Multi-track recording is a common technique where we record into more than one track at the same time. We can do this by using 2 microphones or 4 microphones. Multi-track recording is a great technique for recording performances, compositions and small miscellaneous films as it ensures that we cover and record in most dynamic ranges. Multi-track recording also means that the multiple recordings guarantees us backup in case one recording gets interrupted.

Different microphones are used to record sounds at different dynamic ranges. For example, we would use a dynamic microphone to records sounds up close and a condenser microphone to records sounds which have more to take in. A dynamic microphone would be ideal for performers such as beatboxers and singers because they perform quite close to the microphone and A condenser microphone would be ideal for larger ensembles.

A condenser microphone                                        A dynamic microphone

When filming, it is good to have two cameras; one pointing at one angle and the other pointing at another angle, possibly a close-up shot. This makes it easier when video editing because you can decided on which angle you want to show. Once the microphones are all set up and connected and are recording into a DAW like Garageband and once the Cameras are ready, we click and record, make sure that everyone is “rolling” and someone does a loud clap. The loud clap will make it visually easier to align all the files once they have been recorded. When editing the footage, widely used softwares include Screenflow, iMovie, Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premier. In Linear video editing, it is always helpful to note that whatever you see on top is what is on the screen. From there, all you need to do is align, cut, and choose the preferred angles and shots from the different camera footages. With the softwares, you can also experiment by  choosing many effects just as fade in and fade out.

screenflow

Not all schools have great fantastic gear as they are not cheap, but this type of recording can be done on a budget. You could film on an iPhone camera and still produce good results. However, it is more important to invest in good microphones. Overall, learning how to film and multi-track record is a useful tool for music educators and students as it equips them with the skills to document their performance and creations, not to mention that it might even be a necessary skill when it comes to recording musical performances for their HSC and various auditions.

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