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Video Production Tips and Tricks: General Best Practices

Even if your a cappella group can’t come together in person, you don’t have to let that stop you from making music! The Cut Off Studios visual production department is here to provide you with everything you need to create professional video projects from the comfort of your own home.


In this article you will find general tips on how to record the best audio and video when working on an a cappella project. These suggestions are part of a multi-part series on video production best practices, which can be found on our blog. Whether you’re working with the Studio or creating an a cappella video on your own, we recommend following these guidelines for the best possible results.


Think about what kind of video you would like to make.

At Cut Off Studios, we refer to our video projects as “box videos” as a general term, but it’s up to you to decide what exactly you want your project to look like. What look and feel are you trying to achieve? Is there a certain aesthetic your group is going for? Think of box videos as cuisine, and you are in charge of deciding what kind you want -- Italian, or maybe Chinese food? Each video is going to have its own distinct flavor.


In our pre-production process, Studio clinicians can help your group with storyboarding, planning, and other directorial duties to make sure everyone is on the same page about what you want your finished product to look like.


Record your video separately from your audio.

Ideally, you would record your video while the final cut of your audio plays along to make sure the visuals line up with the audio that will be played over it. If you finalize your audio first and add it to the video later, you won’t have to worry about what you sound like as you record and can focus on how you’re expressing yourself visually.


That being said, do not lip sync while you are recording your video! It looks much more realistic if you’re actually singing your part as you record, and then add the finished audio later. Trust us, it will make all the difference in the finished product!


Plant your recording device, and record your video in landscape mode.

No matter what you are using to record, it’s important make sure your device is stabilized. Don’t hold your device while you’re recording unless that’s the specific look you were hoping to achieve in your video!


Record in front of a blank background.

When we say blank, we mean no items or features in the background that can create lines or be distracting. The color of your background is up to you, but try to make sure it’s clear of doorways, furniture, arches, etc.


If you make a mistake, don’t get discouraged! Just try again.

You have all the freedom to do as many takes as you want. Less mistakes in your video gives the editors more footage options to use in the final product, so take your time and keep going until you have something you’re confident in. It can be overwhelming to record a video by yourself, especially if you’re doing it all in one take, so tell yourself, “I got this!” and dive right in.


If a Studio editor suggests that you re-record your video during the editing process, try your best to shoot it again according to their suggestions. Sometimes things just don’t work out as planned and we need to go back to the drawing board -- it happens! We will work with you to give alternatives ideas and direction if something about your video isn’t quite working out. We promise it’s all in the name of giving you the best results possible!


A cappella when we’re apart is hard, but making a video is a great way to stay connected with your group, keep morale high, and have fun together!

Virtual video production might not be what you had envisioned for your a cappella group, but it’s a great way to create something amazing together. We hope these tips are helpful to any group considering making a video, and the Studio is always available if you want to take the next step with us. Contact us for information on private classes, individual consultation, and production services.


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