Just something I'm working on... [WIP]

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Just something I'm working on... [WIP]

Postby emilemil1 » March 11th, 2015, 4:19 am

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A Guide To Nightcore


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> Introduction

For a long time now, most people have been learning about Nightcore through hearsay and guesswork, two very unreliable sources. This has led to the word slowly losing it's true meaning, detail after detail peeled away one after another until eventually only one core idea remained, that Nightcore means sped-up music. There is much more to it than that, and this guide is an attempt to put all of that remaining information in one place, so keep reading if you want to know what Nightcore actually stands for.

Apart from that there's also the practical aspect: how do you take a song and an image and turn that into a finished Nightcore video? There are many steps in this process, many choices to make and many places where things can go a little awry. This guide will help you through these steps, so that by following it you can be certain that your video will sound as good as it possibly can.

Happy reading!

• • •

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> Table of Contents

1. What Is Nightcore?
  • History
  • Definition
2. Your First Nightcore
  • Foreword
  • Preparation
  • Step 1: Audio Editing
3. Audio Editors

• • •


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What Is Nightcore?


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> History

Nightcore is the name of the collaboration project between two Norwegian DJs, DJ TNT and DJ SOS, who in the early 2000s released a series of albums featuring high tempo electronic Trance and Dance songs. These tracks were all speed-ups of already existing songs, something that wasn't known at first, but was eventually revealed as the tracks gained popularity on YouTube. Once this happened, Nightcore fans realized that they too could create this style of music, and so they did.

At first there were very few differences between fan-made Nightcore and the original Nightcore tracks. The songs were new, but the music style was very much the same, all made in mimicry of the Nightcore DJs. These similarities slowly faded over time, details lost with each new generation of fans, until today when all that remains is the notion that Nightcore indicates sped-up music.


More information on the history of Nightcore:

• • •


> Definition

Nightcore is supposed to sound as if it was made by the Nightcore duo.

That is the shortest, simplest way to put it. If you want to stay true to the definition of Nightcore, you should view it as a continuation of what the original group started. This implies a limit on which genres can become Nightcore, by how much tracks can be sped-up, how vocals should sound, etc.

Where these limits stand is not quite as clear cut. Different people will give you different answers if you ask them whether a particular song counts as NIghtcore or not. Some will stand firmly behind the idea that true Nightcore must sound very much like the original tracks in every possible aspect, while others treat it as more of a loose rule that can be bent, but not broken.

Should Nightcore sound like what the duo made back then, or should it sound like what the duo might make today?


Helpful links to understand the definition:

• • •


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Your First Nightcore


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> Foreword

This is a beginners guide to making Nightcore, a good starting point if you've never touched audio or video editing before and don't know how to begin. The goal is to get an acceptable video out the door as quickly and easily as possible, while avoiding the most common pitfalls that I often see new people fall victim to.

It is NOT a guide that will teach you the optimal ways of doing things, but once you've learned the basics you can continue on to the following sections if you wish to learn more.

• • •


> Preparation

Aside from free online tools and a few programs built into your operating system, you're going to need these things:

  • A Song
  • An Image
  • An Audio Editor
If you don't have any audio editing software already, Audacity is a free alternative that works on all operating systems. It's the editor I will be using for my examples, but my instructions should be generic enough to let you follow along in other editors as well.


Audacity for Windows:

Audacity for Mac:

Installation Instructions:

Spoiler: show
Windows

For all three installers it should be as simple as going with the defaults for everything.

If LAME or FFmpeg remains undetected after restarting Audacity, go to Edit -> Preferences -> Libraries
There you can use the Locate options to manually find the required LAME and FFmpeg files. If you went with the defaults they should be in these directories:
  • LAME - C:\Program Files (x86)\Lame For Audacity\lame_enc.dll
  • FFmpeg - C:\Program Files (x86)\FFmpeg for Audacity\avformat-55.dll

• • •

Mac

Installation is a little more complicated than on Windows, so here are simple step-by-step instructions.

Audacity:
  1. Mount the downloaded DMG file by double clicking on it.
  2. If the DMG window doesn't open automatically, do it manually by double clicking on the desktop icon or on the Device in Finder.
  3. Drag the Audacity icon into the Applications folder, or somewhere else if you want.
  4. Eject the DMG by Command/right-clicking on the desktop icon or through Finder.
  5. Audacity should now be installed in the location you chose.
  6. If you cannot launch Audacity, Command/right-click on the application in Finder and choose Open -> Open.

