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It gets frustrating when you finally find a track that you want in your podcast and then find out that track has some type of copyright. Even in my rant about Royalty Free Music we find that even though the album says it, music isn’t always royalty free.
YouTube wants to help us with this problem. They just released 150 tracks that are completely free to use for your podcasts, YouTube videos, movie productions, screencasts and many more projects. Within these 150 tracks include Rock, Jazz, Pop, Electronic, Hip-hop, Country and more.
Best part – they download at 320 kbps MP3 files.
It’s part of YouTube’s new Creation Tools area. Right now its filled with music tracks, but I wouldn’t be surprised if video, photos and even after effects and animations might grace this area. This will help filmmakers create better projects that will hopefully end up on YouTube.
From YouTube’s TOS:
Your use of this music library (including the music files in this library) is subject to the YouTube Terms of Service. Music from this library is intended solely for use by you in videos and other content that you create.
By downloading music from this library, you agree that you will not:
Make available, distribute or perform the music files from this library separately from videos and other content into which you have incorporated these music files (but not for standalone distribution).
Use music files from this library in an illegal manner or in connection with any illegal content.
Who Cannot Use These YouTube Tracks
If you are planning a major motion picture, you will have to get permission to use any of these tracks. If you are creating videos for “Big Jim’s Blackmarket Gun Imporium”, you won’t be able to use these tracks. You cannot also put it in any CD compilation you make of your short films or podcasts.
Why add Music to Your Podcast?
Music can add mood to your show – give it a bright undertone to whatever you are talking about. The added sounds can knock out any imperfections that podcasters might hear in audio alone. Even more – you might find people watching or listening to your show longer.
Why? Because people don’t have an “exit door” in dead-air. When I used to work as a DJ, we were always told not to have dead air. If a dance floor is hopping, dead air gives them an excuse to go to the bar or head to the next bar.
Same thing with podcasts. A dead air spot could give someone an excuse to move on or stop the video.
So check out the list of songs in the library. I personally have already downloaded 4-5 tracks. I also have the ability to submit a track to be added to YouTube.
I have equipment that helps with audio and video when I record the podcast. Some times I look at that video or audio and realize it’s not looking as great as I wanted it to. For instance, I just recorded an episode of iPad365, and the video was not level.
That is when you have to use your eyes and ears to make those ever slight changes to your video and audio. These changes will give final depth and feel to what you are getting across.
Making these changes are also a reason why I like using a video and audio editor. In some cases I can set things and forget them. They need to be done anyway, so having the process in place saves me time.
Audio Compressor, Gate, EQ on your Program
I have recorded some shows where I seem to be grasping for air – or something. I am a heavier breather, that is why I want to control my sound better. The best thing is to capture your sound, then fix it. If you compress or gate a microphone too much, you might not be able to fix that in post production.
WARNING: I just pointed you to two download sites. These pages have a lot of “DOWNLOAD” buttons for other 3rd party software. Please look over the pages carefully and choose the download that will get you the right software you are looking for.
I use both of these VST files in the track, and in the master mix. They bring down peaks and push up quieter sections for a smoother audio file.
I also use a gate and EQ on my mixer in both the track and the master mix. Once you have adjusted a room, you can save those settings to use for future videos. Keep in mind, you might have to make small adjustments for each video you record.
Color Correction, White balance, Zooming
For most of my shows in-studio. I use only one camera. I let the software help me do some zooming in post-production.
Here’s a Tip: When you start your video, try to zoom in on a face. When you end a video, try to zoom out. When you zoom in, you are inviting people to watch you. When you zoom out, you are saying “so long for now”.
Watch any TV news show and you will see this happen. Some will actually show an overhead shot of the studio,ultimately zooming in on the host.
Comedy Central’s Daily Show with Jon Stewart is a great example. They will zoom in on every new segment, then zoom out when it’s done.
Another thing I do is post-color correction and focus. I use the “Sharpen” vst to define lines a little more. You never know what will happen with the camera, and sometimes – even though I spend 10 minutes focusing in and out – the setting doesn’t work right.
Even in Wirecast (for Mac), I use the correction options to even out the video. For that show, I actually do use 2 cameras, so I want them to look as similar as possible. When you start putting lower 3rds and side graphics on your video, that is when you notice how good or bad your video is.
Can I over-do a video with editing?
Yes. That is why I suggest you have a 2-monitor system. Look at the video from your preview windows, then turn on the 2nd display preview to get a larger view.
For the first couple videos, I would suggest copying the file to another computer or try to play it on the big screen (if you have a Mac and Apple TV, then you can use AirPlay to send the video). Remember – a TV is not a computer screen. Your video can look different when switching to the TV screen.
Technically, this is all called “Mastering”. If you were to get a CD made of your band’s music, they would master it before sending out. Same thing with video.
The idea is to make you look and sound as best as possible. If you are going all over the map, people might just get annoyed and stop watching your show.
