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  • Writer's pictureDuncan Curtis - Director

SOUNDTRACKING YOUR VIDEOS – Part 1




Choosing music for your video or film production may seem straightforward, but finding the perfect track is often one of the biggest challenges video producers face. Sometimes that track will be found within minutes, sometimes it can take days. The eventual choice can depend on several factors, and all need to be considered together to find the ideal piece.

 

PACE


If you’re producing a fast-paced, short highlights or overview video, often known as a ‘sizzle reel,’ upbeat, modern music with a fast beat may be a good choice, but that same style may not be appropriate for a slower paced, interview-led, informational video. The pace of the music will often lead the speed of the edit, with sizzle reels cut on the beat. For longer form videos with a lot of spoken information, the beat may not be as important, with the images and interviews dictating the edit pace. In this case a less punchy, more ambient track may be more suitable.

 

MOOD


Above all, music is an emotion enhancer. If you want to rouse and excite an audience, choose an upbeat, positive track. If you want to tug at the heart strings or enhance an emotional message, choose a slower, more emotional track. If you’re looking back on successful achievement, something more celebratory would be appropriate.

 

CLIENT PROFILE

 

For businesses with a long history or distinguished profile, it may be more appropriate to use a track with a majestic or orchestral element, particularly if that is an important focus of their video content. If they’re mixing their message to both extol their history and promote their relevance today, grander tracks can be found with both orchestral and modern elements. If the client is more youth facing, such as fashion houses or games companies, a contemporary track may be more suitable.

 

CLIENT PREFERENCE


Certain clients may already have a bank of music or a style they prefer and will offer guidance on what they want you to use. It’s always best to present a few options for clients to choose from, as it can be costly to change a track after the edit. This can also be a tricky balancing act for producers, as often a client will want a certain style, perhaps based on a favourite commercial artist, which may not be suitable for the style and purpose of the video. A good producer will advise whether or not a track is a good fit.

 

NO MUSIC


There are times, of course, when no music is the best option. Certain informational videos benefit from a silent background. Similarly using music sparingly in a video may have a greater impact than using it throughout. This works particularly well for content videos with a more documentary style. Silent sections often allow for important information to be shared more effectively.

 

VOLUME


Music is meant to enhance a video. If the volume is too high, it can run the risk of overpowering your message. Boosting the audio in a montage sequence will help enhance the emotion, but make sure the music is lowered, or even removed, during interviews or voiceovers so that it doesn’t clash with the spoken word.

 

MULTIPLE TRACKS


Changing tracks with the change of mood, scene or pace in the same video can also be more effective than using a single track throughout. This is particularly true for longer form videos as the use of a single track can quickly become boring. There are, of course, cost implications to consider when using multiple track, so it’s important to balance the pros and cons of multiple tracks on both your message and budget.

 

SOUND EFFECTS


Sound effects can also be very effective, particularly over animations – but beware. The wrong choice, overpowering or overuse of sound effects can easily make a video cheesy or comical. If sound effects are used, it’s best to keep them subtle as low-level enhancements to movement in the graphics elements.

 

…AND AS ALWAYS…


… never lose sight of the purpose of your video. Your message and content are the most important parts. If a music choice detracts from that important message, then perhaps a rethink is required.

 

In terms of where to source your music, this is a more complex topic with many things to think about when searching. We will discuss the options, legalities, costs and other considerations in the next article.

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