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New Tricks

Recently, I’ve been adapting my studio to create enough space to make videos, with a view to covering review products As with a music studio, a video studio needs adequate space as well as suitable equipment. And just as with audio, even relatively inexpensive equipment can produce good results if used correctly — providing you have room to work, some basic skills and the discipline not to overstep your abilities. I’m not sure which of those boxes I can tick just yet, but I’m getting there.

When working with audio we are conscious of acoustics, and the video equivalent is, of course, lighting. Fortunately, modern daylight LEDs can provide more than adequate illumination with virtually no heat and at a very modest cost.

Learning some very basic video editing skills has been quite enlightening, and it seems that just as with your favourite DAW, you use less than five percent of the program’s capabilities for more than 95 percent of the time. In fact there are lots of parallels to working with audio, and one that becomes obvious very early on is that in both disciplines getting the arrangement right before you start is a big part of the job. If you’re working on a song then you have to create a structure that works, choose suitable sounds and instruments to drive it along, pick chord inversions that add interest without getting in the way of other instruments, and so on. With video you have to plan out the sequence, list the different shots you might need, think about the lighting, record an audio narrative where needed, and then ensure it goes together without being so slow as to be boring or so busy as to be irritating.

Having dipped a toe in the water, I’d encourage anyone currently working in audio to also develop some video skills, even if just using a camera phone and budget software, such as iMovie, as there’s a big chance that the majority of audio industry jobs of the future will be tied to video in some way. You may not end up in a job where you actually make videos yourself, but by having some understanding of the process you’ll be better able to deal with the audio side of the task.

I’ve been working with audio for a long time, so I feel pretty comfortable with it, but I’d be the first to admit that going solo on video projects is pretty new to me and with each one I do I learn something new. As with any software-driven process, there’s a learning curve for the software itself as well as for the techniques involved in creating a successful video, and I have to thank my colleague Andy Brookes for using a pointed stick to prod me in the right direction from time to time. I know I have a long way to go yet, but then as with life, the journey is the enjoyable part, not the destination.

Paul White Editor In Chief