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Old 10-20-2020, 06:14 PM
lkingston lkingston is offline
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Default Studio recording vs. decent audio for YouTube and Facebook video.

Like many musicians, I am interested in two types of recording: polished home studio production with as close as I can get to pristine audio and arrangement perfection. YouTube and Facebook video audio for video where the look is simple and uncluttered and the audience feels like they went to your place and you played them one of your favorite tunes.

There is of course some overlap, but the way you go about doing this and the equipment you use is pretty different. For example, on a YouTube video you might use a decent guitar pickup instead of a mic in order to get better separation from the vocal. You donít want multiple mics and stands. You want clear view of your face and hands. You donít want acoustic baffles in the shot if you can help it. You donít want to see a bunch of cables and mess. You want to play and sing at the same time and in one take.

The reason I am posting this is because I am chasing good audio for both these scenarios, and the techniques I want to discuss are different. For instance, I just posted a thread talking about using my Schertler AG6/S-mic pickup for the guitar audio. I wouldnít do this on a studio production because a good mic in front of the guitar would sound far better. I think it captures the sound of the guitar wonderfully well for a ďguitar and vocalsĒ YouTube performance though.

To illustrate the two different recording goals, Iíll use one of my sonís songs as an example.

Here is the studio version:

https://music.youtube.com/watch?v=Eo...&feature=share

And here is the far simpler ďone single mic and a guy with a cameraĒ YouTube version:

https://music.youtube.com/watch?v=BH...&feature=share
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Old 10-20-2020, 06:52 PM
Brent Hahn Brent Hahn is offline
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Nice song!

Sure, sonically the studio version is tidier. But the living room version has way more "pocket," and that's the one I'd rather listen to.

In the studio version the time of the guitar playing is pretty irregular, which sets me off a little by itself. But that irregularity makes it hard for the singer (overdubbing) to settle in and groove with the guitar. It's all a little awkward.

The playing in the live version is steadier to begin with, and since he's playing and singing at the same time the groove is much better, even if his time moves around a little.
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Old 10-20-2020, 06:56 PM
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I don't approach these two that differently, tho as you say there's a couple of differences in priorities. On a studio recording, I'm happy to edit, punch in, etc. On video, that's mostly not possible, so you have to get a complete take you're happy with. And there's a visual aspect. Visuals probably take at least as much priority as sound in videos. I think this varies with the performer and how much they care. There are plenty of you tube videos out there made with a phone aimed up the performer's nose, so not everyone is prioritizing visual appeal :-)

For me, usually, I try to find a compromise with the mic placement. I have been using the one stereo mic just because it's easier to ensure it doesn't block a camera than when dealing with two mic and 2 stands. I also don't get into the sound check nearly as much. When recording in the studio, I often spend a fair bit of time fine-tuning the mic placement, listening, and refining before I even do the first take. Trying different mics, different guitars, different mic placements to see what works best for the tune. With video, I set the mics up, try to compromise between being relatively close and what looks ok on camera, check levels on the meters, and hit record. I also shoot videos in an untreated room, vs my treated studio space.

The video Teja Gerken just posted of a duet we did was a rather extreme example, because we didn't want the clutter of mics in between us, so I spent a lot of time trying to make sure there was enough distance between me and the mics from all camera angles that I could crop the mics out. As a result, the mic was pretty far away in an untreated room. I tried to get it as close as I could, but it was further away and in less an ideal location than I wanted, sonically. I also plugged in for the video, so I recorded mic and pickup, and ended up mixing in maybe 10% pickup, just to sort of reduce the room sound of the mics without hearing the pickup sound. The resulting sound isn't as good as the studio recording we did of the tune, but it worked out overall.
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Old 10-20-2020, 07:14 PM
lkingston lkingston is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Nice song!



Sure, sonically the studio version is tidier. But the living room version has way more "pocket," and that's the one I'd rather listen to.

I prefer the live YouTube version as well, but the YouTube version has 1.3K plays, and the Studio version several hundred thousand.
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Old 10-20-2020, 07:16 PM
lkingston lkingston is offline
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Here is probably my favorite example of live video vs. studio recording. This was the winning entry for the 2020 Tiny Desk contest:

https://youtu.be/Ursri8GmlW4

And here is the ďofficial audioĒ studio version:

https://youtu.be/uEkuEIVMwyo
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Old 10-20-2020, 07:20 PM
Brent Hahn Brent Hahn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lkingston View Post
... the YouTube version has 1.3K plays...
That's 1300 more people than agree with me about most things. And I'll confess that I listened to a bit of the studio version again to see if I still agree with myself.
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Old 10-20-2020, 07:25 PM
lkingston lkingston is offline
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Default Studio recording vs. decent audio for YouTube and Facebook video.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lkingston View Post
Here is probably my favorite example of live video vs. studio recording. This was the winning entry for the 2020 Tiny Desk contest:

https://youtu.be/Ursri8GmlW4

And here is the ďofficial audioĒ studio version:

https://youtu.be/uEkuEIVMwyo


Again I prefer the live recorded version. The requirements of the two settings influenced things like mic selection. Iím sure that they used a large diaphragm condenser for all the vocals in the studio version. That wouldnít have worked for the live version though, so they used a lowly Shure SM57 on the lead vocal because she had other singers on each side there would have been too much bleed with a condenser,. I am guessing on the stripped down drums, but I would estimate two mics: one for the overhead/snare and probably one on the kick (though maybe it was just one mic. On the studio version there would be a full drum kit with mics and side chain gates on everything.

