What do you need to record a video for the Seasons?

UkingViking

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What do I need to record a video for the Seasons?​

Are you in doubt in what gear you need to have to post a video to the seasons, or what you can get to improve your videos?

What you need is basically:
  • Something to record video
  • Something to record audio – can be same device as for video
  • Optional: Something to edit the audio and video with.
This is only an attempt to describe the overall types of gear you can use.
  • Detailed how-to’s can be put in other posts.
  • More fulfilling list of recommended gear and software can also get its own posts.
Feel free to add posts with your input.

Something to record video​

- Smartphone​

Most modern smartphones capture decent video, and a lot of the videos made for YouTube are filmed on smartphones. So that is an easy way to get started. All you really need to do is prop your phone against some books or music stand, turn on your camera app, set it to video, set it to selfie side so you can see if you fit in the screen, and press record!

This simple approach is widely used by seasonistas and other YouTubers alike. But there are things you can do to make recording easier and improve the sound quality a lot.

Consider getting a tripod for you phone, that will make it easier to get a good shot. Try to record in a place with a lot of light, since smartphones have small sensors and will need light to make video look clear.

The sound quality of the build in microphone is a little so-and-so, so at some point you might think of upgrading. You don’t have to, there is an internal mic, but it will sound better. There are several ways to do this.
  • Attach a USB-microphone
  • Attach a mini-jack-shotgun microphone
  • Use a wireless lapel microphone, or other special microphone
  • Record audio on another device and edit together

USB microphones

USB microphones are in general build for computers, and connect with USB-A or USB-C cables. Some can be plugged straight into an iPhone, check the manufacturers webpage. Most can be used with newer Android phones using an “On-The-Go” adapter cable, even if the manufacturer will not promise this. Older android phones from before USB-C might pose a problem. Notice that using USB mics with phones might result in low sound levels, that will need to be turned up.

USB mics often come with a table stand. The good ones can also be mounted on normal mic stands or boom arms.

Shotgun microphones

Shotgun microphones are in general designed for shooting video with cameras. They are placed on top of the camera or phone, pointing towards the front. They will fit in the “hot shoe” of a camera or on top of a good phone tripod adapter. Some are marketed towards phone video makers and are sold in a bundle with a compatible phone tripod. Most shotgun mics of this type come with a 3.5 mm jack connection. If you smartphone doesn’t have a jack connection, which many smartphones don’t have, you will need an adapter. A few models come with USB-C connection, check before buying.

Microphones that have a jack connection will usually need a battery. Don’t expect non powered microphones to give a usable sound input when plugged into a jack connection on a random device.

Lapel microphones

A lapel microphone clips on to your clothes and is primarily designed to record speaking. You can get some that connect with 3.5 mm jack, but these days you can also get some that connect using Bluetooth.

Other device

If you have better ways to record audio, but no fancy camera for video, this is a way to go. Look under “Devices to record audio”.

- Camera​

The best video can be recorded with a large sensor, which can record more light, and a bright lens, which lets more light through. Good cameras have way bigger sensors than smartphones, and professional YouTube content is often filmed on DSLR cameras.

If your camera fits in your pocket and has more than ~5 times zoom, it probably has a small sensor. And the more zoom, the less light the lens usually lets through. So in this case you might be better of using your phone - it also has a small sensor, but usually a very bright lens and more updated software. If you have a camera with a 1” type sensor or bigger, you could consider trying to record with it, if you don’t mind the extra process of transferring to another device to edit and upload. Consider using manual focus, since focusing while filming yourself can be tricky.

Notice that even good cameras usually have really bad microphones. So if you want the audio quality to match the video quality, consider using a shotgun mic or recording audio on a separate device.

- Webcam​

If you like to record directly into your computer, you can use your webcam. Probably not better than your phone camera, unless perhaps you get a good external webcam.

You would want to connect a microphone to your computer, either a USB mic or an XLR mix through an interface. See the audio part.

Something to record audio​

Assuming that you are not recording audio along with your video on your phone or camera, you will be recording on another device and sync it up in a video editor.

