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Old 01-31-2012, 03:28 PM
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Xero Talent Xero Talent is offline
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Default How-To: Ghetto Guide to Record a Drum Cover

How-To: Ghetto Guide to Record a Drum Cover

I've been asked by several people how I record my drum covers, so I thought I'd post up an DIY in case others can find it useful.

OK, so my recordings are done with a point-and-shoot camera mounted on a tripod (not HD unfortunately, although I just got a GoProHD, so that will change for my next videos). For the audio I am just using a crappy $10 RockBand microphone. Yes, you read that right. Obviously if you have good mics and a mixer, you would run the audio from those - of which I hope to get some soon for myself). For the mixing and recording, I'm using Audacity (free recording software) and I'm using Windows, so if you're a Mac user you'd likely use GarageBand or something similar.

One-Time Set Up
- Install Audacity. It's very intuitve to use and has good documentation.

- Hook up your mic(s). For me, I hook up the USB mic and install the drivers.

- Set up your camera where there is good lighting and a good view of your playing. Typically the better the lighting, the better quality the video. You can use multiple cameras to get multiple simultaneous views, but I don't have mutliple cameras so I won't touch on it. You should be able to figure out multiple camera recording after reading this article.

- VERY IMPORTANT!! It took me 2 days and about 20 wasted takes to figure this out. If you're using a USB mic like me, you are going to need to setup the recording latency in Audacity, or your drumming will always sound off-time. When I recorded my first song with a perfect take I was completely shattered to listen back to it and have the drums 1/8th of a beat behind the song. I literally thought I had deluded myself all these years that I was a good drummer, or that I had been secretly drugged or something because my metre was terrible. Turns out there's a latency with certain mics and you can go into Edit -> Preferences -> Recording tab and correct the latency in milliseconds (since my drumming was slightly behind, I adjusted my latency in the negative, ie: -160). The best way to do this is create a click track, and then record yourself clicking your sticks along with it. When you play it back, start adjusting the latentcy setting in the Preferences until they match perfectly. NOW you're good to go and your drumming will be on time!

- I put the mic on a mic stand about 2.5' high and about 6' away from the bass drum pointing at my snare drum.

- Tune your drums!


How to Record Yourself

- Open Audacity and start a new project.

- Find the mp3 of the song you want to cover. This will be your Master Track. Click File -> Import -> Audio (or Ctrl-Shft-I) and import the file. Now you'll see the stereo channels in waveform of the Master track.

- On the far left menu of the waveform, you'll see two buttons - Mute and Solo. Make sure both are unchecked. This is so you can hear the playback of the Master track when you're recording.

- If your song starts immediately with the drums, you are going to want to set up a click track to count you in. This will ensure you don't waste takes trying to "nail the 1" when the song starts. To find out how to do that, go to "Creating A Click Intro".

- Get comfortable ready to play! Start recording the video.

- Click the Record button in Audacity. You're live!

- Play along to the track.

- When you're done, click Stop in Audacity and stop recording on your video device.

- You're going to want to make sure you know what movie goes with what audio take because it's likely you're going to do multiple takes of the same song, so go to your video device and click the Playback button to see the last thing you recorded. Make note of the video file number. Go to your Audacity and save your project as {nameofsong}_{video file number} - this will ensure you match up the right video take with the right audio take.

- If you got a take you're happy with, awesome! You rock dude! *thousands cheer* \m/

- Now, if you created a click track to click you in, you need to remove the click track (just the x in the upper left of the track).

- Adjust the volume of the master track DOWN and UP the volume of the drum track as needed.

- Click File -> Export and save the file as an mp3 in the folder you created for this song.


Creating a Click Intro
- If your song starts with the drums, you're going to want to get clicked in. The best way is to start recording and then start clicking your sticks to the metre of the song four about 6-8 beats. Stop recording.

- Trim the recording to the 4 last beats.

- Use the Time Shift Tool to move the click to 4 beats before the song starts.

- Zoom in to align the waveforms to the 1-beat. Play back to make sure it's perfect. If so, you've got your click-in.

Tip of the hat to The Paradiddler for this trick.


