Introduction to Home Recording!

By popular demand, we will explore the very first steps of home recording together! 🎙 We will look at recording with a smartphone and actually get that recording up on YouTube in order to share it on the forum, but also will be looking to record directly onto your computer with the free digital audio workstation Reaper, an audio interface and a microphone! 🔊

We are going to be using this thread to gather suggestions and questions!

  • What questions do you have on this topic?
  • Any particular area you would like me to focus on?

Forum questions will be answered first!

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  • Thank you, Martin, for doing this. I cannot attend live, but will watch this later. Right now, I use the video camera on my laptop computer and a USB microphone (Samson GoMic) to make videos. I just downloaded Reaper. Does Reaper take the place of the camera? Is it only sound? I guess I don't really understand what Reaper is. I am a total novice when it comes to all of this. If it is a free way to make my sound quality better, I want to learn.

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      • MartinTeam
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      Eric Phillips Hey Eric! I generally try to avoid recording Audio & Video at the same time as it puts quite a heavy load on every machine. Reaper is an environment to edit and mix music, you would do all the audio post production in this piece of software and then sync it with the video recording you made with another camera. You could record everything at the same time into the computer with OBS, in fact, that's the software that we are using for livestreaming (but it can record as well and is completely free).

      Reaper is free to use for an evaluation period which can be prolonged indefinitely. At one point (when I did the Recording Course) I purchased the commercial licence for 70€, which is still very inexpensive for this type of software!

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    • Martin Thanks for responding, Martin. You’re already over my head a bit, so I’ll just have to watch the livestream.

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      Eric Phillips Aaaah, I am so sorry, It's always kinda difficult for me to not go into full nerd-mode when I talk about recording 🏇

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    • Martin No worries. I'm happy with what I'm doing right now, but if there is a better way that is free and not too difficult for me to figure out, I'm all ears. 👂👂Looking forward to the livestream.

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  • Hello! I have a good mic and an interface. I haven't set them up yet but plan to soon so this discussion is good timing! I think I'm pretty clear on straight audio recording using either Reaper or some other DAW. What I'm confused about is syncing the recording to video using an iPad- something you folks at TB are very good at. I look forward to any instruction you can provide. Thanks!

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      • MartinTeam
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      Eric Hi Eric! Do you want to record video on the IPad and sync it afterwards or do you want to do the syncing ON the IPad with a Video Editing Software for the IPad? What type of IPad do you use?

      While it is perfectly possible to do these steps on the IPad, I am a bit oldschool when it comes to video editing, I prefer to do this with software like "Premiere Pro" or "Davinci Resolve" for the PC or Mac.

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      Eric What Interface and Mic do you have if I may ask? 👓

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      • Eric
      • Eric.1
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      Martin Thanks Martin! I have an AKG P170 mic and the PreSonus AudioBox iTwo interface. Looks like the Presonus has it's own software so maybe I don't need another program?

      I really want to keep this as simple as possible. I just want to record (audio and video) myself playing for self instruction and to share online for workshops, lessons etc.

      Eric K

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      • MartinTeam
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      Eric Thanks! It looks like you record directly onto your iPad, right? Although I have an iPad and a interface capable of working together with the iPad, I have never explored that workflow! I usually record with two separate devices, but I am pretty sure it is possible to do that.

      With a quick internet search I found these discussions that point in that direction:

      https://discussions.apple.com/thread/250734024

      It seems you can select your input in your Sound Control Panel, this should enable you to use the regular Camera App together with your interface! But if Presonus has a dedicated software for iPad, I would take a look at that as well, that should give you more control!

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      • MartinTeam
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      Eric the answer I quoted might refer to a Macbook and not to an iPad. It seems that the iPad should be able to automatically select the audio interface that you plugged it! Maybe joosje can describe her workflow with the MV88+ (I believe), which is basically a mic and interface in one device!