LAME / FFmpeg:
  1. Mount the downloaded DMG file by double clicking on it.
  2. If the DMG window doesn't open automatically, do it manually by double clicking on the desktop icon or on the Device in Finder.
  3. Double click on the LAME / FFmpeg icon, this should start the installer.
  4. Choose the defaults. If you install to a different location, remember that location.
  5. Eject the DMG by Command/right-clicking on the desktop icon or through Finder.
  6. LAME / FFmpeg should now be installed

If LAME or FFmpeg remains undetected after restarting Audacity, go to Edit -> Preferences -> Libraries
There you can use the Locate options to manually find the required LAME and FFmpeg files. If you went with the defaults they should be in these directories:
  • LAME -/usr/local/lib/audacity/libmp3lame.dylib
  • FFmpeg - /Library/Application Support/audacity/libs/libavformat.55.dylib


• • •


> Step 1: Audio Editing

Let's begin by doing the actual Nightcore edit. Start your audio editor and open/import your song. If you haven't listened through the entire file before, I would recommend doing so first to make sure there's nothing wrong with it.

Now you want to look for the speed-up effect. This has different names in different editors, such as "Change Speed", "Change Speed and Pitch", or "Change Tempo and Pitch".

Image


Decide by how much you want to speed up the song. Personally I like to start with 20% and adjust up or down from there. If your editor has a good preview option, go ahead and use that, otherwise you'll have to undo (Ctrl + Z) and re-apply the effect until you're satisfied with the result.

Image


The last thing you want to do is trim away any unnecessary silence from the beginning and end of the track. Select those areas and hit delete to erase them, but make sure to listen first to make sure that they are actually silent, and not just too quiet to be seen in the waveform. If clicking and dragging causes the track to be moved instead of selected, switch to the selection tool and try again.

Now you need to either "Export" or "Save" the track, depending on your editor. There are many formats to choose from here, but let's go with the classic MP3. Choose a 320 kbps Constant bit rate, with the channel mode set to Stereo.

Image


Note that in some editors you have to first confirm the format before you can change the settings.

If you want perfect quality audio, choose the FLAC format instead, or WAV if FLAC is not available. You generally don't need to tinker any further with the settings.

That's it for audio! Now we move on to the image.

• • •


Step 1: The Song


Start Audacity and drag-drop your song onto the program to open it. If you want to you can press the big green play button in the top left corner to give your track a listen.

Next up go to Effect -> Change Speed and decide by how much you want to speed up your track. About 20-25% is usually good for a first test.

Spoiler: show
Image


Now listen to your track and decide if you want to adjust it further. If it's not perfect, hit Ctrl+Z (undo) and try again with new values until you've got exactly what you want.

When you're finished, go to File -> Export and make sure that "WAV" is selected as the file format, then hit Save and you're done!

• • •


Step 2: The Image


Before starting on the video, let's make sure that the image is in widescreen (16:9 aspect ratio) so that it will fit perfectly in the YouTube player. Here are two ways of doing this:

Method 1: The Imgur Online Editor

Spoiler: show
  1. Go to Imgur.com and drag-drop your image onto the browser window
  2. Select that you want to edit your image, then click "Start Upload"
  3. Navigate to Advanced -> Crop, and scroll through the list of presets until you find "16:9"
  4. You can now drag the selection indicator around until you've found a good fit
  5. Hit "Apply" and "Save"
  6. Download your widescreen image, you're done!


Method 2: Paint (this involves math)

Spoiler: show
  1. Get a calculator (Google works) and calculate the new height
    • The formula is: Width/(16/9) = New Height
  2. OBS! If the calculated new height is greater than your old height, calculate a new width instead
    • The formula is: Height*(16/9) = New Width
  3. Round the result into the closest even number
  4. Start Paint and drag-drop your image onto it
  5. Pull on the edges of the image until you've got it to the correct size
    • Flip or rotate the image if needed
[/list]

You can also use the Resize option in Paint (or any editor), but ONLY if your image is roughly the right size already.

• • •


Step 3: The Video


OBS! You are strongly encouraged to switch from Windows Movie Maker when you've grasped the basics. A list of better alternatives can be found in the Video Editors section of this tutorial.

