Cajon Drum Video Production Outline
Best advice: There are a lots of struggling audio engineers and videographers out there, hire some, do what they say. But be firm: you want the sound to be clean of effects with minimal or no EQ and compression. And you want the raw files as recorded as well as the final product. Or you could approach a wedding photographer/videographer and tell them you need a 50 second video with two instrument mics and no vocals. You might get a mid-week deal that would still be a lot better than you could do yourself. Regardless of who you hire if you are vague about what you want they will have visions of 'music video' and see streams of flowing cash. "50 seconds, 2 mics", will bring them down to earth, hopefully.
If you are going to do it yourself here's an outline to get you started on cajon demo videos:
1. Location: Quiet, big room with minimum reverb (not all cement!); lots of natural light or good lighting; beware of outside locations, they are usually noisy and the mics pick up low level sound.
2. Player: professional or very good cajon player who knows how to smile, neat and clean. Avoid adding other instruments to the demo, they greatly complicate the recording process and distract from the sound of the cajon. Agree on what they will play before the video guy shows up.
3. Microphone for vocals: a lavaliere mic gives pretty good vocals and is simple to use and setup, OR a cardioid above the player pointed at their mouth; minimize chit-chat, the primary reason folks are watching the video is to hear the cajon being played. Most commercial cajon manufacturers have zero vocals in their cajon demo videos.
4. Microphones on the cajon: Most cheap external microphones are about 100x better than a camera's built in mic, a $2000 mic is maybe 110x better. Don't sweat it. a) one cardioid (SM57) or super-cardioid mic on tapa, mid to near the top, 70 cm out or less, pointed a little sideways or downward; b) one bass or 'kick' mic at or back a little from the sound hole, or a cardioid or super-cardioid if that's all that's available; c) optional but nice to have: large diaphragm mic set back from the cajon 1 to 2 meters to give a bit of overall sound, ambiance. Connect all cajon mics via XLR cables to:
5. Audio interface: An 'audio interface' has jacks to connect to microphones, it then connects via USB or other wired connector to your computer. Some audio interfaces are cheap, others very pricy. You probably only need a basic one, but make sure it will accept a minimum of 2 microphone jacks, or better, 4. Or instead of external mics you could use a portable recorder, or two. Mic the Cajon: Using a Portable Recorder
6. Record audio and video simultaneously. Include a few sharp claps in the beginning and end of the recording to assist with syncing. Record audio via computer to any commercial digital audio workstation (DAW). (Audacity, free at: https://www.audacityteam.org/download/).
7. Record video in HD or Full HD with any phone, action cam, digital camera, but: a.) bright room, lots of light, b) use tripods for all cameras. Minimum two cameras, one straight in, one a little to the side.
8. Mix audio post recording in your DAW: adjust channels levels but no or minimal effects; export at 48000 mHz 16 or 24 bit .WAV;
9. Edit video: Open and sync all video in video editor (OpenShot, free at: https://www.openshot.org/ or any other video editor); add audio .WAV file, and sync, mute all audio from the video cameras, only use the WAV audio in final product. Add cajon details as text to the side of the player. Minimize chit-chat. Export as .mp4
10. Give your videos functional names: include your brand name and something indicating what its about, examples: 'Firebox Cajon - Open Hearth Sound Demo' or 'Firebox Cajon - Workshop Tour'
11. Your channel should have videos with clear topics, which can be combined into playlists, examples include: A. 'Sound Demos' can be short and showcase a single model; B. 'Workshop Tours' can show the workshop and various workers C. 'About Us' videos can do overall info and short scenes with various models