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    • Martin I changed my schedule so that I will be able to follow this instruction and your valuable insights. 
      I mostly record with just my Samsung Galaxy. Or, if I’m at home, with the PC cam,  directly to the drive in Windows,  with a USB mic (Samson Meteor). I recently acquired  a Zoom Q2nvideo cam, which  is quite handy and easy, but needs (a bit) extra time to copy the file to PC and then to YouTube (I more or less figured out, by trial&error, how to do that and cut out both ends of the video, the parts where your arm blocks the camera to turn it on/off.)

      more importantly, I am now the proud owner of 2 CM4 mics, and a focusrite scarlet 2i2. I started using that for the interactive masterclass with Emmanuel. I think it’s up and working. Now I must start doing the recordings with that equipment and experiment with positioning, distance, gain, etc. In last year’s recording workshop I couldn’t really follow, so I have to go go through that again. Working in reaper is one thing! Then find out how to combine the video with the sound…… 

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      • MartinTeam
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      joosje Woooow, fantastic!!! Good Choice of mics!!!! You are at the beginning of a wonderful journey with a dedicated audio interface! 

      When you recorded directly onto your drive, did you use the regular Camera App of Windows? 

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    • Martin yes.

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      • Eric
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      Martin Thanks so much Martin. I'm looking forward to your discussion later today.

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  • Awesome!  So many questions.  Here is a few....

     

    Reaper

    -set up basics (Single mic, XLR to -ScarletSolo (Audio Interface) to -Laptop)

    -recording levels, input settings - single channel? or 2 channels mono L/R?  

    -phase inversion why how?  

    -source edit file and destination file technique to copy paste? 2 projects open?

    -custom keyboard shortcuts for repetitive commands

    -naming clips

    -editing basics

     

    DaVinci 

    -set up basics (USB camera into laptop + Davinci)

    -recording video, while also recording sound (live, separately and put together)

       -recommendations/tips for a beginner, advanced tips/concepts to approach later

    -organizing work, coordinating and managing the overall workflow

    -editing basics

     

    Whatever else you can fit in this session would be welcome.  I really think with your deep knowledge on this subject you could cover several valuable sessions on this topic.  Looking forward to learning this, again....

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      • MartinTeam
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      Brooke I think this calls for a new whole series, haha! In this livestream we will cover the very basics to enable people to share content on the forums (like optimal recording scenario with only a smartphone) and then run through a very simple "Mic - Cable - Interface - Computer" scenario to record in a semi-professional environment! 

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      • MartinTeam
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      Brooke btw, I have never recorded video directly onto my hard drive it's a huge stream of data directly onto your hard drive. I tend to record with a camera and sync afterwards, just to avoid that my computer crashes.

      A software that can record directly onto your computer without problem is OBS, the software which we are using for Livestreams. But for that, my Cinema Camera is fed into a Blackmagic Atem Mini video interface (similar to an audio interface). There are cameras (especially webcams or built-in laptop cams) than don't need any additional devices!

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    • Martin Ah yes, cover what you can.  It's all helpful and needed!  There is so much to talk about and understand.

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    • Martin " I have never recorded video directly onto my hard drive.."

      interesting, thanks.     Tell me more about OBS, sounds like it could be a useful tool?

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      Brooke OBS is great, the interface is a bit daunting at first (as with all post-production-software), but it is actually pretty straight forward!

      I usually see Audio- and Video-Recording as two separate steps, it just keeps the count of point of failures a bit lower, haha! But when I absolutely have no time for post-production (or the client is unwilling to pay for that), I take the output of my interface and route it directly into my camera, that way everything is already in sync, but it gives me less freedom in post-production!

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  • This could be a very helpful session and save much time in the learning curve.

    Keep it simple to start (step by step with procedural outline provided) to achieve decent audio and video. Looking forward to this. Thank You 

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      • MartinTeam
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      Michael Carlson This session will be very basic and high level, but we will walk through simple recording setup!

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    • Martin 

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    • Michael Carlson 
      Thanks. Crawl, walk and then run 😎

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  • I have been using Audacity and find it very easy to use. Are there advantages to using REAPER over Audacity?

     

    I use a smartphone with Shure MV88+ microphone, or audacity with MV88+ when I record audio directly into my Lenovo laptop (running Windows 10). I record audio several times per week as part of my practice sessions, and then delete them after listening.

     

    If I record audio separately from video for something I want to share,  I edit and combine them using SHOTCUT.

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      Martha Kreipke Hi Martha! I don't think that there is a big difference between those two pieces of software, not for the workflow we will look at at least!

      Same goes for SHOTCUT, it looks to any other video editor to me! Davinci Resolve has its own logic sometimes, but it differentiates the different steps of video post production quite effectively!

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    • Martin Thank you. I tried to use DaVinci Resolve but it seems a lot more complex than Shotcut. At least for the videos I have been making.