- Portable audio recorder​

Brands like Tascam and Zoom make Dictaphone-style recording devices with built-in mono- or stereo mics. These are popular among YouTubers who like to record music in different places away from home. I never used one.

- Studio like multitrack recorder​

If you have one of these, or are looking into buying one, you know more than me.

- Computer​

The number one popular option for home music recording is the desktop/laptop. One with plenty RAM and disk space is recommended.

Software

You need software to record the music. If you are recording your webcam, you might just get the audio straight into a camera app. Otherwise you will need a Digital Audio Workstation, referred to as a DAW.

A cheap place to start on Windows or Linux is with the free software “Audacity”. Critics will say that it is not really a DAW, since it can only handle one mono or stereo input at a time, it cannot apply effects without overwriting the original soundfile etc. This is all very true, but if you don’t want to use effects and only have one microphone – that is not a problem. You can layer several tracks recorded one at a time with this software, though real DAWs have metronomes that make it easier.

On Mac the DAW “Garageband” in included, so that would probably be an obvious place to start.

For working with EQ, click tracks, compression, reverb etc. it is worth getting a more powerful DAW. Some say that the “Industry standard” is “ProTools”. This is also quite expensive. There are many cheaper alternatives that can basically do the same things – the workflow is just different. I am personally fond of “Reaper”, which is available for Windows, Linux and Mac, affordable, and includes basic video editing capabilities.

Hardware

You need a microphone.
The two main options are:
  • An interface/external soundcard and one or more XLR mics (The serious way)
  • A USB microphone (The more approachable YouTuber way)
XLR is the connector type on most modern microphones, with three small pins. The interface connects to the computer via USB and has a number of XLR ports to connect the microphone cables to. The two most common microphone types are condenser mics and dynamic mics. Condenser mics are more sensitive, and usually the choice for a quiet home studio. They require that the interface can produce 48v fantom power. Dynamic mics are less sensitive and are usually the choice for live performance, where you don’t want to pick up all the background noise. However, lots of great studio recordings have also been made with good dynamic microphones if you want one mic for both purposes.

USB mics have all the stuff from an interface built directly into the body of the microphone, so you can connect directly to your computer. Less gizmos on your desk that way. They come in different qualities. Some are cheap conference call mics with less impressive sound. Some are large diaphragm condenser mics from serious microphones companies like Røde, Audio Technica, Blue microphones, Shure, Se Electronics etc. and deliver high quality sound. Some have several capsules under the grille, so they can record stereo.

Something to edit audio and video​

If you are using a DAW, there is a lot of post processing you can do to your audio. I am not really good at it, and I will not get into that here. Just focus on the video.

There are some typical things you might want to edit before uploading your video:
  • Synchronizing audio and video, if recorded separately
  • Trimming start and end to cut out turning on and off recording device.
  • Adjusting sound level, so it is similar to other YouTube videos.
If you recorded everything on your phone or through webcam app, check if your phone or computer respectively came with a simple video editor for that.

If you recorded audio and video separately and your computer didn’t come with an app good enough for synchronizing, there are many video editors around at different price points and learning curves. Some of the popular choices seem to be Davinci Resolve, PowerDirector and Adobe Premiere. Myself I sync the video directly in Reaper, my DAW. But there are many more, and that probably deserves its own post.

If you recorded several tracks and have individual videos, there are many fancy things you can do. That deserves its own post.
 
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This is great, so many helpful details! I hesitate to suggest this because there's so much good advice here, but I wonder if it might be good to add a sentence at the start to say that you can literally just point your phone at yourself with the default camera, and that is absolutely fine and what many people do anyway? And you only need to read on if you're looking to get better sound or picture quality.

(EDIT: I notice you do say that, either I didn't read properly or you edited later :). Sorry! Even so, I'd still suggest a prominent first sentence along the lines of "this is literally the minimum and all many people do" and you only need to read on if etc etc...)

Anyway, thanks for posting this!
 
