Don’t finish Smule video OCs early
If a community songbook song ends with 10 seconds of silence, then by all means: cut if off! But don’t cut off your OC early just because your singing part has ended. If you are “on stage” with another person, you shouldn’t just run off at some point, surprising the person who has joined you. Whether they stay there alone until the end or cut if off as well—both options kind of ruin the duet. It’s not a complete presentable video anymore and the person joining might have hoped for that. So please stick around until the music has come to end. And if you really don’t want to do that—for example because the outro is just too long—then open an audio-only version instead.
Check the cover image and change it if necessary
The automatic cover images for video duets are rarely good. But if you open a song, only you have the power to change the cover image. So do the people joining a favor and pay attention to the cover image. Does it seem like the person joining might not like how he or she looks in that image? Then change it and pick a different frame from the video. It’s easy and can be done quickly.
Put a shirt on! Or “respecting the person opening the song”
Some duets are literally just 3 minutes of fun. People open songs while walking, cooking, cleaning and so on. That’s perfectly fine! Not every Smule duet needs to be perfect. And people opening songs don’t expect you to be a professional singer. In fact, I would encourage people to join better singers – it’s how you can get better.
But as a rule of thumb: at least try to match the effort of the person opening the song has put into it. If ifs a flawless OC, don’t put your headphones in while your already recording. If the people opening the songs are singing fully dressed in their living room, they might not want to see you joining the OC shirtless in bed. And so on.
Do you agree? Do you have other tips or pet peeves? Let us know in the comments.
Sing.Salon was launched one year ago in August 2016. I am happy to report that the site is growing nicely ever since, especially during the last months. The site now has more than 500,000 page views every month.
Articles, frequently asked tech questions, microphone directory, group directory, competition directory, interviews, partner artists … No other place on the internet gathers this much useful information and knowledge around Smule and Sing! app.
And with the recently launched Club feature, users can now even create their own community space within the Sing.Salon community.
If you have any other feature requests or suggestions for the future, feel free to let us know in the forums. We are looking forward to year 2 of the Sign.Salon.
Smule just released version 6.0.1 for iOS. Here is an overview of the changes.
New Feature: Edit Songbook Tabs
You can now customize the tabs in the songbook section of the Sing! app to your needs. Click the microphone symbol and scroll all the way to the right until you see a plus symbol. Click it and you will see a list of categories, such as musical genres and special categories such as Recommended, Popular, Trending and Unlocked. Using the checkmark symbol you can add or remove tabs. The entries at the top are your current tabs. You can also use the button on the left to change their order.
Redesigned Recording screen
The settings you see while recording a song have changed. You can’t swipe anymore on the video to change the video filters. There is a new button on the bottom left to change the filter—but only for the songs you open yourself! Just as with group songs, the person opening the song now also controls the video filter for duets. The settings just show you which filter was used if you join. There is no option to change it anymore.
The button in the middle controls the audio filters and the button on the left gives access to the volume of your microphone and the guide track.
Some people couldn’t find the rewind and flag button anymore after the update. In order to access it, you need to drag the control panel (see left image) down and the rewind and flag button will appear again (right image).
Users have reported problems with recording video. The video frame that is visible during the recording is not the same as after the upload. So you might have your head cut off. Smule has been made aware of the issue. Currently there is probably no other solution than to aim the camera somewhat higher during recording. We will update the article once the problem was fixed.
People have also reported that the recently added Boost option is not available anymore.
Update: The video frame seems to fixed in version 6.0.5. In addition, the flag/rewind buttons have been made more visible again.
You are just starting out with video on the Sing! app? Here are some tips to make your videos look better.
First of all, you probably want to get a lot of light and you want it in front of you! Too little light is especially problematic with Smule videos, since they are compressed and the less light there is, the more compression artefacts you will see.
dark scenes or just background light and strong video compression don’t go well together
So as a rule of thumb: unless you want to create a special mood for your song, you want a lot of light and you want the light to in front of you and diffused. The easiest way to achieve this is to just stand in front of a large window. (But not a window where the sun is directly visible from where you are standing.) So in this setting, you get diffused light from all sides and as a result, your face is well-light without any hard shadows.
Holding your phone all the time while standing in front of the window isn’t a perfect solution of course. A recommendable and also pretty cheap solution is to get a camera tripod and a separate phone clamp, which can be screwed into the tripod. You can get a very simple tripod, but make sure …
it is high enough, so you can place the phone at least at the hight of your face or even better: a little bit higher.
it has a 3-way head, so you can use your phone in portrait mode—or you buy a phone clamp, which can be rotated.
A cheap but effective Sing! app setup
If you also want to sing on rainy days and at night, the window tip might not work for you. In that case, consider a more professional solution. Get one, or better two so-called softboxes. They also produce the diffused light we want. You can get a set of two starting at around $60 (Amazon search link). Place the softboxes to the left and right of you and and somewhat higher than your head. This is basically the same setup a photographer would use for portrait shots. We don’t want a flash of course. So we need the continuous output light these softboxes provide.
The only downside of this setup is that it needs a lot of space. If that is a problem for you, you could also look into LED lights. They can provide a lot of light, but the light is not as diffused as with a softbox. So your skin won’t look as soft. Those LED lights come in different shapes, including ring lights, and they often include optional filters to influence the color of the lights. If the LED lights are rather bright, you can move them far away (to make the light more diffused) or even point them away from you at the walls or the ceiling to get diffused light.
Got any other lighting tips? What setup do you use? Feel free to let us know in the comment section below.
The Sing! app version 5.3.1 for iOS brings a lot of improvements for your profile page, especially for VIP users. Here is an overview of what has changed.
You can now upload a background image for your profile page. In addition you can set one of five background colors. These options can be used individually or in combination.
VIP users can now also set a display name. Once set, this will be shown as large text on your app profile page and your Smule username will be shown smaller below the display name. (see image above)
Many singers use their profile text to link their groups and other singers. Now the app recognizes these mentions and shows a list of profile images as links below the text block. In case you don’t like this behavior, there is a new setting called “Display @mentions” on the settings page to turn the feature off.
Profile page with automatically linked accounts
Pin a Song
You can now pin a song on your profile page. This is a great way to show new visitors your favorite collab or to feature other singers you have sung with. To choose a song click the three dots next to the collab on your profile page or in your favorites list. The pinned song will be shown prominently and with al large cover image on your “channel tab” between your profile header and the list of your latest songs. Only one song can be pinned at a time. If you select a new one, the previously pinned song will be removed.
Previously only available in the US, the VIP subscriptions through smule.com are now available in over 100 countries around the world: http://bit.ly/getSmuleVIP
Monthly and yearly subscriptions are available and usually cheaper than the respective prices in the Apple and Google Play store. And there is another advantage: VIP subscriptions bought through smule.com can be used on iOS and Android devices at the same time!
To purchase a VIP subscription on smule.com you need a credit card. This offer is not connected to the previous subscriptions bought in the Apple or Google Play store. You would have to cancel your current subscriptions there and buy a new VIP subscription on smule.com after your app store subscription has ended.
With version 5.0.9, the iOS version of the Sing! app gains a new video filter option: the so-called Blemish filter. It’s a live video filter, which detects smooth surfaces like your skin and adds a blur filter to make them appear even more smooth.
The effect can be turned on and off before, during or after a video recording. It works in combination with the existing filters like Selfie, Vintage and so on.
without (left) and with Blemish filter (right)
Have you used the new option yet? How do you like it?