Prepping to submit your video for Groundwaves? These days it is easier than ever to learn the skills you need to record yourself and create a video on your own.
Here are some tips, tricks, and resources to help you with your Groundwaves submission. Once you’re ready to complete your submission, click here.
If you have questions about anything on this page, hit us up!

Music Resources

Don’t have a professional studio to record in? No problem. Here are the basic things you’ll need: 1. A place to make or access beats/music 2. The ability to record yourself at home, and 3. Software to collaborate with others.

Home Recording

Building a home recording studio can be expensive and it can take time to build up your collection of equipment. It can seem overwhelming, but you can get started with just a few pieces of gear and a place to record.

A good place to start is with a microphone. A decent mic is often the heart of any home recording setup. If you don’t have a mixer or audio interface, you can get started with a USB mic (a microphone that plugs directly into your computer.) Google “USB microphone” to see a range of options.

You’ll also need a computer or a phone – while a computer may work best, many newer phones are compatible with DAW apps (iPhones now come with Garageband pre-installed.) Once you decide what device you’re going to use, you’ll need to pick which DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) you want to use for recording (see our section on DAWs below.)

Search for “building a home studio” or “DIY home recording studio” to find some additional tips to get started. You can make quality music with just a mic and a computer. You no longer need thousands of dollars worth of gear to make a good track!

Beats

Most beatmakers take one of two paths – they either find existing beats that are royalty-free (meaning you are able to legally use the tracks), or they use a digital audio workstation (DAW) to create their own beats from samples, loops, and electronic instruments.

Be careful about using any existing beats, Youtube tracks, or similar beats that are not explicitly royalty-free or in the Creative Commons. You may run into problems like having them flagged, taken down from your platforms, or even some more serious legal issues.

Royalty-Free Beats – there are many different sites to choose from, both free and paid. You can Google “royalty-free beats” to find even more options.

DAWs – there are a number of DAWs available. We’ve linked a few below. Many offer either a free trial or monthly membership, so we suggest checking out a few before purchasing anything.

Collaborating

If you plan to work with other musicians, producers, etc., you will need a method of communicating and sharing files with one another.

Zoom is a great platform for video meetings. You can also share audio during Zoom sessions to give your collaborators an idea of what you’re working on.

You can use one of these platforms to host and share files:

Video Resources

You can develop video/visual content for your music in a few different ways: creating new content using video production software, finding existing media that is free to use, or a mix of both.

Shooting Your Video

To record video content, the best quality will come from using a DSLR camera or other high-quality camera to get the clearest picture. Alternatively, you can use your phone, many of which offer apps to shoot in cinema-like settings. You’d be surprised at how often even pros use iPhones for video these days. Built-in laptop cameras are often low-resolution, so they can be harder to get a clear picture from.

Lighting is one of the most important parts of shooting a great video. Sunlight and shooting outdoors can offer great light. Indoor lighting mixed with light from a window or lamp can also be effective. Just using overhead lighting can be unflattering and is often avoided unless you are going for a specific effect. Search “diy video lighting basics” or similar terms to find more lighting tips and tricks.

Video Production

You don’t need to buy software to get into video production. There are many free options avaialble : iMovie (Mac) and Windows Movie Maker (PC) both come pre-installed. DaVinci Resolve also offers a free version of its powerful program that is used across the film industry.

You can also download apps on your phone that allow for movie editing, including mobile versions of professional software such as Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, and others.

Free Images and Video

Video and photo content labeled “public domain” or “creative commons” is free to use. For creative commons content, you must credit the content owner. Be sure you fully understand the rights to the content that you are using before releasing anything!

For photos, Unsplash is a popular option – you can search “free high-resolution images” to find other websites.

For public domain video content and other media, check out sites like Pond5 and Archive, as well as the Creative Commons database.


There is much to learn when it comes to home recording and creating your own videos. Don’t let that stop you from getting started! Sometimes the best way to learn is by doing. We’re excited to see what you come up with for this years’ Groundwaves.