Last edited:

What do I need to record a video for the Seasons?​

Are you in doubt in what gear you need to have to post a video to the seasons, or what you can get to improve your videos?

What you need is basically:
  • Something to record video
  • Something to record audio – can be same device as for video
  • Optional: Something to edit the audio and video with.
This is only an attempt to describe the overall types of gear you can use.
  • Detailed how-to’s can be put in other posts.
  • More fulfilling list of recommended gear and software can also get its own posts.
Feel free to add posts with your input.

Something to record video​

- Smartphone​

Most modern smartphones capture decent video, and a lot of the videos made for YouTube are filmed on smartphones. So that is an easy way to get started. All you really need to do is prop your phone against some books or music stand, turn on your camera app, set it to video, set it to selfie side so you can see if you fit in the screen, and press record!

But there are things you can do to make recording easier and improve the sound quality a lot.

Consider getting a tripod for you phone, that will make it easier to get a good shot. Try to record in a place with a lot of light, since smartphones have small sensors and will need light to make video look clear.

The sound quality of the build in microphone is a little so-and-so, so at some point you might think of upgrading. You don’t have to, there is an internal mic, but it will sound better. There are several ways to do this.
  • Attach a USB-microphone
  • Attach a mini-jack-shotgun microphone
  • Use a wireless lapel microphone, or other special microphone
  • Record audio on another device and edit together

USB microphones

USB microphones are in general build for computers, and connect with USB-A or USB-C cables. Some can be plugged straight into an iPhone, check the manufacturers webpage. Most can be used with newer Android phones using an “On-The-Go” adapter cable, even if the manufacturer will not promise this. Older android phones from before USB-C might pose a problem. Notice that using USB mics with phones might result in low sound levels, that will need to be turned up.

USB mics often come with a table stand. The good ones can also be mounted on normal mic stands or boom arms.

Shotgun microphones

Shotgun microphones are in general designed for shooting video with cameras. They are placed on top of the camera or phone, pointing towards the front. They will fit in the “hot shoe” of a camera or on top of a good phone tripod adapter. Some are marketed towards phone video makers and are sold in a bundle with a compatible phone tripod. Most shotgun mics of this type come with a 3.5 mm jack connection. If you smartphone doesn’t have a jack connection, which many smartphones don’t have, you will need an adapter. A few models come with USB-C connection, check before buying.

Microphones that have a jack connection will usually need a battery. Don’t expect non powered microphones to give a usable sound input when plugged into a jack connection on a random device.

Lapel microphones

A lapel microphone clips on to your clothes and is primarily designed to record speaking. You can get some that connect with 3.5 mm jack, but these days you can also get some that connect using Bluetooth.

Other device

If you have better ways to record audio, but no fancy camera for video, this is a way to go. Look under “Devices to record audio”.

- Camera​

The best video can be recorded with a large sensor, which can record more light, and a bright lens, which lets more light through. Good cameras have way bigger sensors than smartphones, and professional YouTube content is often filmed on DSLR cameras.

If your camera fits in your pocket and has more than ~5 times zoom, it probably has a small sensor. And the more zoom, the less light the lens usually lets through. So in this case you might be better of using your phone - it also has a small sensor, but usually a very bright lens and more updated software. If you have a camera with a 1” type sensor or bigger, you could consider trying to record with it, if you don’t mind the extra process of transferring to another device to edit and upload. Consider using manual focus, since focusing while filming yourself can be tricky.

Notice that even good cameras usually have really bad microphones. So if you want the audio quality to match the video quality, consider using a shotgun mic or recording audio on a separate device.

- Webcam​

If you like to record directly into your computer, you can use your webcam. Probably not better than your phone camera, unless perhaps you get a good external webcam.

You would want to connect a microphone to your computer, either a USB mic or an XLR mix through an interface. See the audio part.

Something to record audio​

Assuming that you are not recording audio along with your video on your phone or camera, you will be recording on another device and sync it up in a video editor.

