Modern technology provides us with several options for recording music videos, including cell phones, digital video cameras/recorders, and laptops or PCs with integrated or connected cameras and microphones. If you have a digital camera that records video and a tripod, you are probably ready to record your music video right now.

However, a simple smart phone can also be used to record a quality video to be submitted to HSGA for the Virtual Convention.

This article focuses on the use of cell phones to record video, as most people have smart phones these days. Before you begin, I suggest that you review your smart phone instruction manual (printed or online) and the specific directions for recording video. You may also find helpful guides on the phone manufacturer’s website or on specific “how to” YouTube videos.

If you are using a smart phone, here are some key tips:

1. Video settings must be 1080p (pixels) and 30 fps (frames per second). Find the video settings function on your smart phone. On Android phones (Samsung, LG, Motorola, etc), these settings are usually right inside the main camera app, either behind the settings gear wheel, or accessible via a toggle button. On my Samsung and LG Phones, the correct setting reads: FHD 16:9 1920x 1080.

On Apple iPhones, the controls are on in the main settings menu. Do not go to the camera app: instead, go to Settings, scroll down to Photos & Camera, and then scroll down to the Camera Section. Select 1080p at 30 fps (frames per second).

When saving your video files, keep in mind that one minute of video taken at 1080p at 30 fps uses approximately 130 MB of storage space.

2. Use the phone in a horizontal position. Usually the correct side up is with the camera lens on the left side when you are looking at the display screen.

3. Smart phones have at least two cameras: one on the back and the other facing you when looking at the screen. Make sure to set the phone to use the back camera (so that you are using the screen as the “viewfinder”).

4. While the built in microphone of a smart phone will work, an external microphone will usually give you a much fuller sound for your recording. It also enables you to place the microphone closer to the sound source. My recommendation is that you place your amplifiers or sound sources closer to the smart phone or external microphone (around 3 feet). You will need to adjust individual volume levels to get the right balance. If you are playing an acoustic instrument, place the microphone closer to the instrument.

There are a wide price range of microphones available; a $10 lavelier lapel (clip on) microphone may work just fine. Make sure the connector for the microphone is a three pole (3 stripes) mini jack that will plug into to cell phone’s earphone jack.

5. Set up the smart phone at a distance from the performer(s) where the frame of the picture captures the musicians and the instruments (see article on “How To Make A $5 Smart Phone Stand”).

6. Check room lighting or consider video recording outside. If indoors, it is best to have room windows behind the camera or cell phone and not behind the performer. Consider using additional indoor lighting to illuminate the subject.

For Android phones, look for the camera icon on your smart phone’s menu screen and tap on the icon. The camera screen will have a red button at the bottom. A single tap on the red button will begin the video recording. The red button changes to a “pause” button (=). Next to this button and in the middle of the control panel is the “stop” button. You can choose to use the pause or the stop button between any or each of your songs. Just know that using the stop button will result in more than one video file. You may submit a single file or multiple files for the Virtual Convention.

There are many resources available online on the subject of recording music videos. Here are a few that may help you with your project

Tips for Recording Better Video With Your Smartphone
https://www.pocket-lint.com/phones/news/131351-10-tips-for-recording-better-video-with-your-smartphone

How to Shoot Better Video With Your Phone
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YLKcv69HQU

7 Ways To Get Professional Quality Video From Your Smartphone
https://vtrep.com/7-ways-get-professional-quality-video-smartphone/

How to shoot great video with your smartphone (Andriod)
https://www.theverge.com/2017/7/26/16026238/smartphone-video-editing-apps-how-to-tips-iphone-android

How to Change Your iPhone Video Resolution (iPhone)
https://www.techradar.com/how-to/phone-and-communications/how-to-change-your-iphone-video-resolution-settings-1306774#:~:text=Go%20to%20Settings%20%3E%20Camera%2C%20tap,more%20videos%20on%20your%20phone

If you are a Zoom call user, you can use Zoom to record your music video. Before you start, you must make a few changes to the audio settings in Zoom. Please review the following tutorials on this subject.

Zoom Settings for music performance
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEAb4G063sM

How to Host a Zoom Concert with High-Quality Audio
https://spin.atomicobject.com/2020/05/19/zoom-music-audio-quality/

Zoom 201 for Musicians: Beyond the Basics
https://blog.sonicbids.com/zoom-201

I am sure that there are other ways to make a music video. Please feel free to email other ideas and suggestions. (roberto.alaniz@comcast.net)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Make a $5 Cell Phone Stand
by Roberto Alaniz

One of the keys to a good cell phone video is holding the cell phone steady for extended periods of time. Asking your spouse to hold the cell phone still for 15 minutes could be hazardous to your health, so I decided to build my own cell phone holder using a closeted tripod stand. The total project cost me less than $5.

Parts needed: 1) cell phone holder that normally mounts on car vent ($1. at the Dollar Store); 2) 1.75 inch corner brace from the hardware store; 3) A role of electrical tape; 4) a mic stand, music stand or camera tripod stand.

The photos below illustrate the steps to assemble the cell phone holder. Start with the corner brace and wrap the electrical tape around one end a few times for a firmer fit into the cell phone holder vent clip. Then, Insert the taped end of the corner brace into the vent clip and wrap the clip tightly with electrical tape. Finally, tightly tape the assembled cell phone holder to the vertical post of your stand. Tape the holder to the upper part of the stand that adjusts upward and downward. The cell phone holder will hold your cell phone in the horizontal position, which is best for shooting video of a performance.

The cell phone holder expands to allow the phone to fit snugly. Now, it’s a matter of finding the right height for the cell phone camera, a good light source for the room (or outdoors), and adjusting the distance from the camera to the performer(s).