Recording – and editing – for YouTube

So – it’s about time I had a YouTube (or similar media site) presence ! Or even just the ability to produce a few videos for the website showing what a C-Melody, or a C-Soprano, can do. But then, we all know that C Saxophones can do exactly what the Bb and Eb saxes can do – and some things even better – given a fair wind, a decent mouthpiece and a sympathetic player. 

This is just a record of how to achieve sensible results without costing a fortune, and (more to the point) without using complex ‘bells and whistles’ software with a learning curve possibly longer than my remaining decades 😀

Hopefully, in the process I may be able to pass on some technical wisdom, and save others some time and effort – plus other musicians may just pop in and say "no, there’s an easier way…"  Yes please, tell me !  This post will have a very discrete " …more… " in a little while, so that, as I add to the saga, it won’t all clutter up the desktop.

Sample interim videos will be added as comments, hopefully interleaved with real comments ? See, said it would have a "…more…" soon , click on (more…) below to investigate further…

A little history…  When I first recorded the sound tracks on my ‘Sounds’ page (years back…) , I used whatever microphone was to hand, direct into the sound card, adding a little reverb afterwards with programs like Cool Edit. However, with the new PC I found it difficult to get enough volume that way, and using an audio pre-amp seemed to add unwanted background noise…

So, I’ve now gone recently down the route of USB connectivity, either with a direct-in USB microphone like the Samson Q1U ( a a load of mic for only $70 ) and, to allow me to use all my other microphones, a very flexible M-AUDIO MobilePre USB Preamp – which also works great with my little laptop – so I’m now also a little portable studio…

I’ve also acquired a VERY cheap ( $25) webcam, the Mikomi AP7171, which, although great for ‘head and shoulders’ video, may not be up to distance work…  Which is why I’m trawling around looking for info on the best (at a reasonable price) video camera – be it webcam, or hand/stand-held.

Software ?  Well, for the test video snippets in the "Recent changes to the blog…" posting, I started off using the very basic (bundled) AMCap package, but for the last test (Comment 12) I used the free Microsoft Windows Movie Maker – which allows some editing and the adding of quite basic start and end graphics.  Those clips also used the Samson Q1U USB microphone, in preference to the rather pathetic webcam microphone.

Plus AMCap only produces horrendously huge AVI files – I wasted some time looking for a Flash converter, only to find that YouTube doesn’t accept Flash (.flv) files, and likes to do it’s own compression and conversion…grrr…  So I’ll stick with Movie Maker !  Much more flexible.  And a very useful sound/video editing  package called Multiquence – which I’ve already found useful as it allows me to correct the traditional slightly-out-of-sync video and audio !

(continuing, more later…)

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12 Responses to Recording – and editing – for YouTube

  1. Mal-2 says:

    A simple digital camera in the $100 range will take adequate video, though you will want to have something better than 11 kHz mono sound. Fortunately, a dynamic microphone, your computer and a sound card (or even the built-in onboard sound) should be adequate. If you want stereo, you’ll need a mixer because most sound cards won’t take two microphone level inputs at the same time.

    Then you’d have to replace the camera’s craptacular audio with the computer recorded audio, for which VirtualDub is free and will do the trick.

    No video, but I just recorded a track today with the assistance of Band In A Box:

    Mal-2 playing ‘My one and only love…’

    Reverb covers up a multitude of sins, like Vaseline on a camera lens… 😕

  2. Mal-2 says:

    Sorry, I see in another thread that you have recording equipment beyond the basic mike-and-a-sound-card.

    It might be better to use a camera attached directly to the computer (or even the one built in, if it has one) so you don’t have to sync up the audio later.

    I don’t know what you’d want to drop for one, but there are some that even turn to stay pointed at you as you move around. If you’re not looking for something that fancy, then you can probably get away with something under $100, or whatever the equivalent price level is there — I know it doesn’t track by conversion rate.

  3. alan says:

    Mal – I’ve taken the liberty of slightly editing your post, so that the streaming audio player (at the end of the link) can now play your sound sample… Hope you don’t mind ?

  4. Mal-2 says:

    I have no problem at all with you making my post do what it was intended to do. Whether you care about the bandwidth is up to you, but I know it won’t cost any money to use mine. I don’t even come close to my monthly limits.

  5. alan says:

    I have a bit of slack too, never use up the server bandwidth since I took down the free fakebooks. Plus that streaming audio player only downloads what it needs, as it goes along. I think it gets confused by certain characters in long filenames, like spaces and/or “&”, but it’s a useful player.
    If ever anyone wants any sounds from this blogsite, I’ve started centralising them in cmelodysax.co.uk/sounds – just go there, right-click and save any you want to your PC… They should all be there before very long.