- Portable audio recorder​

Brands like Tascam and Zoom make Dictaphone-style recording devices with built-in mono- or stereo mics. These are popular among YouTubers who like to record music in different places away from home. I never used one.

- Studio like multitrack recorder​

If you have one of these, or are looking into buying one, you know more than me.

- Computer​

The number one popular option for home music recording is the desktop/laptop. One with plenty RAM and disk space is recommended.

Software

You need software to record the music. If you are recording your webcam, you might just get the audio straight into a camera app. Otherwise you will need a Digital Audio Workstation, referred to as a DAW.

A cheap place to start on Windows or Linux is with the free software “Audacity”. Critics will say that it is not really a DAW, since it can only handle one mono or stereo input at a time, it cannot apply effects without overwriting the original soundfile etc. This is all very true, but if you don’t want to use effects and only have one microphone – that is not a problem. You can layer several tracks recorded one at a time with this software, though real DAWs have metronomes that make it easier.

On Mac the DAW “Garageband” in included, so that would probably be an obvious place to start.

For working with EQ, click tracks, compression, reverb etc. it is worth getting a more powerful DAW. Some say that the “Industry standard” is “ProTools”. This is also quite expensive. There are many cheaper alternatives that can basically do the same things – the workflow is just different. I am personally fond of “Reaper”, which is available for Windows, Linux and Mac, affordable, and includes basic video editing capabilities.

Hardware

You need a microphone.
The two main options are:
  • An interface/external soundcard and one or more XLR mics (The serious way)
  • A USB microphone (The more approachable YouTuber way)
XLR is the connector type on most modern microphones, with three small pins. The interface connects to the computer via USB and has a number of XLR ports to connect the microphone cables to. The two most common microphone types are condenser mics and dynamic mics. Condenser mics are more sensitive, and usually the choice for a quiet home studio. They require that the interface can produce 48v fantom power. Dynamic mics are less sensitive and are usually the choice for live performance, where you don’t want to pick up all the background noise. However, lots of great studio recordings have also been made with good dynamic microphones if you want one mic for both purposes.

USB mics have all the stuff from an interface built directly into the body of the microphone, so you can connect directly to your computer. Less gizmos on your desk that way. They come in different qualities. Some are cheap conference call mics with less impressive sound. Some are large diaphragm condenser mics from serious microphones companies like Røde, Audio Technica, Blue microphones, Shure, Se Electronics etc. and deliver high quality sound. Some have several capsules under the grille, so they can record stereo.

Something to edit audio and video​

If you are using a DAW, there is a lot of post processing you can do to your audio. I am not really good at it, and I will not get into that here. Just focus on the video.

There are some typical things you might want to edit before uploading your video:
  • Synchronizing audio and video, if recorded separately
  • Trimming start and end to cut out turning on and off recording device.
  • Adjusting sound level, so it is similar to other YouTube videos.
If you recorded everything on your phone or through webcam app, check if your phone or computer respectively came with a simple video editor for that.

If you recorded audio and video separately and your computer didn’t come with an app good enough for synchronizing, there are many video editors around at different price points and learning curves. Some of the popular choices seem to be Davinci Resolve, PowerDirector and Adobe Premiere. Myself I sync the video directly in Reaper, my DAW. But there are many more, and that probably deserves its own post.

If you recorded several tracks and have individual videos, there are many fancy things you can do. That deserves its own post.
For a complete technophobe like me, this is really helpful, Mikel ... thank you!
 
I sit in front of my Mac and use QuickTime to record video and audio with the webcam and will use iMovie to clean it up, add titles, etc.
 
This is great, so many helpful details! I hesitate to suggest this because there's so much good advice here, but I wonder if it might be good to add a sentence at the start to say that you can literally just point your phone at yourself with the default camera, and that is absolutely fine and what many people do anyway? And you only need to read on if you're looking to get better sound or picture quality.

(EDIT: I notice you do say that, either I didn't read properly or you edited later :). Sorry! Even so, I'd still suggest a prominent first sentence along the lines of "this is literally the minimum and all many people do" and you only need to read on if etc etc...)

