How do guitar players on YouTube and social media get that clear, quality guitar sound in their videos?
With these three simple steps:
- Setup up a guitar track in your DAW (digital audio workstation) to record
- Film yourself playing as you’re recording your guitar
- Take the files from your video and audio and sync them in your video editing software
It sounds simple, and for the most part, it is. But there are some more details within each step that I want to share with you to make this process smooth.
In fact, I’m going to take through my own process and show you how to do this fast while avoiding many frustrations that can come with this kind of stuff…because being a headbanger doesn’t mean you want to bang your head against the wall!
Setting Up Your DAW to Record Your Guitar
This first step is simple, and chance are you already know how to do this.
*If you’re good here, then just skip down to the next section about filming yourself playing guitar.
Here’s what you’ll do first…
- Open your recording software
- Create a new (or bring up an existing) studio session
- Add a track to record your guitar
- Make sure the ‘record’ button is on and test your sound
Again, this is simple but it’s the very first step in the process. The last thing you want is to start filming only to find you didn’t set up your guitar track to record properly.
It’s not really a big deal, but that’s one small frustration that can lead to many (you know how everything snowballs once you screw something up in the studio, not to mention this kind of stuff can kill your mindset!).
All that said, the process runs smoother when you double-check, even the preliminary basics. And that’s your goal!
TIP: Make sure the playback volume on your interface is up enough to where your camera can pick up the sound.
Even though you’re not going to be using the sound from your monitors, having the volume up will help when you get to the audio and video syncing part.
Setup Your Camera to Film Yourself Playing Guitar
Now it’s time to set up your camera for filming. I’m also going to give you some additional tips to enhance your video quality.
- Position your camera on a tripod to where you both of your hands are visible when playing guitar (it’s easiest when you have your camera where you can see yourself recording)
- You may also want to show some of your computer screen in the background where you can see the track being recorded (that’s just an option if it’s something you prefer)
- Make sure have appropriate lighting in front of you
- You may want to have a small colored light on behind you somewhere as this can enhance the overall video quality
**You can see what gear I use for recording and filming on my gear page here: Jason’s Gear Page
Most of us guitarists like to film ourselves playing with our studio in the background. That is a cool and relevant setting. However, don’t be afraid to try some different backgrounds.
I’m preaching to myself on this one more so because…I need to try some new background (look for those coming soon on my Instagram!).
TIP: You don’t need expensive filming gear. For starters, you can just use your iPhone or smartphone. The modern versions come with some pretty awesome cameras.
*At the time of writing this post, I’m using my iPhone 11.
Lighting is relatively inexpensive as well. Just read reviews to make sure you get quality lighting and get something that’s within your budget. You’ll be just fine with that.
Hit the Record Buttons!
Notice I said buttons (plural).
Once you’re set up to record and film, it’s time to record and film yourself playing guitar! What I usually do is start filming first then I press record in my studio and start playing my guitar.
Sometimes you may want to talk before and after you play guitar. But I recommend filming that separately for two reasons…
- It’s going to be more video you have to cut and work with to sync with the audio file
- I forgot what the second reason was so just trust me on this one!
Once you’ve finished playing, it’s time to get back to work behind the screen…
Transferring Your Audio and Video Files into Your Video Program
The next step is to get your audio and video files onto your computer. Let’s tackle the easy part first.
For audio, you’ll render the track you recorded in your DAW to an mp3. That file will be downloaded to whatever folder you have dedicated to studio files (this is usually a folder for that song within your studio).
For video, there are two ways to do this:
- Connect the appropriate cable from your camera to your computer (the computer end should be USB)
- Or most cameras have WiFi capability so you can just transfer the video file through WiFi
**If you’re using your iPhone or smartphone, you’re more than likely already connected to your WiFi at home so the transfer should be seamless..
How to Sync Your Guitar Audio and Video in Your Video Editing Program
It’s the Final Countdown (had to throw in a Europe pun…lol)!