Then there is the simplified arrangement (which I really very much like)...

Anyway, personally I am chasing both sounds, and yeah there is some overlap, but there is also quite a difference.
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Old 10-20-2020, 07:39 PM
lkingston lkingston is offline
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Another example. I am a complete and utter Emily Elbert fan. I love this Marvin Gaye cover:

Studio version:
https://music.youtube.com/watch?v=BF...&feature=share

YouTube version:
https://music.youtube.com/watch?v=0I...&feature=share
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Old 10-20-2020, 07:44 PM
lkingston lkingston is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lkingston View Post
Another example. I am a complete and utter Emily Elbert fan. I love this Marvin Gaye cover:

Studio version:
https://music.youtube.com/watch?v=BF...&feature=share

YouTube version:
https://music.youtube.com/watch?v=0I...&feature=share

Or this version:
https://music.youtube.com/watch?v=2w...&feature=share
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Old 10-20-2020, 09:48 PM
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As Doug, myself and others have pointed out in other threads, you can "get away with" lesser quality audio to an extent if it's a live video. People watch the performer, and want it to *sound* like they're "in your living room" as well as look like it.

The only real reason you need separation for a live video is to balance the parts. If you do too much else in post, it can sound artificial; you need to have a light hand anyway. So don't sweat the bleed so much.

As for mic position, for the videos I have on my YouTube channel I have the guitar mic low, on a low stand, just out of the bottom of the frame. Then I like to put the vocal mic up high and hanging down, so it's not obstructing the view of me. That also has the side benefit of getting the mics apart as far as you can get in space, and by pointing them away from each other as much as possible I can get more than enough separation to balance levels, even give them lightly different EQ if needed, and vary any reverb sends a bit.
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Old 10-21-2020, 12:02 AM
lkingston lkingston is offline
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I donít think itís so much a matter of lessor quality as it is a different criteria. For example, good dynamic mics and Cloudlifters are sometimes more appropriate for a video because there is less bleed between sources and they pick up less of the environment. I do want a little of the ambience of the room you see in the video, but rejection of things at a distance (like outside traffic, kitchen appliances and hvac) are a good thing. For a while I did location audio. When you are recording location audio, you donít want it to sound completely sterile. You want everything to be clear, but you also want it to sound like it was recorded in the environment you see. Itís not inferior. Itís just a different goal.
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Old 10-21-2020, 12:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lkingston View Post
When you are recording location audio, you donít want it to sound completely sterile. You want everything to be clear, but you also want it to sound like it was recorded in the environment you see. Itís not inferior. Itís just a different goal.
I mostly record myself solo instrument, so I don't generally have to deal with much as far as bleed, or even the environment (other than room acoustics).

But I've done some video work for others where I've had to deal with some of that. For example, the following video was recorded live in a TV studio, and there was tons of bleed between everything. I had DIs from the bass and guitar, but also mics on both, and the percussionist's mics picked up both nearly as well as the spot mics on each source, and the guitar mic picked up the percussion quite well, too. So you, just go with the bleed and make it part of the sound:



Here's a simpler case, shot in the same room. Again, I took a DI from the guitar, an attached mic on the violin, and the rest was captured by the single mic. Basically, the main mic picked up everything, and wasn't bad all by itself, as the performers balanced themselves just as they do when playing to an audience. But I was able to use the DIs to create a little stereo spread, control reverb between each sound, and make slight level adjustments, while still sounding (hopefully) and looking like I'm just picking up the group from the single mic.



Ah, for the days when a bunch of musicians could all be in the same room!

This 2nd video is interesting to compare to a different video this duo made (I had nothing to do with this one), where they recorded audio in the studio, then lipsync'd to the recording while out in the woods, so more of the "MTV" approach, and the visual environment and audio are not related at all:

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Old 10-21-2020, 03:12 PM
lkingston lkingston is offline
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Default Studio recording vs. decent audio for YouTube and Facebook video.

I much prefer the first one.
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Old 10-21-2020, 04:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lkingston View Post
I much prefer the first one.
The one with the trio? Much more going on in that one of course. Challenging to mix due to all the bleed, but it's hard to go too far wrong with Michael Manring playing.
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Old 10-21-2020, 05:35 PM
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The studio version sounds quite bad for several reasons IMO. You can certainly record better than that yourself with modest expense and practice.
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