       

      I am still working on the best way to "fix" a few notes in Audacity. Maybe if you can show us in REAPER I will be able to figure it out in Audacity.

       

      See you Monday.

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      Martha Kreipke I'll take a look at Shotcut!

      So you mean you want to know the best way to cut a certain section and insert in there, right? That is always a bit cumbersome since classical music doesn't work "on the grid" meaning with a steady tempo, but there are workflows that should speed things up in Reaper!

      Like
  • I have a question...

    How can I not get paralysed with all the different parameters and possibilities and not get fed up and give up? Distance from mic, angle, place in room, which microphone, AB, XY, MS, WTF, OMG, IDK...

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      • MartinTeam
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      Roni Glaser Most of the recording techniques you mentioned are very standardized stereo techniques (or, lets say, the first three, haha) that aim to get the most realistic stereo field representation and mono-compatibility. But you don't need to bother with these at all at first, simply trust your ears and see where your guitar sounds the best and see, if that translates into the recorded file! 

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    • Martin Thanks Martin, but it's really all the other things that trouble me; I suppose the only thing to do is record the same thing a bezillion times changing one parameter at a time... 

      I think the problem I've had most is comparing several recordings, because sometimes they just sound sort of the same, but not... Maybe I just need to be more systematic about it, making notes all the way, and just find a satisfactory point in the room with a satisfactory distance.

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      • MartinTeam
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      Roni Glaser Yes, that's what you would call a soundcheck 👂 No room sounds the same, no guitar sounds the same, and nobody can play a couple of notes identical to one another, so there is always a certain ... uncertainty!

      The initial process is to setup your recording gear, capture some notes and really listen! When you hear too much room, you get closer, wenn it's too bass-heavy, you move away from the sound hole, when it's too thin , move more towards the bridge insted of the neck. There are a million different possibilities that will work, so there is no real right or wrong when it comes to find the sweet spot!

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    • Martin Roni Glaser  I would also say that, for me at least, use your headphones by the time you're testing out multiple setups and after compare with the recorded session. That would give you a better idea while experiencing it as you're doing it.

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  • Martin said:
    When you hear too much room, you get closer, wenn it's too bass-heavy, you move away from the sound hole, when it's too thin , move more towards the bridge insted of the neck.

     Thanks Martin! This is very helpful! It often feels like stabbing in the dark without knowing what does what to the sound.

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  • Hi Martin... thank you for doing this .... so far I have been very hesitant to load any video of my playing to any of the forums/ challenges, although I have joined the challenges (playing to myself) and following along to some of them... partly I'm shy but also I have not fully understood how to get a smartphone recording to YouTube or how to record using Reaper.  I have just commenced the Recording Course to use my computer for recording, and have completed the first session and onto the second session..  I am using Reaper, and have USB audio interface Focusrite Scarletti 2i2 and a studio Microphone MXL440 (cardioid).  I would use the webcam on my computer (Apple MacBook Pro) for video. So far so good ... however I am very excited about this Home Recording live stream (I am in Australia so 6am for me)... hopefully it will help me  understand a little more to complete the previous Recording Course and also get me up to speed with the alternative of using my Apple smart phone to YouTube and then take the leap to sharing content to the forums.   I hope the session will be step by step.  

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      • MartinTeam
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      margaret macarthur Fantastic, hopefully this will enable you to share more videos! I will show you how to upload a video to YouTube in a way that you can share it on the forum!

      And congratulations to completing the first session! With a setup like that, I would recommend to record audio onto your computer and video with your smartphone and sync it afterwards in a video editor, that should give you the best quality. But be assured that it absolutely sufficient to simply share a smartphone recording, in fact 90% of the videos on the forum are recorded that way!

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    • Martin Many thanks Martin for a very informative Home Recording live session.  After watching the sessions and i think I understood most of it .. Just to clarify I have a few simple questions

      1. Smart phone to You Tube -  do i just use video recording on the phone and then share to YouTube  - ie no need for any other software

      2. If (as you suggest in your reply to me above) I use smart phone as video and audio on my computer through mic and Scarletti  audio interface to Reaper - do I need something like  OBS Studio software to sync audio/video etc 

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  • Martin Hello Martin, i will participate in this workshop 😉👍🏻 Best Regards Olli

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      Olli Nice!

