Split-screen singing

The other week I posted a video of my friend Sally, and I, playing “Lean on me“, recorded separately, then mixed together and shown as a split screen, synchronised recording.

On this occasion we needed help from Sally’s friend, but I have since learnt how to do this myself and it occurred to me that this might be my most significant new ‘lockdown skill’. There is very little chance I would’ve invested the time working out to do this had we not been propelled in to home working and had I not taken on the role of the University Facebook group ‘Live Lounge’ curator – where I encourage people to perform live or post videos of their music.

Here is a video of a further two duets performed with Lisa and Sally:

I have really enjoyed creating these duets and in the process have discovered fellow musicians who want to perform. None of us are professionals, but it doesn’t matter, we’re doing something we enjoy and our colleagues and friends who are watching are being very generous with their support and feedback.

For anyone interested in the technical process, this is what I’ve been doing (I’m doing this partly to be helpful, and partly as something for me to refer to for when I inevitably forget how I did it!):

  1. Find a friend who wants to do this with you
  2. Choose a song and carefully decide who will sing and play what. Then learn your respective parts.
  3. Whoever starts the song ought to do the first recording – on your phone is fine.
  4. Send it to your friend
  5. They then need to video record themselves playing along to you, whilst listening to you through earphones. This will require two devices – one to connect your earphones to and another to record.
  6. They send their video recording back to you and you then have two separately recorded parts of the same song which you need to then synchronise.
  7. This isn’t easy, but the way I have done it is time one recording up until a point that you know you both should be playing exactly together, or singing together. Make a note of how how many seconds in that is. I’ve been using an app called Videoshop for this part of the process.
  8. Then revert to the other recording and again time up to that same point. You’ll then know what the time-lag is on the respective videos and you need to edit that down from which ever is the longer lead-in time.
  9. You will need to do this down to the closest 100th of a second as you can, otherwise they won’t quite sync.
  10. Using iMovie (I’m sure there others out there), select one video recording, create movie, select the other one and choose split screen, and you’re pretty much there.

I am *not* an expert, but I’ve used this method to create these amateur recordings that I’m pretty happy with.

So there you go. I’ve become a music video hobbyist. Who’d have thought?!


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