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Like many countries around the world, here in the UK we are currently facing a lockdown due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. But just because we can’t go out and meet each other in person, doesn’t mean we can’t still create and collaborate during these challenging times. Through the power of technology, we are in a brilliant position to use this time to adapt, innovate and create with this new found time on our hands.
Throughout our guide, we will give you all of our tips and tricks to creating top quality content from the comfort of your own home. We’ll also show you how you can improve productivity and collaborate with others using simple tech that you will likely already have access to.
How to collaborate with others
Collaboration in the creative industries is key, and there is no reason why you can’t do this online. With many platforms at our disposal such as Google Hangouts, FaceTime, Zoom, Microsoft Teams and countless others, we can still meet and talk through our ideas as creatives. In order to stay productive, plan dedicated time with others to collaborate. Choose the theme and ideas you’d like to discuss ahead of your video meeting, and prepare your ideas to present ahead of time. Screen sharing is a feature available on most of these platforms. Through this service you can virtually show what you are working on which is incredibly helpful for the collaboration process. If you are working on new music, it might be a good idea to send your ideas in a simple recording ahead of the meeting, so that you can expand on them further together.
How to record music
There are a range of different options available to you as a musician working from home. If you don’t have a home studio setup at your disposal, rest assured, there are many things you can record with your smartphone. When recording in this way, ensure that you don’t play or sing too loudly so as to distort the recording. If you are interested in creating a home studio then we recommend getting the following gear to get you started…
- A recording Interface – these come in at many different price points depending on the number of inputs you need.
- Leads – you’ll need some jack leads and XLRs to record.
- A dynamic microphone – a dynamic mic like a Shure SM57 has so many uses for home recording and can even be used as a vocal mic too.
- A condenser microphone – this really isn’t necessary for a home setup, but if production is your thing, and you want to access that warm studio sound from home, a condenser microphone will really help you to achieve that sound.
- DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) – depending on whether you are running Mac or PC, there are various free DAWs such as Garage Band. If you’re looking to upgrade, Logic, Pro Tools and Ableton (the softwares we use at ACM) are available and widely regarded as the industry standard. This software will enable you to record, mix and master your songs from home.
How to film content
First things first, you will need to get the right camera settings on your phone. In the settings select 1080 or 4K at 30fps for regular filming, or 60fps if you want to do any slow-mo filming.
Be creative with your light. Let the light from a window shine on your face to light you, or use lamps to point towards your face from behind the camera. Try moving the lights and doing some test shots to get the lighting just right.
Don’t have a tripod? No problem! You can use everyday household items like books or even your laptop to prop your phone up, just make sure to test the shot before committing to filming your whole project to save time.
Landscape or portrait? For most instances it is better to film landscape, as it is much easier to edit a landscape video into a portrait version for other platforms than the other way around. This being said, if you are filming something very specific for Instagram or the style needs to be portrait, then go ahead.
Much like DAWs, there are lots of free software available to edit your videos, some even available directly on your phone. Remember when learning a new skill like this, YouTube is your friend.
Getting inspired from home
When you’re in the same environment day in day out, things can get repetitive and uninspiring. But there are many things you can do to combat this issue. If you are confined to the same room for relaxing and work, there are things you can do to change the look of your room for different activities. When you are working, or creating, put a throw over your bed, change the lighting and layout of your desk. After you’ve finished your work for the day, change the layout back so that you are now in the same space for relaxing.
For songwriters, give yourself a brief if you are feeling uninspired, or work to our weekly songwriting challenge brief. Sometimes giving yourself a subject or guide to follow can help spark an idea.
Collaborate – use the tools discussed earlier in this article to connect with your friends, family and fellow creatives to discuss ideas and collaborate together. Sometimes two minds can be better than one.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, no one can be inspired and motivated 24/7, so be kind to yourself and remember to take regular breaks!
Keep a healthy mind
Being a creative can often come with additional challenges and this is no different when we are facing a lockdown. It is important now more than ever to look after your and your peers’ mental wellbeing. When you are on top of your wellbeing, you will be in a much better place to create.
Create a routine and stick to it – It can be very easy to fall into habits that lead to everyday feeling like a lazy Sunday. We understand not everyone is an early riser, and not everyone is a night owl, but it’s important to create a routine that works for you.
Set yourself a time to get up and have a healthy breakfast. Sometimes dressing for work or uni like normal can really help your mindset. If you’re more at ease in your comfies, that’s fine too, but make sure to start each day fresh to aid your routine.
Make dedicated time for work, creativity and relaxation. It’s important for our days to have a start, middle and end to avoid that feeling of boredom and repetitiveness. If you break your working time down into manageable chunks, it will feel much more achievable and foster an environment where you will become much more productive and satisfied with your work and progress.
Self care – make sure to look after yourself, whether that’s with a nice hot bubble bath or an hour of Fifa online with your friends. Do something that you really enjoy and reward yourself.
Stay connected with family and friends – through the power of technology there’s no reason you can’t stay connected with your friends and family. Don’t forget to call them, text them and set up video chats. Get creative and host online quizzes and games sessions to give each other something to look forward to. Having this connection and relaxation time with those we love, puts us in a better place to continue our creative work.
If you are concerned about yours or a friend’s wellbeing, don’t be afraid to reach out. You can get in touch with our award-winning student support team on firstname.lastname@example.org. All students have access to The Big White Wall and there are many organisations out there that can offer support – you’re not alone and it’s ok to not be ok.
So those are our tips on staying creative, collaborating and making great content at home during lockdown. Whilst these times are challenging, we are so proud that our ACM community continues to create and inspire, paving the way for a new normal.
Please keep us updated on all of your great work by using the hashtag #ACMatHome
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