The Sound Track

We decided on ‘A Teenager In Love’ for our first music video because it was a song we all knew well. For the past couple of years it’s been a staple at SPUKES and one of the best group songs we have. Max has been singing it since it was a hit for Dion and The Belmonts in 1959!

Trevor created a simple click track in Logic Pro ( although he could just as easily use GarageBand) and sent it to Anne, who recorded the bass using Audacity. Trev added rhythm uke and some backing vocals (which would be deleted later).  All of that was mixed into a single GarageBand track, loaded onto an iPad, and used as a click track to record the vocals.

It Takes Practice

Recording against a click track is just like Karaoke, except you can’t make mistakes and none of the people watching you are drunk! If they’re not wearing headphones they can’t hear the music either – just you, in front of a microphone, singing away like a madman in the shower.

We did five takes of Max’s lead vocal for ‘A Teenager in Love’ and one or two of each of the backing vocals with Glen, Lois and Trev.

Mixing the song in Logic Pro took a few days. That’s a skill we’re still learning so there’s lots of room for improvement. But the result is still very acceptable for an amateur group like Old Spice.

Then the Movie …..

This was really the fun part. We don’t have any fancy equipment just an iPhone mounted onto a microphone stand. There were four ‘scenes’ that we shot – indoors, once with headphones and again with our instruments, Max looking out the window, and lastly, singin’ in the rain.

No crew, no cameramen, no director, just the Spicies.

The soundtrack was played loudly through an amp while we sang along to it and got the lip-sync working. Even though we only used short clips from each of the scenes, it was easier for post-production to film the whole song in each scene.

What We Learned

Audio

GarageBand that come free with iPhones and iPads is all you need to start making good recordings.

It makes a big difference to the sound quality when you use a USB microphone instead of the standard phone or tablet microphone. We used a Rode NT-USB which costs around $200, but there a plenty of good microphones available from $80 or so.

Record and mix in GarageBand if you have Apple products, or the free program Audacity if you have a windows computer. (Audacity also runs on Mac computers.)

Of course there is a learning curve, but YouTube is your friend! You only have to learn the basics to get useful results.

Video

The video quality from an iPhone was quite good enough. for our purpose. Some of the scenes we shot had focus problems and couldn’t be used in the final video. The video settings are hard to see on the small phone screen, so next time it’s a case of check, and then check again.

Without a cameraman, turning the video on, then the soundtrack on the amplifier and rushing back into position in time is challenging. Some cheap remote controls for the camera and sound would be good investments, or just get someone else to come and help.

Lighting is important though and we will have to improve on that. We filmed on an overcast day and even though we stood very close to large windows to make use of natural light, there are still a lot of shadows in the video. Amazon sell moderately priced ‘Ring Lights’ for video that we’ll have a look at.

Putting It All Together

We’ve had some practice now so it’s getting easier, but at first it seems daunting. The most important thing we’ve learned is to put a plan in place first. It doesn’t have to be complicated.

The shooting of the video for ‘A Teenager In Love’ took us less than three hours but we had already worked out the locations, what we were going to wear and the props we needed.

The video was put together in iMovie which again is free with Apple products, but any movie editing program will be suitable. Matching audio and video takes patience and you’ll be referring to YouTube resources constantly to learn how to do it.  But cutting video clips, putting them in order, adding little effects like cross-fade between scenes, and creating the titles gets easier every time.