---

Start Movie Maker and drag-drop your image onto the large timeline section, then do the same with the song.

If the song (green waveform) became misaligned with the image, correct by dragging it to the left.

Spoiler: show
Image
Misaligned waveform (left) | Aligned waveform (right)


Next go to the Project tab and click "Fit to music", which should make the timeline look something like this:

Spoiler: show
Image
Click to view full image


Make sure that "Widescreen (16:9)" is selected, otherwise you'll get nasty black bars.

Now we just need to render the video. Click the "Save movie" button and choose "Create custom setting..." at the bottom of the drop-down menu. Base your new setting on the "Windows 8 (1080p)" default and set it up like this:

Spoiler: show
Image
You need to change the "Name", "Frame rate" and "Audio format"


Save your new template, close the window, and then start rendering by choosing your template from the "Save movie" drop-down. When the render has finished you're all done and ready to upload!

Congratulations! Now get that video onto YouTube so you can show it off in our User Uploads section ;)

• • •


This concludes the beginner section. Hopefully it was a clear and easy to follow first look into Nightcore.

The rest of this tutorial will go more in-depth on various topics, so feel free to keep reading if you're interested in taking Nightcore more seriously, such as if you're planning on starting up a dedicated channel of your own.


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Audio Editors


There are many editors out there, and they all have something slightly different to offer. This section will list some ups and downs of a few of the more popular ones, to hopefully make your decision a little easier.

• • •


Audacity



Great overall program for doing basic (yet high quality) Nightcore. The major downside is that the preview function only works for the first 30 seconds of a track, making it next to useless. Be prepared to Ctrl-Z a lot.

You will also need to download the LAME/ffmpeg encoders if you want to export MP3/M4A files. Instructions for doing so can be found here:

LAME: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/help/fa ... p3&lang=en
ffmpeg: http://manual.audacityteam.org/o/man/fa ... tml#ffdown

Audacity can also be used to check the audio quality of tracks through the spectrogram view, and to edit/combine multiple tracks.

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+ Easy to use
+ Great spectrogram view (read the Audio Quality section)
+ Easy to edit and combine multiple tracks (read the Editing Tips section)
+ Completely free

- Requires third-party encoders to export MP3 and M4A.
- Bad preview function
- More advanced editing features are hard to use

• • •


WavePad



A simple program that's very user-friendly, perfect for basic editing. The one major quirk to be aware of is that the encoder will automatically reduce clipping, sometimes significantly changing how tracks sound. Mid and high frequencies will be lowered, leading to both a more prominent bass and an overall lower track volume, which in some cases will sound good and in some cases will sound bad.

it's not a deal breaker by any means, but definitely something to keep in mind.

---

+ Very easy to use
+ Automatic BPM detection
+ Basic features are free

+/- Weird sound quirk (read above)

- No support for multiple tracks

• • •
Last edited by emilemil1 on January 17th, 2017, 2:18 pm, edited 37 times in total.
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Re: Just something I'm working on... [WIP]

Postby emilemil1 » March 11th, 2015, 4:40 am

Google Doc: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IKw ... sp=sharing

The formatting doesn't suck quite as hard anymore, so this gets promoted from private doc to public WIP thread.

A link to the What Is Nightcore thread will be inserted at the top (as soon as someone gets around to rewriting it).
Better to keep the philosophical stuff separate from the technical stuff :)

FEEDBACK PLZ!!!
Last edited by emilemil1 on March 11th, 2015, 7:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Just something I'm working on... [WIP]

Postby JumpBoy » March 11th, 2015, 8:22 am

Yey youve finished it.. somewhat :D Ok first up whats up with the lines in the begining ?
Second I cant really judge this cuase im on mobile and everything sucks on it so yeah gonna view it in depth when im home :P
Edit:btw only 2 editors ? Jeez is this the begginers one ? Is part 2 coming up ?
also it would be helpful to export to wav if possible just to make sure no quality loss has happend until after the video rendering another thing about the image widescreen it usful to use this imo https://pacoup.com/2011/06/12/list-of-t ... solutions/ when croping/streching make sure to hit the res below and closest to the original one you know for people who hate math like me :P
Last edited by JumpBoy on March 11th, 2015, 11:49 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Just something I'm working on... [WIP]

Postby JumpBoy » March 11th, 2015, 8:29 am

And use some GODAMN COLORS :P
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Re: Just something I'm working on... [WIP]

