How To Record Worship Sets At Home

A Simple Guide to Good Audio and Video

With the current pandemic and social distancing in place it’s becoming increasingly difficult to livestream worship and create a full band experience. Worship Artistry has tried a number of different approaches and learned a lot from each new attempt. Our lead guitar instructor, Jason Houtsma, has recorded 3 song worship sets at home to show us some of his lessons learned along the way.  

Basic Recording Process

Even if you’re not an audio expert, you can try things out to make recording worship from home sound better than ever. Audio in these videos audio is captured with mics through a Focusrite 2i2 into Apple Logic Pro and camera’s built-in mic. Once you’re happy with the Logic audio, export an mp3 and sync that with the camera in Final Cut Pro. Once you check the sync, mute the camera audio, make your edits, and then export. Watch Jason’s sample song from each set to see and hear the results, then read through his helpful comments on the setup for each take.

Take 1

Camera: Built in iMac camera.

Audio: Shure SM7b on vocal and MXL 993 on guitar

The effects used were subtle. I had a light compressor, a short slap back delay, a 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 the video were a little better. That brings us to take 2.

Take 2

Camera: Ipad Air 3

Audio: Shure SM7b on vocal and MXL 993 on guitar

For this recording session I kept all the audio the same but moved some stuff around in my office so I could sit in front of a clean wall. I pulled a lamp over to my desk to create better light for the video. Overall, it was a visual improvement, but it felt a little too polished and plain. Now that we are getting used to seeing everyone in their homes, I thought something a little more intimate might be a better choice. On to take 3!

Take 3

Camera: Ipad Air 3

Audio: Single MXL V67 Condenser mic 

This one was my favorite. I wanted something a little simpler and less formal. I’ve been watching a few of my favorite artists on Instagram (like Tallest Man On Earth and Death Cab For Cutie) use a bunch of reverb on their music recently 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. This kept changing the lighting for the whole video which was fun too.

 

There's No Right Way to Record Worship at Home

Ultimately there’s no “right way” to do this, and we are still all learning the best ways to record worship at home that sounds, looks, and feels right. Jason has given us some great ideas on audio and video recording, and we would love to hear what you are doing to lead your people virtually! If you’ve got some video, tag @worshipartistry on Facebook ,  use #worshipartistry on Instagram,  or share it with us at support@worshipartistry.com.

 

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