29 Jul 2020

How To Create a Music Video From Home

By Abby Shemwell

Throughout 2020, musicians and artists have found innovative and virtual ways to continue sharing their talents with the world. One way they’ve done this is through the production of play-from-home music videos, like our performance of Augusta Read Thomas’ “Fanfare of Hope and Solidarity” we shared on May 22, 2020.

Contrary to what you may think, producing these impressive videos isn’t too complicated. We’ve assembled a step-by-step guide that you can follow if you want to make your own live music video from home.

  1. Choose a song and musicians to perform it.
  2. Send an existing reference recording of the song to an audio engineer.
  3. The audio engineer builds a tempo map.
    This is a digital file that informs the software of any time signature and tempo changes.
  4. Using the tempo map, the audio engineer generates a click track which they send back to you.
    This is like a metronome made specifically for a certain piece.
  5. Send your musicians an audio recording of the song, the click track, and instructions about how to record and upload their part.
  6. The musicians record their part, playing along with the click track in their headphones. They then upload their recording to a shared folder online, like Google Drive.
    They can use whatever technology available to them—smartphones and laptops work just fine.
  7. A video editor lines up each recording in editing software.
    In our play-from-home performances, the musicians were instructed to clap on a certain downbeat of the click track before the song began. This functioned as an indicator for both the video and audio editing software to sync up each recording.
  8. The video editor sends the audio file to the audio engineer, who cleans it up to make it sound unified and whole.
    As one can imagine, playing at home is a completely different experience compared to playing together with other musicians. Every performer has different ideas about phrasing or tuning, elements that typically gel together when playing live. For this reason, there may be quite a few audio edits needed. 
  9. The video editor aligns the newly edited audio file with a creative visual presentation.
  10. Share your amazing video with the world!

Need more inspiration or examples? Check out this article about some of our recent play-from-home videos and how four Utah Symphony musicians completed a few other projects.