Once you get the initial items dialed in, it gets easier. You still have to adjust now-and-then. In the end, people might just watch your show more if it looks visually appealing and the audio is crisp.
I will personally go in-depth to topics like this in a future Master class. Subscribe to the newsletter to find out how to be part of the class.
Remember that scene from Batman (the Michael Keaton version) where the news reporters couldn’t wear makeup because the Joker poisoned certain perfumes and soaps? Boy, those newscasters looked pretty ratty.
Now, flash forward to 2012, where news is being reported without the use of makeup at all. It’s called Video Podcasting, and we’re doing it au natural on the web. But should we be thinking about looking pretty for the web community?
Whenever I prepare for a show, I usually do one thing to clean up for the show: I take a shower. It’s not as much the clean factor, but a lot of studies indicate when you wash, you relax a little as your stress level goes down. I feel it works, because I feel invigorated and ready to do a podcast.
I also have a skin condition called “Vitiligo” (pronounced Vit-tel-leg-o). Basically, it’s the loss of pigment in the skin. In the last 2-3 years, I have lost a lot of pigment, and my hands and face can look weird. It definitely affects my performance, because I probably see it more than most people. Yet, I get through it as best I can.
So Should We Wear Makeup?
So when it comes to doing a video podcast, should we wear makeup? I say, whatever makes you feel comfortable.
If I was female, I probably would spend more time looking better for the camera. As a guy, there seems to be certain things I don’t realize. Did you know that putting on eyeliner can enhance your eyes, which is the one thing people will react to in a video?
Sincerity starts at the eyes. Maybe a little eye-liner will help. Not anything that will make you look like Captain Jack Sparrow, but something a little darker than your skin color to enhance.
Cleaning AND Moisturizing can Help
If you are a guy and want to do some simple things to make you look more youthful, then try just cleaning and moisturizing. Wash thoroughly with a non-drying soap, then use a moisturizer to relax the face. The more moisture you have in your skin, the less you might need makeup.
On that same aspect, eating fruit and vegetables more can help keep your skin healthy.
Wearing Makeup – Getting a Facial Profile
Here’s a Tip: Head down to the mall, then go to the makeup counter. For some guys it may be a little embarrassing to do, but talk to the counter salesperson about what makeup will help your face. Explain that it is an on-camera roll. They might have some great insight about what to wear in your conditions.
Lighting for Skin Tone
You can spend some cash on getting LED lights to bring a natural light and help blend tones. One of my favorite shows to watch is Film Riot on Revision3, which goes over many visual effects, along with lighting suggestions. I linked to an episode talking about lighting a shot. Plus, Ryan Connolly is a funny man.
Don’t Feel like a Clown, Unless Your Podcast is ABOUT Being a Clown
The bottom line is, wear it if you feel more comfortable in it. If you are wearing it simply because you think you need to hide a pimple or your true skin tone, then you might want to re-think your strategy.
By smoothing out your skin tone, you can really make an impression on the camera, instead of someone saying “What’s that on his/her face?” Personally, I choose not to do it. But if I was ever on Letterman or Jimmy Fallon, I would definitely let them paint my face.
If you do video podcasting, you may find recording, then post-producing content can be a lot of work. However, if you have software that allows you to produce as you go, then you simply record the show and send off. No post production needed – your graphics are already inserted.
So how do you do that? With a program like Telestream’s Wirecast. This is a program that will turn your PC or Mac into a TV production studio. Wirecast sets up scenes using a choice of cameras (webcams and video cameras using 3rd party hardware), graphics and audio. You can set up a camera angle, place a lower 3rd on the scene, add audio, or even add effects like white balance and color correction (Mac version). You can even choose transitions to fade, or flip in-between scenes.
The layer system of Wirecast allows you to either create multiple workspaces for different shows, or layer your main show – Layer 1 could be graphics, 2 might be lower 3rds, layer 3 would have camera angles, and so on.
You can choose to record the video, or send the stream to a 3rd party service like uStream or Livestream. You can encode in Flash, Quicktime and Windows Media.
Some podcasters don’t want to carry microphones with them. When they get the chance, they will use a Shotgun mic with their camcorder and camera. The microphone is directional – it is designed to get audio from whatever is in front of the mic and ignore what is behind it.
Røde is a Ultra compact and lightweight shotgun mic that a lot of professionals like to use for voice recording. It has a Supercardiod polar pattern, a 2 step high pass filter, and a 3-position lever control.
You can place the Røde VideoMic on top of the camera, or on a boom stand, to place overhead the speakers for better sound. It is great to use in rooms with someone speaking, especially next to a speaker system for it catches only what goes through the speaker’s voice.
The 3-way level control allows you to compress the surrounding sound if in a noisy room. The 2 step high pass filter kills low frequency hum. Add a DeadCat Wind Muff to further reduce room noise.
The Røde VideoMic does run on a 9V battery , but can operate for 70 hours before changing.
The key to good video is the voice recording. If your audio is hard to hear, people will move on. When you record the voice perfectly, people will tend to watch or listen a little longer.