Postby HKO2006 » March 11th, 2015, 11:17 am

Audacity need plugins to import/export mp3/aac which is a bit of inconvenient.
And I found that the m4a exported by newer version of Audacity/FFmpeg has much less bit rate (190 kbps) compare to previous version (300 kbps), so I switched to WavePad for now

Edit: I am thinking if we can make a Google Doc version so we can write it together.
Welcome to Nightcore Universe! Enjoy your stay as much as you enjoy the original Nightcore songs!
Useful threads/links
Spoiler: show
What is Nightcore 101
Nightcore Channel Database
Nightcore Know Your Meme
How to make Nightcore (NIGHTCORE TUTORIAL) UPDATED
Speeding up seems to be a little magic making things a little bit more appealing.

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Location: Hong Kong

Re: Just something I'm working on... [WIP]

Postby emilemil1 » March 11th, 2015, 6:10 pm

@JumpBoy

It's not nearly finished, that's why it says WIP :P The beginner part is the only finished part. Formatting details such as color comes last.

@hko

I believe a separate encoder is only needed for exporting, not importing. I will adjust the first time tutorial to use .wav instead to get around the need for additional downloads, and add the additional downloads as a negative point in the audio editor list. The section on installing LAME (and a new one for ffmpeg) can be moved down as well.

.m4a works fine for me, I can set it all the way up to ~500kbps, though I might not have the newest version.

I'll make a doc when I get home. It'll look a little weird with all of the formatting tags though ^^
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Re: Just something I'm working on... [WIP]

Postby HKO2006 » April 24th, 2016, 7:34 pm

Images down
Welcome to Nightcore Universe! Enjoy your stay as much as you enjoy the original Nightcore songs!
Useful threads/links
Spoiler: show
What is Nightcore 101
Nightcore Channel Database
Nightcore Know Your Meme
How to make Nightcore (NIGHTCORE TUTORIAL) UPDATED
Speeding up seems to be a little magic making things a little bit more appealing.

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HKO2006
 
Posts: 720
Joined: December 20th, 2013, 2:30 pm
Location: Hong Kong

Re: Just something I'm working on... [WIP]

Postby emilemil1 » April 24th, 2016, 8:35 pm

Yep, I accidentally deleted a huge chunk of my onedrive, links broke when I restored it.

Not that it matters, would completely re-do everything if I would continue on this.
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Re: Just something I'm working on... [WIP]

Postby emilemil1 » July 3rd, 2016, 5:11 am

Slowly resuming this project. Set up some better formatting, added color, etc. (looks like an incomplete mess at the transition from new to old)

Going to rewrite the "What Is Nightcore" topic as the first section of the guide rather than linking to it, since that topic is still a messy wall of text :)
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Re: Just something I'm working on... [WIP]

Postby HKO2006 » October 24th, 2016, 2:55 pm

Need a Sony Vegas tutorial.
Welcome to Nightcore Universe! Enjoy your stay as much as you enjoy the original Nightcore songs!
Useful threads/links
Spoiler: show
What is Nightcore 101
Nightcore Channel Database
Nightcore Know Your Meme
How to make Nightcore (NIGHTCORE TUTORIAL) UPDATED
Speeding up seems to be a little magic making things a little bit more appealing.

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HKO2006
 
Posts: 720
Joined: December 20th, 2013, 2:30 pm
Location: Hong Kong

Re: Just something I'm working on... [WIP]

Postby emilemil1 » October 24th, 2016, 4:08 pm

Yeah, don't really have the time to continue on this atm, but it'll happen, with vegas instructions (and basics for AE, premiere, and every other working alternative)
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Re: Just something I'm working on... [WIP]

Postby HKO2006 » November 1st, 2016, 12:05 pm

Maybe a short Vegas tutorial first?
Welcome to Nightcore Universe! Enjoy your stay as much as you enjoy the original Nightcore songs!
Useful threads/links
Spoiler: show
What is Nightcore 101
Nightcore Channel Database
Nightcore Know Your Meme
How to make Nightcore (NIGHTCORE TUTORIAL) UPDATED
Speeding up seems to be a little magic making things a little bit more appealing.

User avatar
HKO2006
 
Posts: 720
Joined: December 20th, 2013, 2:30 pm
Location: Hong Kong


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