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  • Hello Martin,

     

    I have a Fender acoustic amp, a mixing board (both passive and active - for powered speakers and non-powered speakers) and an Apple MacBook Air. Also a Spire Home studio.  I seem to have everything I need, but do not know how to configure any of it to record.  Any help would be great.

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      Paul Kennedy Hi Paul! The Spire itself is a pretty powerful recording house that works in conjunction with a dedicated App, Does the mixing board connect via USB to the MacBook?

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    • Martin Did you ever try it the Spire? It looks like an awesome product for quickly produce music.

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    • Paul Kennedy How do you like the Spire?

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      Blaise Laflamme I've never used it! I already had so many microphones the time it first came out, haha

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    • Blaise Laflamme I love it, I just do not know how to sync it with video.  It is the best sound imaginable

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    • Paul Kennedy great to hear! you should be able to sync your audio/video within your video editor, they normally provide some options to ease the process, or you can manually align the audio-clip and video-clip waves and then mute the video-clip sound.

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    • Blaise Laflamme Thank you Blaise, I will spend some time this weekend experimenting.

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  • Martin
    I've two questions:
    1) Is there any advantage of recording directly with the ZOOM H4N acting as a sound card via Reaper or recording first with the H4N and then loading the wav file on Reaper?
    2) Can better results be obtained by simultaneously recording with H4N and Tascam MK100Dr and then with Reaper to treat the files one as right channel and the other as left channel, adding the recordings?

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    • ivan paolo personally, when I record myself alone, I prefer using my MixPre6 (similar to your H4N) for a recording session and then import and clean it in my DAW after. For shorts I'm about to try a setup with a webcam and a USB microphone to see if I can good results. Lets see what tips Martin has for us!

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    • Blaise Laflamme Thanks, so far

      I have registered with my mobile and then uploaded to YT. Now I'm curious and I'm trying to record the ipad and a crosstour at the same time with the cell and the H4N, then pass the audio on Reaper to synchronize, for now without making any changes with eq etc. then with the pgm on win10 I put title and finally using DaVinciStudio edit the video

      to get it with multi-camera effect...

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    • ivan paolo for sure you can combine multiple audio sources in your DAW project. What I usually do is starting both my MixPre6 and all my cameras one after the other, then I can match which section to synch. I don't know about DaVinci but FCP has the option to create sync clips, then you can use the export of your DAW for the audio, and also multi-cam clips, where it syncs all your videos of the same session and provide an easy way to change angles wherever you want.

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      ivan paolo Hi Ivan! Sorry, I kinda forgot that you posted these questions before the livestream! 

      1) It just depends what workflow you prefer! I prefer to have everything directly in the computer since it is easier to play back files and to try edits, this is why I prefer to record onto my computer. But Blaise Laflamme workflow is better when you want to immerse yourself into performing and just get some good recordings, maybe in a nice location!

      2) You can absolutely mix those two different recordings, best thing is to try different options! You could use the H4n very close and and the Tascam further away for example!

      Like
  • This is the test upload I did during the stream!

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  • I was I'll and could not attend. Was this recorded somewhere, so that I could yet see it? I am completely lost and a true beginner at home recording (I've only my Android smartphone), so this would be a huge help!

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    • Todd Berry *ill

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      Todd Berry Hi Todd, this is recorded and still accessible under "Past Streams" under "Live Sessions"! 

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  • Hi Martin,

    Quick question.  What is the difference between normalizing a track at -1db true peak verses using a limiter like FabFile L2 to bring up the overall level?  I'm trying to figure out what is the best practice: normalize and then use limiter if needed, or limiter only?

    Rick

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      Rick Lord Hi Rick, important question! 

      I copied that from a forum because it explains it so much better than I could:

      Limiting is a dynamic process.  One feeds a signal in and compresses it, ie. squeezing out the dynamic range values between the loudest and softest levels of the signal.  That should make the signal quieter, so there is usually a make up gain knob.  Limiting is simply an extreme form of compression, usually considered at least 10 to 1 ratio.  

      Normalizing is an off line process, where the loudest part of a signal is identified and the ENTIRE track volume is then raised so that loud part is still loud, but constrained by whatever the user sets as the loudest signal.  Say your track's loudest moment is -3 dB.  You raise that to -.3 dB, and the rest of the signal is raised by 2.7 dB too.  The dynamic range hasn't been squeezed or compressed, just transposed louder.  Normalizing doesn't raise your average level usually as much as limiting, since quiet sections are still much lower than the loudest.