Seriously, it’s the final step of the process. This is where the magic happens and it’s how you’ll create the video of you playing guitar with that pristine, clear sound (the sound from your DAW that you recorded).
Let me warn you that this can be a tedious process. So be patient, for your own sake!
Most of the time it’s fairly easy to sync up the audio and video but there will be ‘those moments’ as you already know when working with technology.
Here are the steps to take:
- Open your movie program on your computer (yeah, I know that was kind of expected, but I want to be thorough here!)
- First, go to the folder in your computer where your video file is and drag that into your video editing program
- Cut the beginning and ends off of that file so that you only have the part of you playing guitar (in most programs, you can just drag those ends in and out)
- Next, go to the folder where your mp3 was downloaded to and drag that file into your video editing program (in most cases, you’ll place this file below the video file in your program)
- Now start working to align the audio file with the video file s that they’re in sync
- Once the audio and video are synced, you can render your movie from your video editing software – now you’re ready to post it on YouTube or social media!
Again, you have to be like Guns n’ Roese here and use a little patience. But the most you do it, the better and faster you’ll get. And sometimes you’ll just magically nail it pretty close as soon as you drop the files in…those times are awesome!
*TIP: One trick I use is I’ll raise the volume on the video file so that it matches the volume of the audio file. Naturally, the initial video volume will be lower because of how far the camera is from your studio monitors or sound source.
If you’re having trouble, as it’s bound to happen, keep playing around with the volumes of both files as you’re trying to line them up – this can help with the audio and video syncing process.
VIDEO: Syncing Audio and Video for Guitar
You can watch the video version of this post below.
In the video, I also show you more screenshots of the editing and syncing process. So if you’re a visual learner, this should help even more.
Advanced Audio and Video Syncing for Guitar Players
There are some more advanced methods to this if you really want to spice up your YouTube and social media videos.
- Recording your video from multiple angles
- Recording full mixes where you may be playing different parts
Recording yourself playing guitar from different angles is fairly simple. You can set up a second camera from a different angle. Or you can just film yourself playing the guitar part a second time from a different angle.
This is more work as you’re syncing two video files with the one audio file. You’ll essentially go through the same process but will just need to split up the video parts where you prefer.
The fastest way to do this is the first sync both video files with the audio. Then you can start cutting the video parts accordingly.
Here’s an example:
- You have all 3 files (2 video files, 1 audio) synced and layered on top of one another in your video editing software
- You want to change the angle after 7 seconds into the video
- So you’ll make a split on both video files at that point
- Remove the first video portion that you don’t want to be seen while keeping the part you want to be seen
You do have to be careful with this. If you remove the first video file that’s directly on top of the audio file, it will remove the audio.
Let’s say you want that video on the very top to be those first 7 seconds and maybe want to change up the frames every 7-10 seconds (this can really improve viewer retention!)…
- You’ll drag that part down to be directly over the audio file.
- You may have to move the audio file up to match that before removing that other section.
- Continue splitting both files where you want the frames to change and repeat this process
Did that confuse the crap out of you?
I hope not! You’ll just have to play around with this and be meticulous with the splitting and cutting.
Like I mentioned earlier, the most you do this, the easier it gets and you’ll be a pro at it soon enough!
You can use that same process if you’re recording yourself playing parts of the song, or even different instruments.
For example, you may want to have the video showing you playing the rhythm guitar in some parts but also playing the guitar solo when that comes up. You may even want to record yourself playing bass in some parts.
This does get a bit more involved! But it can be so rewarding when you finish your video.
I hope this tutorial helped answer your questions and that you now know a litle more about how to sync your audio and video.
Get out there and start making some cool guitar videos! Post your videos on your Instagram and tag me @jasonstallworth
Also, don’t forget that you can get access to the recording gear that I use and recommends on my gear page: Jason’s Gear Page
Keep it Metal,