot, so do it big.
3) Multiple cameras and no operator: set them up around the room at a variety of angles and create motion by editing the scene. With modern software, this is pretty easy.
Be consistent with your eye contact
Whether you look at the camera or not, keep doing that, and be consistent within the band. Where is everyone looking? Where is everyone not looking? Is the singer looking at something different?
Many indirect lights
Your room cannot be too bright, trust me on this. Go for a consistent wash of light, no hot spots, no lights in the shot. Put a bunch of lights behind the camera, and as many lights as you can hide behind musicians and gear.
High quality audio
You knew this was coming. YouTube analytics prove that a video with quality audio will retain viewers and inspire more shares than videos with shoddy audio. JamHub’s Tracker MT16 portable multitrack recorder makes it easy to pair simple video with amazing audio, which is exactly what your blossoming fan-base is looking for.
Personally, I like 4-5 GoPros and my Tracker MT16, but it’s really important to remember that everyone’s cell phone is a video camera, and that you can get all the content you need if you’re organized and clear about your intentions with your bandmates.
Finally, make video content part of your regular routine. Make it a rule. One video every month. Even if you can only stick to if for 6 months, when a gig comes calling in a year, you’ll have all that content to show the venue owner.