Simplify Your Video Set up for Music Video Recording – 5 Steps

Lindsay of Skeye covers Amy Winehouse
John and Lindsey of Skeye are do-it-yourself musical artists with a YouTube channel that's getting a lot of attention.

Singdaptive asked John and Lindsey from Skeye to explain how singers and bands can get a quality YouTube video on a budget. They walk us through 5 steps:

Step 1: Shooting The Video

use your smartphone or step up to a DSLR for video – you can get one on eBay

If you’re looking for the simplest way to shoot video, and you’re on a tight budget, then your best equipment might be sitting right in your pocket.

A lot of smartphones shoot in 4k today, and new iPhones even ship with iMovie installed, so you can edit your video right on your phone.

If there’s room in your budget and you’d like to invest in a dedicated video camera, we recommend DSLRs.

They offer more versatility and control than a smartphone camera. We bought our Canon 60D in 2011, and it’s still a great camera today.

It has a flip-out screen which is perfect for monitoring your shots or getting interesting angles. You can usually find used models on eBay for under $500.

Step 2: Capturing The Audio

Zoom H5 portable recorder
Zoom H5 Recorder

You don’t want to rely on the sound from your camera or smartphone – unless they are connected to a mic that is outside of the camera/phone.

The best sound results from recording audio directly from your vocal mic and/or mics on other instruments through an audio interface and into a computer for mixing.

However, you might be surprised how some small audio recorders and capture great sound and eliminate the need for an expensive recording set up.

We like to use handheld audio recorders as a part of our set up. They eliminate the need for an audio interface, as well as professional recording software like ProTools or Logic Pro.

The Zoom H5 is our top recommendation for affordability and portability.

Step 3: Lighting

John and Lindsey of Skeye Trains&Smoke
John and Lindsey play with lighting on ‘Trains & Smoke’

Get creative! You don’t need a whole studio of professional lighting equipment to make a quality video.

Your grandmother’s old vintage lamp can work as both an interesting prop as well as a single, moody light source.

If Grandma is stingy with her antiques, then climb into the attic and dig out your family’s holiday string lights, or head to Home Depot and pick up some $10 clip-on lights.

If you’re looking to invest in studio lights, you can usually find sets of 1-3 budget-friendly soft boxes on Amazon or eBay.

These make it easy to experiment with lighting angles. For example, we backlight and sidelight many of our shots, and we’re not afraid of letting our soft boxes sneak into the corner of a video, or more.

The contrast can be really cool, especially if the room is dark and there’s a single light behind or beside your subject. Our video, “Trains and Smoke,” is a perfect example of this.

Step 4: Scenery

John and Lindsay of Skeye Like Your Style

Get creative at home. In our video, “Like Your Style,” we opened up our kitchen doors to reveal the gorgeous Upstate New York autumn foliage right in our backyard.

The colors were spectacular and we didn’t even have to leave the comforts of home.

If you’re the adventurous type, travel! Load up the car and start scouting. We’ve recorded videos in big lecture halls, art studios, 4-story stairwells, and even outdoors – all for the unique acoustics and backdrops.

We didn’t drive hours to find these spots, either. Most locations were in our colleges or hometowns.

Step 5: Record Multiple Parts At Once

John and Lindsay of Skeye Move On

If your band or group consists of more than one person, experiment with recording as many parts as you can all at once, and then layer on more parts after that.

For example, in our video “Move On,” (see image below) Lindsey was on keys and vocals, and John was on drums and also controlling the loop pedal for vocals.

That was the basis for the whole song. And even though we set up two cameras for that scene, we could have gotten away with one. That setup essentially got 3 or 4 parts done at the same time, and then we added guitar, bass, organ, bells, and more on top of it.

Set up for John and Lindsey of Skeye - Move On
John and Lindsey record multiple parts at once
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