The two most common questions I get asked are “what effects do you use?” and “how do you record YouTube videos?” This article addresses those questions with a few different approaches.
Equipment I use: Ditto Looper, Strymon Timeline, Strymon Big Sky, Strymon OBP-1, EHX Freeze, Apollo Twin Interface, Sony DSC RX-100 Camera, iMac, Logic Pro, Various plugins, Isotope Ozone 7, Filmora Video Editor.
The Video: The Sony RX-100 is an amazing pocket camera I use for wildlife and landscape photography that is also great at recording HD video in low light levels. I use halogen lighting with a black photographic screen background. I treat videos as a live performance, challenging myself to play my material well; I always shoot unedited video without any changing angles or zooms.
My Audio Signal Chain: The most common way I record is just the Bass Guitar -> Ditto Looper -> [Strymon Timeline / Big Sky] Stereo out => Apollo twin interface -> Logic Pro.
With Mastering: In Logic Pro I use Isotope’s Ozone mastering software to master all audio tracks to commercial levels. In Ozone I add single band gentle compression (<1.4:1) and use the limiter to maximize the levels. I never push too hard into the limiter, just so the peaks are limited. Sometimes I forego the external effects pedals, plug the bass directly into the Apollo Twin or use the REDDI tube DI and use Reverb / delay plugins inside logic, it just depends on what the piece calls for.
Without Mastering: Sometimes I skip mastering and just use the Strymon OBP-1 Compressor -> [Strymon Timeline / Big Sky] Stereo out => Apollo
twin or computer’s stereo mic input. That process has yielded great results with less effort. The compression helps to boost the perceived volume, but you have to be careful not to clip the audio. It’s better to under-record a few dB and edit the track to boost the volume as needed to prevent clipping.
Combining Audio & Video: I combine the audio track with video from the RX-100 using Filmora. Synchronizing the audio and video can be challenging, but I use the cameras mic recorded audio to synchronize to the direct recorded audio by ear. The audio level should be below -1.1dB for YouTube and Ozone’s limiter output should be set accordingly.
Amplifiers, Cabinets & Room Mics: I always record my videos direct although I have used room mics to pickup a small amount of the room ambiance and finger sounds. My new album ‘Hypnagogery’ has a few tracks with a room mic. When I am performing I use two Aguilar SL112s and either one or two Tecamp Puma 900s.