  6. Mal-2 says:

    I put together a slideshow to go with it so I could post to YouTube.

  7. alan says:

    Guess that means you’re eligible to go on the ‘C-Mel players’ page now ? 😉

  8. Mal-2 says:

    Well, I have transposed (on un-transposed!) all the tenor parts for the salsa band to C-mel, so it will be all alto and C-mel next gig (other than the odd flute or piccolo tune). So if you listed me as a C-mel player, at least I’ll actually have one the next time I gig… whenever that is (the band is in a very sad state at the moment).

    I have been charting a sax quartet arrangement of a Latin tune, on which I will again probably substitute C-mel for tenor. It will have to wait a couple days, that kind of overdubbing takes a clicktrack, written parts, and more consecutive quiet time than I can get during the week. This would also be the first recorded appearance of my cheap soprano, though that has been hauled out on a gig once. I hope I can mike it well. I hate straight sopranos that way.

  9. Mal-2 says:

    Well it’s official, I have not one but two gigs on Saturday, May 24 which call for the C-mel. The only part that has me worried is that I only have 45 minutes between them, and they’re 30 minutes driving distance apart. Oh well, Mama Juana’s is known for never starting on time.

    The first one will even be “all C” – C-mel, flute, and piccolo are all I’m expected to play. For the second it will be all that plus the alto.

    The recording I mentioned above is no longer a sax quartet, it’s three and a Latin rhythm section (all played by my trusty sidekick/computer Minerva). No Band In A Box on this one, I did all the sequencing the hard way. The hardest part was wrangling that damn soprano into tune though, and I was only marginally successful.

    I used the C-mel for the third sax part (which reaches high F#), which keeps this marginally on topic, but it’s an alto feature from top to bottom.

    Mal-2 playing ‘ Una Mañana

  10. alan says:

    Hiya Mal – interesting sounds – I had to slightly edit your link, first the accented ñ in Mañana confused the automatic ‘link detector’, and then the blog spam-catchers saw two links plus that character and panicked… Technology, sometimes just too clever for it’s own good ? 😯 It’s still using the sound file from your site.

    I’ve also ‘upped’ the number of links allowed in a comment to five, before it gets suspected of being a spam – so multiple links will be OK in the future – and sorry to all that I’ve not been so pro-active the last week or so, it’s been a funny old time ! 😐

  11. Mal-2 says:

    Well, things didn’t go quite as planned — the Chatsworth gig got cancelled, but Mama Juana’s went on as expected (and started late, as expected). I don’t know what exactly was going on, but we were WELL above A=440 tonight. I might have been able to use that HP horn. 🙄

    I have made recordings on both the alto and C-mel with synthesized parts, and I know where to set the mouthpieces to play in tune. I had to push both of them in considerably (about 7 mm for the alto, 8 or 9 mm for the C-mel) to stay with the rhythm section. The alto doesn’t seem to care all that much. As long as I stay in the middle 1/3 of the cork it’s happy. The C-mel was not so forgiving. I had the mouthpiece a good 10 mm beyond the end of the cork (it’s usually about 1.5 mm past), and was actually in danger of running into the brace that goes under the curve in the neck. Anything below low D was increasingly flat, but it was workable above that. Altissimo went all to hell though — not that I consider C-mel ready for “stunt saxophone” yet, but I did try to do a little bit and it just was not behaving in the manner I have come to expect. I’m sure the excessive volume levels I’m forced to play at had something to do with it as well. I do hope the Aquilasax C-mel is better suited to the task, being a “modern” horn. (Assuming I ever get my hands on it, that is.)

    The alto behaved OK, aside from the Fibracell 3.5 being just a smidge too soft for the job. I let it hang over the tip a little and it worked well enough, but I may have to get a 4 (or a Lakey 5*3). This reed was chosen to match my Rousseau JDX8, and the Lakey 4*3 is a fair bit closer. The range was there when I needed it, once I got the reed thing straightened out. We had subs on both bass and timbales, so we had a number of “false stops” which we covered up by impersonating the Saturday Night Live band. I think I ended at least three tunes above D4, but hey, the horn was willing to go there tonight, and we needed the cover — the trumpet player wasn’t up to the challenge. (I like the guy, but he is just not a lead player. The job really calls for someone who is comfortable in the E3 to G4 range for extended periods of time.)

    It was fun to get out there again, but we really need to solve the revolving door personnel issues. I truly think that’s the biggest reason we never seem to get anywhere.

  12. alan says:

    Yes, the 20’s C-Mel really does seem to have it’s “sweet spot”, which would seem to be just a smidge below A=440, at which pitch the intonation is as good as it gets. Outside normal tuning, it often falls to bits…

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