      My process is usually that I analyze my signal for the loudest part and set my limiter in way that it reduces max. 1-3db, since in classical music I want to retain as much dynamic range as possible. If I would want to make the signal louder, I would usually do it via a compressor instead of a limiter as it is much more gentle (even the fab filter limiter can distort very quickly). 

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      Rick Lord This workflow gives me a bit more flexibility, but using the normalize function in Reaper ist just sooooo easy if you just want the maximal loudness with maximal dynamic range, which is why I wanted to include it!

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    • Martin Thank you Martin for the explanation. I'm going to experiment a bit with both normalization in Reaper as well with the FabFilter Limiter plugin. I find it all quite interesting and creative.  I'm going to review the excellent recording course you published for TB.  Thanks again for the livestream, I always learn something new.  

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      Rick Lord Awesome, happy that I could help you! I am planning on doing at least one livestream per month on Recording Audio and Video!

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    • Martin that'd be great, you give so much valuable tips... thanks for planning on doing this.

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      Blaise Laflamme They are also just a lot of fun to do, haha

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    • Martin fun for you and invaluable for us... best match! 

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  • Martin, My day job is getting in the way with the time, I just got the Scarlett 212 and some mics. No headphones as of yet. We will be able to watch later?

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  • Just a quick note that you can also edit video in Reaper, so to synchronize you can import the video file into the Reaper session and drag it till the sound waves match. No need for shortcut/DaVinci.

    Not only that but you import multiple sources (say you use a few cameras) and edit, or even automatically create those grid videos. Like this thing below is all Reaper.

    I know, Reaper is awesome! :)

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      kito Oh Reaper is absolutely fantastic! But I always hesitated to do video in Reaper, I watched a tutorial on that once and I figured that I would be just much quicker in a dedicated piece of software! How are your experiences compared to other video software solutions?

      Did you produce that video?? 🧙‍♂️

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    • kito wow that's great Kito! thanks for sharing this 👍

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      • kito
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      Martin I can't compare as I have no experience with video editing (iMovie on the phone doesn't count), the UI just looks too intimidating. So finding that I can reuse Reaper for simple tasks was perfect.

      I produced that video if you can call this producing. Attaching screenshot of the session. All videos go under the VIDEO folder. The ability to slice video just like audio tracks is just perfect. So I sync the audio and video (by moving video media items in time) and then turn the volume of the video down (muting is not the same, it just doesn't display the video).

      Then there's a "Video processor" plugin you add just like any old plugin. See second screenshot. The video processor has only 20-30 things it can do and one of these things is "Grid of videos". It automatically draws the grid with the video items that exist at any time. In my case you can see how it starts with 1 video, then split screen, then 2x2 screens and so on. Magic :)

      So yeah, drawbacks... not as powerful as specialized video software I'm sure. But benefits... simple, reusing your editing skills, free, stable (I've not experienced any crashes) and keeping things together in one project. I hope others find it as useful as I did :)

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      • kito
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      Just another example of what's possible in Reaper: I added images of the score as the video goes on using the "Image overlay" option in the Video processor plugin

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      kito That's brilliant, seems like I need to do another workshop 🧙‍♂️ I do see the advantage of staying within one piece of software when editing audio and video!

      When I don't need to edit and cut the audio and have only a simple recording setup, I like to stay within Resolve as it has a very powerful audio environment as well! 

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    • kito  many thanks, these are very usfull suggestions, I'll try soon. 

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  • Hello again Martin,

    Great success on the livestream yesterday.  I learned a lot.  I am now thinking about picking up the Shure MV88+.  Do you know if I need an interface with it?  If so, will the Scarlett (3rd Generation) suffice?  

    Thank you

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    • Paul Kennedy I use the Shure MV88+. I plug it directly into my laptop for recording into Audacity or for zoom calls.

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      Paul Kennedy Martha Kreipke From what I can see the MV88 records directly via USB-C into a computer (or via Lighting  Port into an iPhone). Happy that you learned something!

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    • Martha Kreipke thank you Martha

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    • Martin I learned a lot!  Thank you Martin

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  • Thank you Martin! I have watched this off stream! Very good , now I am ready to learn more and try! 

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