Anyway, thanks for posting this!

The description of how you can just point it and press record was there from the start. I have added a sentence about this is a very common thing to leave it at 🙂.
 
A cheap place to start on Windows or Linux is with the free software “Audacity”. Critics will say that it is not really a DAW, since it can only handle one mono or stereo input at a time, it cannot apply effects without overwriting the original soundfile etc. This is all very true, but if you don’t want to use effects and only have one microphone – that is not a problem. You can layer several tracks recorded one at a time with this software, though real DAWs have metronomes that make it easier.

On Mac the DAW “Garageband” in included, so that would probably be an obvious place to start.

For working with EQ, click tracks, compression, reverb etc. it is worth getting a more powerful DAW.

Audacity doesn't come with a metronome, and the ability to create a tap tempo would be nice, but you can generate a click track before recording. It also supports VST plugins, but not VST instruments but there are plenty of effects including compression and reverb.

There were concerns about the information collected by Audacity after its owner, Muse Group, had to issue a redrafted privacy policy a few years ago, and which were addressed here https://github.com/audacity/audacity/discussions/1353.

There is a link to download Audacity, and older versions, here. https://www.audacityteam.org/download/
 
Cameras I've shot with:

  • Logitech webcam - if acoustic, I paired this with a Blue microphone. If electric, I recorded that with a multitrack recorder and married it in post.
  • GoPro - I used a multitrack recorder (Zoom R20) and married the audio in post since I already acquired a piano and a bass by the time I tried this.
  • Nikon dSLR - Ditto above (Zoom R20)

Programs I use:
Adobe Audition to mix and master my audio
Adobe Premiere Pro to edit my videos
 

Notes on shooting with a camera.​

Just a few more thoughts, which I left out of the first post to make it shorter.

My own gear
When I first joined the Seasons, I had a camera bought for travel still-pictures. I was curious how it would do for video, and I had previously experimented with recording some guitar in Audacity with a horrid USB mic I had. I went with this combo and merged audio and video in Windows Movie Maker, which was still a thing back then. The microphone has been upgraded several times, soon to Shure MV5, later to Blue Yeti, and then interface with XLR mic. Due to some mess in my home recently, I have been using the Yeti again lately, since it takes less time setting up. The software on my PC have been upgraded from Audacity + MovieMaker to Reaper. Sometimes I also use my phone if time is short.

The camera was an Olympus EPM1 (Micro four thirds sensor size) with a Lumix 20 mm (40 mm equivalent) F1.7 lens if that means something to you. It has later been replaced with a Fuji X70 (APSC sensor size) with 28 mm equivalent F2.8 lens, also bought for travel photography. Both cameras have been discontinued, so it makes little sense to recommend them. They are probably not ideal for video, but hey, I like them for being small-ish.

Samples from my gear
Here are some samples recorded with different gear.

Sony Xperia phone in daylight, Build in microphone:
Sony Xperia phone indoors, lamplight, Build in microphone:
HP laptop build in Webcam indoors, Blue Yeti USB mic:
Fuji X70, indoors, lamplight, Audient iD Interface with Se2200 microphone:

From the samples I would say that the camera definitely produces a sharper image. The phone does well in daylight, and reasonably indoors. The webcam gives the least impressive video. This is a webcam build into the thin screen of my laptop, an external webcam with more depth can probably do way better. More depth will allow for a bigger sensor.

For audio quality, the phone doesn’t perform as well as USB mic or interface. Worse than the audio quality itself, is that I didn’t manage to find a way to turn up the volume to the same level. Doing “post” things on the phone is not something I have worked on. There is a small difference between the USB mic and the interface, but it might have as much to do with the fact that I recorded in different rooms.

My thoughts
Unless you are planning on becoming a professional YouTuber, buying a camera just for this kind of ukulele videos is a big overkill. But if you have one you use for still photos, and you like to spend a little time playing around with it, it will definitely make a difference.

