How To Record Worship Sets At Home

A Simple Guide

With the stay at home order in place it’s becoming increasingly difficult to live stream worship and create a full band experience. Personally, I’ve gone to recording 3 song worship sets at home and have tried a number of different approaches and learned a lot from each. I am by no means an audio expert, but here's what I've learned along the way.

Basic Recording Process

Audio is captured with mics through a Focusrite 2i2 into Apple Logic Pro and camera’s built in mic. Once I’m happy with the Logic audio, I export an mp3 and sync that with the camera in Final Cut Pro. Once I check the sync, I mute the camera audio, make my edits and then export. I've included a sample song from each set so you can see and hear the results.

Take 1

Camera: Built in iMac camera.

Audio: Shure SM7b on vocal and MXL 993 on guitar

Effects were subtle. I had a light compressor, short slap back delay, light room reverb and a long trailing reverb on the vocal. Acoustic had the same room reverb and a REALLY light chorus just to round out the rough edges. Even though the effects are light, it’s worth it to move all your speaking parts to a dry channel. I was really happy with the audio but heard from a few folks that it would be nice if I’d make the video a little better. Cool. On to take 2.

Take 2

Camera: Ipad Air 3

Audio: Shure SM7b on vocal and MXL 993 on guitar

I kept all the audio the same and moved some stuff around in my office so I could sit in front of a clean wall. Pulled a lamp over to my desk to light a little better. Overall, it's a visual improvement, but I felt like it was a little too polished and plain. We are getting used to seeing everyone in their homes so something a little more intimate might be a better choice.

Take 3

Camera: Ipad Air 3

Audio: Single MXL V67 Condenser mic 

I think this one was my favorite. I was trying to think of something a little simpler and less formal.  I’ve been watching a few of my favorite artists on instagram just throw a bunch of reverb on stuff and it reminded me of when I would show up to church early and sing in the empty meeting hall to warm up. I kept the same eq settings as I had on my guitar channel, used a single condenser and just added a long plate reverb on the whole thing. Sitting in the sun is better visually and it feels better. It kept changing the lighting for the whole video which was fun too.

Conclusion

Ultimately there’s no “right way” to do this. I just wanted to throw out some ideas for you. I’d love to see what you are doing to lead your people right now. If you’ve got some video, hashtag #worshipartistry on instagram or share it to us on Facebook.

Jason Houtsma serves as Worship Pastor for Mosaic Church in Bellingham, WA, Husband to Alli, Father to Bjorn and Asher, and guitar instructor for WorshipArtistry.com

How To Record Worship Sets At Home

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Comments

Bringing in other recordings?

Jason,

Thanks for the timely post!

My church is looking for individual worship team members to record their own parts at home and then splicing them all together. I am not sure if we would just have the worship leader's video as the only video and mix in the audio from the other member's recordings or if we would do some sort of multi-cam setup or flip between video feeds to show other members playing the same song (mixing in audio and video from the separate recordings).

How would you do this?

We do something similar for all our "play along" mixes.

Everyone records to a metronome and then it's edited together in Final Cut. Anyone with a little bit of video editing knowledge can figure it out. Great opportunity to incorporate someone in your congregation.

Thanks!

Thanks Jason!

Mixing

Hey Josh! Thank you so much for this!
I am struggling to figure out getting a clean mix on my vocal that's not to echo-y that doesn't make the big vocals sound pinched. Do you mind sharing a snapshot of your logic pro mixer you used in take 1? I'm wondering about channel set up, what channels on which to put the slap back, room reverb, chorus etc. You sound so great!! Thank you for Worship Artistry!
Maria