Combining the Audio with the Video

I'm a Windows user, so I'm going to talk about using the pre-packaged software Windows MovieMaker. There are other more powerful software packages like Sony Vegas etc, but I don't have it nor have I used it. I'm not doing anything fancy, so WMM works fine for my needs. If you're using a Mac, you're probably using iMovie. It's a Mac, how hard can it be?

- Copy the video file to your computer. I create a new folder for each song I do, and keep each take of that song within that folder. I match up the video files with the audio files and I rename them "take1", "take2", etc.

- Open Windows MovieMaker. Drag and drop your video and audio files into the project.

- Drag the video into the storyboard.

- Since I'm using a shitty point-and-shoot camera, the audio is absolutely terrible. So if you're in the same boat, you're going to want to right-click the video, and click "Mute".

- There's probably a good bit of time from when you clicked record on the camera to when you started playing, so contract the video as needed until you find that first moment you start playing.

- Next, drag your audio onto the storyboard.

- Now the tricky part - aligning the audio with the video. Look for the first few notes you start playing, particularly the crash on the "1". That's your cue point. Fiddle with the video and audio, shortening the video as needed. Make sure you zoom in as much as possible, it will make it easier to make those tiny adjustments.

- To save the file click File -> Save Movie File and you're done!



That's really it. You can add titles and animations, and import secondary camera views as a picture-in-picture or switching from one to the eather with transitions, but I won't get into it here. This should give you a good starting point to expand and experiment with. Be creative!

The great thing about creating these videos is not only is it fun to share with your friends and peers, but it offers a fantastic free teaching tool for self-review. You can analyze your mistakes and get a great sense of your own metre when watching and listening 3rd person.


Feel free to check out my drum covers, they're on my Youtube channel: www.youtube.com/xerota1ent


Swaying to the rhythm of the New World Order,
Chris
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  #2  
Old 03-16-2017, 07:43 PM
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Dizeee Dizeee is offline
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Default Re: How-To: Ghetto Guide to Record a Drum Cover

I'm currently trying to do this at the moment, but I am struggling as I can't edit or do anything with the audio track. I can't trim it or adjust where it comes in, or certainly not with the video I am using.
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Old 03-16-2017, 10:27 PM
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Dizeee Dizeee is offline
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Default Re: How-To: Ghetto Guide to Record a Drum Cover

I have now downloaded Audacity, and having tried to import soem stuff encountered problems. Firstly it would not download the MP4 of me playing the drums, and then when I did it using raw data, all I got was high volume hiss and fuzz, like the static on an old TV set.

I at least got move maker to kind of work. There must be an easier way!
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Old 03-16-2017, 11:43 PM
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Skate Skate is offline
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Default Re: How-To: Ghetto Guide to Record a Drum Cover

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dizeee View Post
I have now downloaded Audacity, and having tried to import soem stuff encountered problems. Firstly it would not download the MP4 of me playing the drums, and then when I did it using raw data, all I got was high volume hiss and fuzz, like the static on an old TV set.

I at least got move maker to kind of work. There must be an easier way!
You can't import MP4 files in Audacity I'm afraid. If you're using Windows, you'll need to install LAME and FFmpeg libraries:

https://mikebeach.org/2012/11/26/ins...ty-in-windows/
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Old 03-17-2017, 12:59 AM
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lefty2 lefty2 is offline
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Default Re: How-To: Ghetto Guide to Record a Drum Cover

I think you can down load a file converter and convert the files to something that audacity uses. I think I've done it using mp3 files, uploading my band rehearsals to audacity. I've never tryed video though, just audio.
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Old 03-17-2017, 07:26 PM
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Dizeee Dizeee is offline
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Default Re: How-To: Ghetto Guide to Record a Drum Cover

I already have Lame.

Converting files again just makes it so much harder though, I already have numerous folders and applications open alone trying to just get the two to merge - let alone synching it up. I wondered why I never tried doing this, it is just too difficult and the time spent faffing around trying to do it isn't worth the reward.

I am just about to try and synch another test I have just done on movie maker. Problem is, I can't save the file without shelling out for the whole licence.

I could use my phone to record the PC, which in turn has myproject with recordings of me playing and the track in the background. How ridiculous is that, putting on you tube a phone recording of what I have done on my PC.
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