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Learning my own audio lessons while shooting video

May 14th, 2011 | 19 Comments   « Previous  |  Episode 32  |  Next »

I am experimenting with a new way to play videos that lets the user turn HD quality off and on. Let me know how it works

On a recent trip to the NAB show I had a chance to film some professionally lit TV stages reminded me of the challenges (and the benefits) we face in music recording when trying to get it right at the source.

This episode features some music by Curtis

To watch on the go download the M4v version

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Rating: 4.8/5 (12 votes cast)
19 Comments ~ Speak your mind »
  1. Julian

    I always love your videos. Always real and no arrogance although you have the wisdom and experience to be so. Only recently have I been starting to become satisfied with the work I’ve been doing in my studio. I recently moved into a facility with 2 rooms as opposed to a room in my house. This took things to another level. I stayed in the house as long as I did so I could save the money I’d be using to rent a spot for gear. I wasn’t going to be using an Octopre and interface pres for album forever is what I told myself. I now feel the level of gear I use is pretty pro. Solid front end, pro converters, good arsenal of mics, good room acoustics, and lastly, my ears have grown immensely in the last 8 years that I’ve been doing this. With that said, yes, I agree that the source is most important. However, I used to track what I consider good to great musicians and the gear wasn’t doing them justice. The guitar, the amp itself. Same with drums. I record drummers who were good, but couldn’t afford to put new heads and it’s all I had to work with. So while the player may be good, even if I knew how to capture, they still needed gear for what I did to come out acceptable. I’ve since bought a house drumset, 1 bass, and a good guitar for the genre’s I tend to work with. So I’d say that while I agree that the performance is the most important part of the capture, there needs to be at least a minimal level of gear used by the performer as well as the same for the level of gear that will be expected to capture the performance that will then be acceptable to capture.

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  2. Ronan

    Julian, Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I totally agree about drum heads etc. Getting things right at the source means getting a great sound before the mic. And don’t me wrong, I LOVE great gear, but I would rather record a great drummer on a great sounding kit through cheap gear, than a poor drummer and a bad kit through the best gear in the world. Thanks again – Ronan

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  3. Lucas

    My buddy sent me some files of his guitar playing through a nice old Marshall–>SM57–> middle/low-end computer interface (using stock preamps and converters). The distortion of the tone was so good and blew the tone in my recordings away. My signal chain was no chump – a les paul -> fender amp -> SM57 -> pacifica pre -> RME converters/ interface.

    The bottle neck of my sound was the amp, because, well, that wasn’t using the right amp for the song.

    Lesson learned. Upcoming purchases will be focused on the instrument side of things (amp, pedals, keyboard etc), and that analog EQ that I had been drooling about for a while will have to be on hold indefinitely. Focusing on the music playing side of things also reminds me the joy, satisfaction and why I started doing this in the first place.

    Love my signal chain and it really did improve my sound, but using the right amp would have single handedly made more a an improvement.

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  4. Harold LaRue

    Ronan,

    Thanks again for sharing your knowledge, and your own journey, with the rest of us.

    The lighting in this this episode, though you might consider it a failed experiment, looks very good; when you mention shooting on a professionally-lit set, I thought you were referring to the footage of you. It seems much more balanced and warm; the vignette is nice as well.

    By the way, the HD switching worked well for me.

    Best,
    Harold

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  5. Xander

    Hi Ronan,

    I can’t get fullscreen on my imac with that new player.
    Would you be so kind to look in to that please?

    Keep up the good work! it’s 1 of my favorite show along “Pensado’s place”

    Xander roubos
    The Netherlands.

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  6. Curtis Fornadley

    Great advice.

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  7. Steve

    Recently I recorded a group of about ten middle-school students (mentored by a good friend of mine) performing acoustic “Americana” stuff. We were lucky to get them all in the same room at the same time, never mind make sure that all the strings were fresh and instruments perfectly tuned! That said, I was impressed by how important it seemed to the kids themselves to get it right. They really did care about how everything sounded. The end has a very sweet kind of go-for-it! feeling that I think is also very much a part of “getting it right at the source.”

    Love the show, Ronan. Thanks for putting it out here! Hope to make it to one of your Boot Camps some day.

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  8. Jayrawk

    Tons of great video tutorials on vimeo. You should consider a rebel t2i with a 1.8 50mm lens. Inexpensive with stellar results. For a video camera take a look at the panasonic tm700 very affordable with amazing quality.

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  9. mtanimal

    Well said about getting it right at the source. Also, even if one had a Studer machine in one’s bedroom, that still will not help much if everything before it is bad.
    Keep up the great work on helping people make better recordings.
    Cheers.

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  10. Don Coyer

    It saves a lot of time and headache to get the instrument sound right in the first place. Depending on the song, you can get a great guitar sound even with a cheap amp if you place the amp in the room right and mic it right. I’ve gotten some really good sounds with a Vox DA-5 amp. But it’s true it can bottleneck down to the instrument. I’m sure most of us have been pro musicians and still use the same instruments for recording that we did on live gigs. The sad fact is that what works great for a gig might not be good enough for recording. My Tele has a beautiful sound, but the frets are so worn, recording perfectly in tune can be a problem.
    Anyway, part of getting the sound right at source is placement in the room. Anytime you record anything with a mic, you are obviously recording the room too, and no amount of gear will fix that. Then it’s a matter of figuring out how to make that guitar/amp/drums or whatever, sound great in your room.

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  11. Carlos

    RCM, I always love seeing your new videos. In fact, your videos really motivated me to do the workshop at your LA studio. I learned so much from you in person.

    As for video production, the biggest factor is lighting. An expensive camera can’t pull off anything if the lighting is not right. But an inexpensive camera can do so much more with good lighting. This is why good lighting gear turns out to be so costly. Lighting things right makes me think about mic placement. A lense is kinda like a the mic, and the camera sensor might be the preamp.

    Thanks for taking the time in making the videos. It comes across that you enjoy making them.

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  12. Rob Chismar

    Thanx Ronan, so true on all points! I really enjoyed this. Like the famous saying “Lighting is everything” but let me add that so is a steady hold on the camera.
    -Rob

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  13. Ritchie

    Re. “I am experimenting with a new way to play videos that lets the user turn HD quality off and on. Let me know how it works”

    Works great for me. I especially like the view full screen option with the additional option of being able to turn scaling off.

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  14. Rob

    So much to be said for ‘getting right at the source’!

    Good luck with your video antics, Ronan.

    Love the show – is there any way to get an email when a new episode appears on-line (or am I missing something?)

    Cheers,

    Rob

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  15. Ronan

    Hey Rob, You can get email updates by subscribing in the upper left hand corner of he web site http://ronansrecordingshow.com/

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  16. charlie dennis

    really great Ronan.
    enjoyed it immensely.

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  17. charlie dennis

    re-submitted to give you 5 stars.

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  18. Music Production

    Thanks for the great advice.

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  19. Justice Constantine

    Ronan,

    Thank you for this video. I am realizing that live video recordings of music artists is the new format that is taking over CD’s. People ask for YouTube links more than just an MP3 or a CD nowadays. It is amazing how learning about video production is becoming so important in the music world. I guess MTV has proved that already.

    Justice Constantine

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