How To Create A Virtual Choir
The mayhem of 2020 has finally drawn to a close but the prospect of trying to accomplish anything creative for some people is at the bottom of a very long to-do list. As we make our way through 2021, it’s unbelievable to think that at one point even singing was banned in the U.K.!
At WeJam we have compiled a guide on how to create a trendy Virtual Choir Video for all your friends and family to take part in. Not only is it a great way to get everyone’s creativity flowing, but it also brings people together while abiding by social distancing restrictions.
What exactly is a Virtual Choir Video?
Virtual Choirs operate in a similar way to a normal choir. Everyone is singing their assigned sections, and the collaboration and sense of community is still there. The only major difference is that everyone’s performance, audio and video need to be edited into a single, soon-to-be-viral video.
To get an idea of what a Virtual Choir Video looks like, check out this video by Jimmy Fallon and the cast of Hamilton. The video was created in June of 2020 which was at the peak of the pandemic for most countries so every participant was able to film their section in the comfort of their own home, using “at-home instruments” like kitchen utensils, children’s toy instruments and even cereal bowls to replace real instruments.
Based on the usual high standard of production quality that goes into a typical Jimmy Fallon show, expensive recording equipment and an entire team of editors were probably needed to put that four-minute video together. Luckily for us however, we don’t need to pay for an entire editing team or any expensive equipment in order to create our own version. All you will need is your voice and a smartphone or tablet that can record videos.
The brilliance of the idea is how simple and inclusive it is. If your choir is a small group of five to 10 people, that means that everyone can get a moment in the spotlight. If your choir is a little larger than usual, maybe 50-100 members, you can edit the video to show a certain number of people at a time before rotating them out for another few people to ensure everyone gets their moment to shine.
Okay, so now that we’ve hashed out why you should absolutely be doing this, let’s get a plan together so we can pull it off.
First things first, we need to find the perfect song. The Jimmy Fallon and Hamilton cast picked one of the many iconic songs from the Broadway show. If you’re feeling brave enough you could attempt to try a song from the Hamilton soundtrack, and piggyback off the success of the show. But if that style of music just isn’t your thing, then what is? Have a brainstorming session and find out.
Another good way to figure out the best song for your group to sing to is to put it towards a vote. It may seem a little formal, but at least that way everyone gets to have their say and your group will have a lot more fun performing a song they actually like.
Secondly, once you’ve got the perfect song you want to cover, you need to split up the song and assign parts to each member of the choir. Who will be singing which parts? Will people have multiple sections to sing and does everyone feel comfortable performing their section?
Once you have those settled, it’s about time to get ready for rehearsals. Make sure every singer has earphones that they can use for the Guide Track. A guide track is a recording of a song that singers can listen to as they record their section to use as a pitch and tempo reference. A guide track can be either created by yourself, or one can be found on YouTube and a link can be sent to each member that needs the guide. This cuts out the messing around from having to download music files, convert them and then send them to each member who needs them.
As we get into rehearsals, let’s take a moment to be thankful that we don’t have to spend time and money towards hiring a space to fit everyone into. All you’ll need to participate is a smart device that can record video and audio, and if you have that you’re good to go.
We’d recommend recording your rehearsals as you do them. Granted a lot of people hate hearing the sound of their own voice played back to them, but if you can get past the awkwardness, you’ll hopefully be able to analyse and improve on any mistakes you’re making in time for the next rehearsal.
As this is also a collaborative effort, you can send your rehearsal recordings to other members in the choir, play them alongside each other and get an idea on a small scale what the finished product will look like.
Pro-tip #1: For the best audio quality while recording, make sure you’re in as quiet a space as possible. Your smartphone can record some pretty crisp audio so open up your Voice Memo app and have a good old singalong into your phone. Most microphones on smartphones are on the bottom of the handset so be sure to sing directly into the bottom of your phone.
Gathering Everyone’s Videos
Regardless of the size of your choir group, you’re going to have a lot of large data files of everyone’s recorded videos. The simplest ways to gather all those files together is to create a Google Account specifically for this project, find the Google Drive storage section of your account where you can store up to 15GB of files. Provide everyone in the choir with the email and password to the Google account, have them transfer their own video to the Google Drive cloud storage and that way they’re all in one place.
Pro-tip #2: In case anyone isn’t as tech savvy as others, you can hop onto a video call with those that need help and share your screen to walk them through how to upload their video.
When it comes to editing the clips altogether, if you don’t know someone that is familiar with video editing software it may take you a while to train yourself up to complete everything you need for the Choir Video. That’s not to say it’s impossible, it just means that you may have to dedicate more time to the post-production process than you first thought.
If you can budget together a little money and find someone on social media, there’s always the option to pay someone to edit the video together for you.
If you aren’t able to get a budget together, don’t fret –you’ll just need to get comfortable with the fact you are now a Junior Video Editor. There are plenty of resources online that will show you the basics of any video editing software, and programmes such as Window Movie Maker 10 and iMovie are free for Windows computers and Apple Macs.
Remember, your first attempt won’t be the finished project. As long as you are following tutorials and saving your edits regularly you can’t go wrong!
Getting your video out into the world
With the editing completed, and everyone having signed off on the video, you’re now ready to send your video out into the world. The video can be uploaded to any major social platform, but it might be best to upload to one platform and have everyone use the same link to then share to other platforms. For instance, if you were to upload to YouTube, a URL link can then be shared to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and even Tumblr if you like.
It’s better to do it this way than to send the video file to everyone and have them upload it on their own. This avoids any potential technical issues with downloading and reuploading for every member of your choir. Also, sharing is a fairly common feature on all social media platforms so why not use it?
Need a Simpler Solution?
If everything we’ve covered here is just a little too complex, almost to the point of the Choir Music Video idea not being worth it, don’t worry, because at WeJam we have launched an incredible service to do all the leg work for you. We will manage your project from its inception to publishing the final product. All we need you to do is decide on the song you want to sing, and we will take over the rest. Our service will help you with the recording, assigning parts to people and then editing everyone’s clips together for you to show off your amazing singing talent! Be sure to make contact with us through this link and we can provide further details.