If you are looking for a camera for still photos which is also good for video on the side, some features are good to look for. Cameras marketed as “V-Log” cameras usually have these, since “V-loggers” basically make videos of themselves and post them in different ways. The features are:
  • A screen that flips or rotates so you can see yourself while filming
  • A solution to focusing while in front of the camera
  • A big sensor and a lens with low aperture, for low light performance
  • A jack input for external audio
As for focusing, many new cameras can auto detect a face and focus on it while filming. This is practical. However, sometimes you look down at your ukulele, and the camera will try to focus on something else. Or perhaps there is not enough light for it to work. In these cases, you will see “focus hunting”, where you go in and out of focus. For that reasons, manual focus can be more foolproof if the camera has it.

Sensor sizes generally come in sizes from big to small: Full frame, APSC, Micro Four Thirds, 1” type, smaller sensors. The three biggest usually come with interchangeable lenses, though a few models have fixed lenses. The 1” type sensors appear in good compact cameras with fixed lenses that focus on low light performance over zoom. The smaller the sensor, the lower the aperture you want. That is the number on the lens where it says “F1:X.X”. On a full frame camera, “F1:3.X” is probably good. For Micro Four Thirds or 1” type, something like F1:2.0 or lower is really nice to have. In my opinion.

Anyway, for most people it will make most sense to record videos on the phone.
The allow you to see the screen while filming, and you dont have to worry about focus. This you just have to find some light or accept some grainyness.

Edit: Added audio connection as a good thing to have in a camera for video.
 
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@UkingViking -thanks, your post is very helpful for someone like me that is thinking about the SOTU.
I hope you will give it a try! My first several submissions to the seasons were unedited videos from my phone, with no external microphone.

I think if you go simple and create something to share, you will build confidence and experience, and be able to add and enhance your content as you continue.

I have shared many things on the Seasons that were not what I wanted them to be, but finished and shared is better than never.

But, sometimes I have chosen to let the season go by if I wasn’t able to get something done to my liking.

There’s a lot of freedom in the realm of creativity, and the same thing is true for the Seasons!

Have fun! Make a video, share it with us when you feel ready! 🙂
 
A way to “edit” your video and audio without using any software:

Record you performance on your phone.

Listen/watch it, noting things you wish were different.

Better lighting?

Uke too loud?

Vocals too soft?

Record again, trying to “edit” by changing your performance to make those things more to your liking.

Do this a time or two more if time allows, and if you feel like it would help.

Pick the best out of the performances you recorded.

Share it!
 
I've used any/all of the following, with good results:
  • Old Microsoft Surface Pro v.1, with or without a USB mic;
  • Cell Phone, built in mic;
  • Pentax dSLR, built in mic (no audio input); or
  • Zoom Q2n, built in mic
I used an old Acer laptop, and various webcams, with what I would charitably describe as "piss-poor" results. (They were fine for Zoom calls, but with music? yeah, no...)

If I edit, I still use Movie Maker. If I don't edit, i just post it.

I've tried using an iPad... I used to use the old Kodak video recorders, until they stopped taking to the batteries.

I've though about using a mic setup, as I do when i gig, running it through a mixer, and out to the Zoom Q2n or smartphone...

Too much like work - especially since I don't (yet) have a single place to leave everything set up.

I have used headphones and a click track once, years ago, when someone did a video here on UU with lots of members in it. I have never edited a video and attempted to synchronize sound... And when I say never, I mean it - I was a Broadcasting/Communications/theater Arts major in college, back before Beta or VHS existed. (U-Matic Cartridges - now THEY were something!)
-Kurt​
 
Here are two videos I made a few years ago for people in the Tin Pan Alley Facebook group who were asking how I do it. I use the last version of Audacity that was released before the new company took over, and at this time I was using the Shotcut video editor. Since that time, I was able to find the installation file that includes Windows Movie Maker on sort of a forgotten part of the Microsoft site and now I usually use that. If I want to do some video-in-video or a greenscreen I still use Shotcut. So for anyone who wonders how I do it, this is how.



