How to Record a Video While Playing over a Backing Track

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There is no doubt that YouTube has become the place for online video viewing. There are over 20 hours of videos uploaded every single minute on this video sharing site, and there is no sign of decline. So how do you stand out from all the other videos out there? Well, if you’re uploading videos of you playing over backing tracks, then having really good audio is one way to do this.

So many people just play the backing track and then record their guitar with the microphone on their camcorder picking up both the guitar and the backing track at the same time. This is not the best way to get the sound. Usually the camera mic is very bad and will pick up a lot of room sound which will give you a very bassy, unfocused sound. You will then be left a great video, but less than stellar audio. I would say about 80% of the YouTube videos I see are like this.

If you want to get more views, comments, and likes, one thing you can do is to concentrate on making the audio sound great. It is not really that hard, but will take some extra time. You’ve spent all this time practicing and learning how to play the guitar, why not learn how to make your video sound great as well as look good.

In the video below I will show you exactly how to get good audio with your video.

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Hopefully that will convince you to start paying more attention to the audio when recording videos. A few items will be needed for you to achieve better audio.

What You Will Need

  • Audio Recording Software – If you’re on a Mac then use Garageband. If you’re on Windows, then Studio One works great, but you can use anything really.
  • Audio Interface – There are many to choose from, and in this Blog Post Tutorial I explain how to record over a backing track using the Presonus iTwo.
  • Video Editing Software – If you’re on a Mac, then you can use iMovie. If you’re on a PC then I recommend using Davinci Resolve. Here’s where you can check it out. Davinci Resolve
  • Video Camera – These days a simple smartphone can record HD Video. If you are looking to step it up a bit, check out any Canon, Panasonic or Sony dslr.

There will be a slight learning curve, but the difference in sound from your videos will be dramatically better if you do this.
Have a question or an opinion? Leave a comment below.

25 thoughts on “How to Record a Video While Playing over a Backing Track”

  1. This was very helpful. The video quality is very good what camera did you use?

    Thanks,

    Ray

  2. Hi John,

    Just ran across your web site. Great work your are doing man!. After watching your tutorial I wonder: Since you’re miking your cab in the same room you have your PC, how come your cab mike doesn’t pick up any sound from your computer speakers when you play and record your guitar/AMP over backing track ? Is it because your cab microphone has a pickup pattern that provides good isolation from surrounding noise ? or is there something I’m missing ?

    Regards!
    Richie

    • Thanks. The cabinet mic does pic up a little but the guitar amp is in an isolation box. Mic is cardiod.

  3. Hi John,

    Great tutorial, very helpful. Could you please give more info about video recording? For example, how did you set the lights and got that black background? I have cannon eos camera that can shoot HD movies, but my videos don’t look that professional because of bad lights and background scene which is my room full of stuff.

    Thanks,
    Stefan

  4. Awesome tutorial man.. Always wanted to record stuff over video for social network sites or whatever.. friends are always asking to check out my new material, but didn’t wanna post crap sounding videos through a cam.. I have a little recording experience and a basic setup, but had no clue on how to export to a video edit program, cut out camera sound, and mix it correctly.. You’re going to help out a lot of novice guys such as myself.. I’m a well experienced player, but i’m still a noob when it comes to the recording/editing/etc of the audio/video.. thanks a lot man!! good stuff ;) keep on jammin’ brother! I do have a zoom Q3 which records surprisingly well audio, but lacks in video quality.. however, they do make an HD one, but you’re still better off doing things you’re way! you rock

  5. Hey, I am trying to use my amp (lead from bass to amp then amp to computer) but I cant get it to show up on audacity to actually record, any tips to sort this out?

  6. Thanks, interesting and helpful!
    One question:
    When the video says the sound is “Mixed” (pro tools + camcorder audio), why would you not delete the camcorder audio entirely for your final video version leaving just the protools audio, or is that not possible? Is there an audio benefit from it being ‘mixed’?

    • I did delete the camcorder audio. The sound is mixed by blending the guitar with the track and applying some eq and compression if needed. Thanks.

  7. Any tips for recording a bass. Everything I’ve tried so far is just so quite going into the audio mix i have to up the volume of it to a point it just sounds terrible. I havnt tried compressing it yet, tomorrow most likely. Any ideas like mix the backtrack down the the bass level then bring it up possibly? Im just trying to prevent going out a buying a multi-track recorder. Thanks

    • DI the bass with a decent instrument first. I have a Classic Vibe Jazz Bass with Fralin pickps that sound great. Next, I use the Ampeg SVX plugin which sounds awesome. Then you need to EQ the bass to fit the mix. Try a High Pass filter at 60hz. Cut 8db at 275 and boost 2db at 1.5hz. Just lower the volume of the track to fit the bass, then boost the gain on the master by using a brickwall limiter. I use Slate FG-X. Hope that helps.

  8. I am an alternative genre amateur banjo player who thanks to a near death experience, I am hell-bent on improving my talent, day by day. For over a year I used YouTube Backing tracks, Karaoke etc. I am poor, and just got a Logitech C110 webcam, better than my last (1 to 5 fps and had a weird video color). My issue is thorny. My older system allowed me to record 128kbps mp3 along with the video. One track recorded YouTube Backing, and my banjo-mic, and vocal microphone along with the backing track which I used headphones to hear. In short I am looking for an easier way to cut a single video track with great audio quality. I had problems in the past trying to sync video and audio tracks, as they went out of sync. Please help.. Advise? Thanks. — Terry

  9. Is it impossible to use built-in camera in Mac while using garageband? Is it why we need an external camera?

  10. Hi I’m interested in making videos playing my bass with a backing track but since I’m just learning bass I want to record a video without a lot expensive equipment but get a good quality video what can I do to get this? Thanks

  11. Hi…

    I have one question regarding recording video with sound. I have a decent quality outboard mixer with a preamp built in and a shure beta microfon and I connected the karaoke songs from computer to the mixer (stereo bus) for backing my singging and a mic on one of the empthy mixer chanels.

    The quality of the audio is superb ( I can adjust eq etc, mix properly), but how can I now record all of this in High quality audio and video back to the computer so I can create a youtube video with a good quality sound?

    Can you please advice me if it’s the right way that I play the backing song on another laptop computer contect this to the mixer with a mic, than connect the output of the mixer in to the main computer soundcard and uala..

    So I think I need only a computer camera, addicional computer (couse you can’t play and record at the same time) and a good computer soundcard that could process the sound in hi quality and than record everthing in some video software program..

    Thank you for you answer.. bojan

  12. Hi John, Trying to get the stuff to record myself. I will need mp4 to import videos where do I get that? Thanks Tommt

    • Mp4 is not something you can just get. You may need to download Quicktime which contains mp4 codecs.

  13. this is still to hard for me to understand :( I really don’t know anything about computers stuff or you need or how much will it cost :( I am a really good guitar player and I would like to make guitar Videos so my friends could see me on YouTube . . . Could you make a easyer and simpler tutorial and plz don’t use so many big words

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