Multi-Track Videos

For my first post on my site, I was inspired by my fiancé to write about the process it took to create a multi-track video.  I just recently made my first multi-track video, so I’m pretty inexperienced.  However, this might save you some of the frustrations I had when I made my first video.

What You’ll Need:

  • Video Camera
  • Microphone
  • Sound Editing Software (Audacity or something like it)
  • Video Editing Software that supports split-screen

Step One: Recording/Mixing the Audio

First, you’ll want to get your audio recorded and mixed. For me, I recorded the audio and video separately and matched them up later. This was easier for me, so that’s how I’ll go into these instructions.

I used Audacity for my sound editing software. It’s free, super user friendly, and does just enough for what I needed it to do. I started with a click-track or metronome to keep my tempos steady. Record your first track while listening to the click-track on headphones. Then, you record the following tracks while listening to the click-track AND any and all previous tracks you’ve recorded. When you’re finished recording your tracks, you can remove the click-track and begin mixing the audio.

I kept my sound mixing to the bare minimum.  All I did was adjust the gain of each overall track to make sure I could hear all the different parts at the level I wanted to. After mixing the audio, export the file as an MP3 file.  This is the audio to your multi-track video!

Step Two: Recording the Video

Because I recorded my audio separately, this step was pretty straight-forward. I set up my camera and recorded video for each separate audio track/part. While recording the video, I had my headphones in playing the click-track to make sure I kept my tempos steady. At the beginning of each video, I counted an entire measure out loud and then counted an entire measure silently before playing the part.  This becomes important in the video editing process allowing each video to be synced with one another. Now that you have your video recorded, we can move to editing the video.

Step Three: Editing the Video

Editing the video was the hardest part for me because it was what I had the least experience with. It is incredibly important to make sure that your video editing software supports split-screen video before starting this process! I didn’t check ahead of time, and I was rather frustrated to find out that Windows Movie Maker does not have a split-screen feature. I ended up using Pinnacle Studio Ultimate because that was a video software that my parents had at their house. Other common video editing software like iMovie has started to catch on and support split-screen features. Anyway, find a split-screen template that your like.

Once you have set up the split-screen template, you can assign videos to each separate screen. You’ll need to trim each video to make sure they line up. This is where the counting you recorded in your video comes in handy.  If you trim the beginning of each video to start the beat after the measure you count out loud, the videos should all start together! After trimming the beginning, trim the ends of the videos to match. With the video edited, you move on to combining the recorded audio with the video.

Step Four: Combining the Video and Audio

For this step, you’ll need to deactive the audio on all but one of your videos, preferably the video that has the main melody at the very beginning of your track. Because all of your video is lined up, you’ll only need to match the audio track to the audio of one of the videos.

Import your audio track into your video editing software and begin to line up the audio track with the video’s audio. If your editing software has a visual component to each audio track, you can match the visual components. In order for the audio track to match the video, try and make the start points as close to lined up as possible. Some editing programs let you zoom in to fractions of seconds on the timeline and you can adjust it in minimal amounts.

To see if the audio and video match up, play the videos with the audio for the main video and the audio track.  If the two match up from an auditory perspective, they should match up from a visual perspective!

Deactive the audio for the last video track, and now your video and audio should be matched up!

Step Five: Finishing the Video

In this step, I made my video look “pretty.” I added a title at the very beginning of my video, and I had the video fade to black at the very end. Some people take a lot of time on this step, but I am still learning video editing!

Once you have your video to your liking, you can export the video to your preferred file format!

I hope you found this somewhat informative! If you want to try making a multi-track video, I’d like to think that this process could be beneficial to you.

Thanks for reading this post! If you want to check out my multi-track video, you can find it below!

— M. Fox