This is a blog about the making of my cover of Peroxide by Nina Nesbitt, found here:
DISCALIMER: I am in no way pretending I know exactly what I’m doing or am some kind of expert in this! I am completely self-taught and am merely sharing my process with those who are interested. If you get some ideas from it then that’s wonderful, and if anyone actually knows about this stuff and wants to give me some constructive feedback, that is also very welcome 🙂
1) Drum beat (Hydrogen)
For this cover I used Hydrogen Drum Machine to create a drum track. I first exported it with the metronome clicks as a guide for recording, then later mixed and exported it to fit in the final track.
2) Recording (Ardour)
I set up the mic and camera suitably for each part and record each one live. The audio goes directly into Ardour and the video is just recorded to the camera. All audio- with the exception of some midi tracks which I’ve connected to the computer via USB midi to power Yoshimi, ZynAddSubFX or Qsynth– are recorded via preamp (see the tech timeline post here for more about the equipment and software I use/have used over the years- COMING SOON).
In this video I recorded the electric guitar and bass by mic-ing up their respective amps, whereas before I’d use direct input with guitarix. I’ve found mic-ing the amps does give a better result, but before this cover I didn’t have access to a bass amp and I had been having some earthing problems with my normal amp.
I generally start with the acoustic guitars, then vocals, followed by electric guitar, bass, piano and finally other bits and pieces like synths and sound effects. Other instruments like clarinet, sax, mandolin, ukulele, flute etc. would probably be recorded after piano, but it depends on the song. Sometimes I just record some scratch vocals as a guide for the next instruments and record the actual vocals last so that I have the advantage of the whole instrumental behind it. I didn’t do that for this cover.
I usually add in temporary plugins- especially reverb and compression on the vocals- while I record over the top so that I have more of a feel of how the final track will sound.
3) Mixing (Ardour)
I mute every track and start mixing in the same order as recording, adding them in one by one.
This is the final mix for this video:
I like to have the acoustic guitar doubled (two separate recordings) and then panned left and right, as I did here. I’ll generally add a bit of reverb to the guitars and vocals, and a small amount to some other tracks too.
Here is just a bit about the plugins I use:
Reverb: on my first videos I used the ‘plate reverb’ by Steve Harris, but I am now a big fan of the ‘C* plate- versatile plate reverb’ by Tim Goetze. I find I can get a very echo-y, mysterious sound with it but also if I only want a hint of reverb it’s good for that too.
Compression: The ‘Dyson Compressor’ by Steve Harris was always my go-to compressor, I found it did a good job with minimal tweaking, however more recently I’ve found that it tends to cause tracks to clip and does not have the flexibility I find I sometimes need. I am now fond of the ‘Calf Compressor’ (Thor Harald Johansen) which has a nice graphical interface and a graph showing the compressor curve, which is helpful.
EQ: I didn’t use any EQ in this video, but that is unusual! I will normally use the ‘C* EQ’ (Tim Goetze) although in the past I’ve used the ‘multiband EQ’ by Steve Harris.
Highpass: on the occasions when I want a highpass filter I’ll use the ‘GLAME highpass filter’.
4) Mastering (Jamin)
I route the master bus of Ardour through to the inputs of Jamin and then add some gain in the built in limiter. Normally I would not add this much gain because it tends to clip before this much can be added, but in this case it actually sounded OK, at least to my ears. I generally don’t fiddle with the compression much, I might adjust a few things by small amounts but this is really where my skills start to wear thin! I tend to roll off the very high and very low frequencies, and add a small amount gain at about 14 kHz. This particular song I found needed very little EQ, often I will make some more adjustments around the 100 Hz- 1 kHz part of the spectrum.
5) Video editing (OpenShot)
Firstly I line up all the videos to sync with the audio track and then slice them up, adding masks and transitions where I think will fit. I make the white dividers in the GIMP and import them into the OpenShot session.
Here are the tracks lined up:
Here is the final edit:
And that’s it, we have a finished video 🙂
If you have any more questions about my recording process, the software I use or just any comments or feedback, feel free to comment here, on any of my videos or message me on facebook or email. I enjoy talking about this stuff and am always up for learning some more!