 
This thread has been informative, so thank you to everyone that has contributed. I've really been enjoying sharing in the Seasons, and listening to all of the Seasonistas works!

I'm having some technical challenges with a condenser mic I received today and wondering if anyone has some feedback or ideas for me. I have never had a mic of my own before, and I've never used video/audio editing software. I'm a newbie to this. I'd like to keep things as simple as possible and be able to record a video while using the mic for better audio quality, without having to do any mixing or editing.

My recent collaboration with Stoneyrun had me wanting to improve my sound quality. Up to now I've been recording video/audio using my Samsung Android phone or sometimes a Lenovo Tablet. We have an ASUS laptop, but the built-in recording software gives terrible sound on the uke with no resonance at all, like plunking a pencil on a tin can.

I purchased a Rode NT1 5th generation mic. It has a USB-C connector, as well as an XLR connector. I thought this would be a perfect solution to use for both recording my Seasonista videos on the laptop, and also for using with a Fender Acoustisonic 15 amp that I use with my acoustic/electric concert Bonanza, since it has an XLR channel.

We (my husband included) downloaded the Rode driver, as well as Rode Connect and Rode Central software onto the laptop. We hooked the mic into the laptop, and are using OBS Studio to record. I successfully recorded some short video/audio samples, but the sound is extremely low on these files. If we turn the sound up higher on these files, there is a lot of extraneous  loud hum.

I'm hoping we're just amateurs and someone will have a really simple solution here for us on how to make this mic work properly in OBS. Or maybe we need different software? Or something else?

We contacted the retailer we purchased the mic from, and they have opened a ticket with Rode for us, but I wondered if anyone here would have the answers we seek. The customer care representative suggested we could have a defective mic? That seemed unlikely to me, but perhaps.

I don't want to have to record my audio and video separately and then have to edit them together. If I can't do that with this mic, I will probably send it back and get something else. If that happens, I could use suggestions on mic options that can do what I'm looking for.

This was long. If you've reached the end, I appreciate you taking the time, and for giving any help and suggestions. Thanks!
 
This thread has been informative, so thank you to everyone that has contributed. I've really been enjoying sharing in the Seasons, and listening to all of the Seasonistas works!

I'm having some technical challenges with a condenser mic I received today and wondering if anyone has some feedback or ideas for me. I have never had a mic of my own before, and I've never used video/audio editing software. I'm a newbie to this. I'd like to keep things as simple as possible and be able to record a video while using the mic for better audio quality, without having to do any mixing or editing.

My recent collaboration with Stoneyrun had me wanting to improve my sound quality. Up to now I've been recording video/audio using my Samsung Android phone or sometimes a Lenovo Tablet. We have an ASUS laptop, but the built-in recording software gives terrible sound on the uke with no resonance at all, like plunking a pencil on a tin can.

I purchased a Rode NT1 5th generation mic. It has a USB-C connector, as well as an XLR connector. I thought this would be a perfect solution to use for both recording my Seasonista videos on the laptop, and also for using with a Fender Acoustisonic 15 amp that I use with my acoustic/electric concert Bonanza, since it has an XLR channel.

We (my husband included) downloaded the Rode driver, as well as Rode Connect and Rode Central software onto the laptop. We hooked the mic into the laptop, and are using OBS Studio to record. I successfully recorded some short video/audio samples, but the sound is extremely low on these files. If we turn the sound up higher on these files, there is a lot of extraneous  loud hum.

I'm hoping we're just amateurs and someone will have a really simple solution here for us on how to make this mic work properly in OBS. Or maybe we need different software? Or something else?

We contacted the retailer we purchased the mic from, and they have opened a ticket with Rode for us, but I wondered if anyone here would have the answers we seek. The customer care representative suggested we could have a defective mic? That seemed unlikely to me, but perhaps.

I don't want to have to record my audio and video separately and then have to edit them together. If I can't do that with this mic, I will probably send it back and get something else. If that happens, I could use suggestions on mic options that can do what I'm looking for.

