Use the equipment you have at hand. You don’t need fancy, $1k equipment to record a good audition video! Often, your smartphone, tablet, or computer will do the job just fine.
If you’ve never recorded video with your smartphone, tablet, or computer before, simply search Google for instructions:
Search: “How to record video [device model or name]”
Ex: “How to record video iPhone” or “How to record video iPhone 11”
“How to record video Android”
“How to record video Samsung Galaxy”
“How to record video Dell laptop”
“How to record video Apple Macbook Pro”
Most devices these days have the capability to record video, but they often differ in slight ways, so it is best to look up directions for the device/equipment you have.
This is surprising to some, but the cameras on smart phones and tablets are often better quality than those built-into computers. You will likely need to transfer your video to a computer before you can upload it, however. Look up instructions specific to your equipment to do this.
If you have a separate camera, video camera, or microphone, you may be able to use these to record audio and/or video, but you will need a way to transfer the audio/video file(s) to your computer once complete. Use Google or another search engine to look for instructions specific to your equipment.
You may also be able to connect your equipment to your computer to record directly onto your computer’s hard drive. Again, use Google or another search engine to find instructions specific to your equipment.
- Framing: While we typically recommend recording in a horizontal or landscape orientation, either horizontal/landscape or vertical/portrait will work for your audition video.
- Framing: Make sure we can clearly see you from at least the torso up. Be careful not to cut your arms out of the frame, especially if they are involved in your playing or singing, such as with a violin.
- Framing: Try to place the camera at approximately mid-torso height so that it does not appear to be looking either up or down at you.
- Lighting: Place light sources in front of you and behind the camera. Avoid sources of light behind you.
- Sound: Make sure that microphones are not covered or pressed against another surface or material (this can be a particular challenge with microphones built into phones, tablets, and computers).
- Sound: Make sure your device is close enough to you to record sound at an acceptable level; 3-6 ft should generally suffice. If your device records audio in stereo, be sure that it is directed at the middle of the space where you will be performing.
- Staging: Do your best to keep the area around and behind you clear of clutter, particularly any space that will be captured on camera. Items in the background can distract from the performance, which is something you want to avoid.
- Staging: If you are using a music stand or are reading music off of a device of some sort, do your best to keep it off to the side. It should be out of the direct line of sight of you and the camera, not in front of you. The directors want to see YOU!
Test your equipment and your setup!
Before you start your full performance for your audition video, be sure to test your equipment and your setup. You don’t want to record your whole performance only to discover that your head isn’t in the frame, or that the microphone wasn’t picking up your playing or singing, or that there is a pile of dirty laundry visible on the floor right next to you!
Plan to record 30-60 seconds as a test, and then watch and listen to it. Make note of anything that distracts from you and attempt to mitigate that. If the audio or video isn’t working properly, troubleshoot with Google and other resources. Do the same if you are dissatisfied with the quality of the audio and/or video (though the user’s ability to address these matters simply is often very limited; this is usually a more complicated issue).
Remember, however, that we don’t expect a studio quality recording. The Performance Program Directors just want to get an accurate sense of how you play or sing, and they want to get to know you THROUGH your performance.
Record your performance!
In most cases, your audition video needs to be recorded in one take. This can feel nerve-wracking, but remember—it's no different than performing an audition live!
Before you start playing, make sure everything is set so that you don't have to worry about it. Then, take a deep breath and play/sing. If you have a slip, just take a breath and start playing where you left off.
Transfer to your computer and review the footage
Once you are done recording, you will want to review it. While we encourage you to perform your audition just once, as if you are doing it live, we understand that sometimes things happen that necessitate another take. Remember though—we aren’t looking for a pristine recording! We just want to get to know you and your playing.
You may want to transfer the files to a computer before reviewing them as the playback quality may be better and may more closely approximate what the Performance Program Directors will see/hear.
Upload your video
Video files tend to be quite large. The maximum file size for your audition video is 100 MB (acceptable file types are mp4, mov, wmv, flv, afi), but it is possible that your audition video in its raw format will be larger than that. If you need to reduce the size of your video, you can often find tutorials on Google by searching “compress video file [device/device name].”
Typically, the easiest solution is to import or open your video in the built-in video editing software on your computer, and then to export it as a new, smaller file. If you see settings for creating a video for YouTube, the web, or email, these will likely produce a small enough file that you can upload it to your audition form.
VOILA! (not viola)
That is a very basic explainer on how to record your audition video. Every scenario and every piece of equipment is different, but remember: 1) Google is your friend, 2) Test, and 3) Be patient. Keep an open mind, and focus on showing who you are through your performance.