This was long. If you've reached the end, I appreciate you taking the time, and for giving any help and suggestions. Thanks!
I'd suggest trying Audacity software to record your audio, a phone to record video, and DaVinci Resolve to edit the two together. The software is free. Alternatively, you could do it all in DaVinci Resolve because it includes Fairlight studio. It's difficult to diagnose the problem with the loud hum without knowing more about your set up. However, I suspect there is some setting in the OBS software that needs to be changed such as a sample rate or similar. OBS is really for broadcasting and recording live streams like games and such, afaik. Although, it should work to record a live music performance just fine. I'd go through the settings in OBS Studio to see if changing some of them clears up the signal if you want to stick with that software. Across the top of the OBS interface you should see menu options. One of them is "Tools". In the subsequent drop down options you might see an "Auto Configuration Wizard". Maybe try running through that. The mic you have is a really nice mic. Best of luck.
 
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The hum makes sense, if recording levels are too low. All mics have some static noise, and that will be amplified along with the music. The usual advice is to record a bit lower that the desired result, to avoid clipping, and turn it up in post... But only by perhaps 12dB, or you get too much background noise.

But yeah, nothing you can do other that check the gain in every link of the chain.
  • Does the mic have a gain, button, is that set right?
  • Is the input levels on your device set right (like UkerDrew suggested, and probably the easiest to miss)
  • Can you set input levels in the software, and are they set properly?
 
This thread has been informative, so thank you to everyone that has contributed. I've really been enjoying sharing in the Seasons, and listening to all of the Seasonistas works!

I'm having some technical challenges with a condenser mic I received today and wondering if anyone has some feedback or ideas for me. I have never had a mic of my own before, and I've never used video/audio editing software. I'm a newbie to this. I'd like to keep things as simple as possible and be able to record a video while using the mic for better audio quality, without having to do any mixing or editing.

My recent collaboration with Stoneyrun had me wanting to improve my sound quality. Up to now I've been recording video/audio using my Samsung Android phone or sometimes a Lenovo Tablet. We have an ASUS laptop, but the built-in recording software gives terrible sound on the uke with no resonance at all, like plunking a pencil on a tin can.

I purchased a Rode NT1 5th generation mic. It has a USB-C connector, as well as an XLR connector. I thought this would be a perfect solution to use for both recording my Seasonista videos on the laptop, and also for using with a Fender Acoustisonic 15 amp that I use with my acoustic/electric concert Bonanza, since it has an XLR channel.

We (my husband included) downloaded the Rode driver, as well as Rode Connect and Rode Central software onto the laptop. We hooked the mic into the laptop, and are using OBS Studio to record. I successfully recorded some short video/audio samples, but the sound is extremely low on these files. If we turn the sound up higher on these files, there is a lot of extraneous  loud hum.

I'm hoping we're just amateurs and someone will have a really simple solution here for us on how to make this mic work properly in OBS. Or maybe we need different software? Or something else?

We contacted the retailer we purchased the mic from, and they have opened a ticket with Rode for us, but I wondered if anyone here would have the answers we seek. The customer care representative suggested we could have a defective mic? That seemed unlikely to me, but perhaps.

I don't want to have to record my audio and video separately and then have to edit them together. If I can't do that with this mic, I will probably send it back and get something else. If that happens, I could use suggestions on mic options that can do what I'm looking for.

This was long. If you've reached the end, I appreciate you taking the time, and for giving any help and suggestions. Thanks!
I know the problem, and the answer, as I've experienced it. Your condenser
microphone requires what's known as phantom power to operate. Nominally, it's 48v, at a low current. Not delving into the technical details, your microphone can be successfully powered with a USB connection (at 5v), but not all devices will supply the necessary power. My Samsung tablet and my Motorola phone won't, as they sense the current draw and turn off the 5v at the USB port. My Lenovo tablet, however, does not limit the power at the USB port. Try it with all your devices, and maybe you'll get lucky. Alternatively, you can buy an audio interface that has phantom power for an XLR microphone, with usb output for your computing device.
 
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