Deciding the music for your video can make or break a project. Take a hard listen to any professional video and you’ll see how important the score is, without most people even noticing music’s influence. Good background music is subtle but powerful, flowing with the visuals to create a fully formed project.
Whether you’ve made a clip, commercial or full length film, you will need to incorporate music and audio to bring that new dimension. Here are some tips to help you pick the perfect music to compliment the hard work you’ve put into your video.
- Know Your Audience and Your Project
Think about who’s going to watch your video and what they listen to, what makes them feel the way you want them to feel. Demographic is everything, so don’t waste time catering to people who won’t be watching.
That’s not to say you should only use music your audience is already familiar with, but do be conscious of how they will respond. For example, children do not often listen to classical music but in the right place during a comedy it can be very funny to them.
- Work With the Established Mood
Consider first what you want the music to enhance about your video. What mood are you creating, or are you transitioning through several? Music has the ability to inspire one or many moods in a small amount of time. Be careful not to cover emotional voice-over with loud or distracting sounds, and consider using purely instrumental music if your video has a lot of speech.
Music should add, not detract or distract, from its visual counterpart. Listen to a couple different songs in the background of your video to see how each affects the end product. Note what makes one song more successful than the other to help you cut through the endless options.
Remember songs can be as simple or complex as a scene can be, and juxtaposing or marrying the two creates different atmospheres. For whatever mood you’re trying to inspire, a song exists, so don’t be discouraged.
- Learn Digital Audio Manipulation
There are countless programs and mountains of hardware which can create, manipulate and master sound. Music in their original forms often doesn’t fit the flow of video, so you should be familiar with splicing and editing the parts of music you need.
Some tools allow you to easily create music without knowing to play an instrument. You can pick a genre, instruments and effects to start a song or jingle from scratch. Many programs for digital audio manipulation come with entire libraries of sounds, and some like Maschine offer a hardware aspect as well, allowing tactile music making and first class digital editing. Take a look at this Maschine Mikro tutorial, which shows the “lite” version of Maschine which is perfect for audio/visual projects.
If you don’t feel comfortable with the technology, it may be necessary to hire a composer. Especially if you are looking for uniformity throughout a longer film, you will want one person managing sound choice and editing. The ensuing congruity of sound and score will be worth the effort.
- Consider a Music Library
Copyright infringement should be your biggest avoidance. Thankfully there are music libraries available just about everywhere, whether it’s accessing YouTube’s or Vimeo’s licensed music archives, or purchasing access to databases like Bedtracks and AudioJungle. These libraries offer search options to narrow down your search and you’ll know the licensing is solid.
Of course, the best and most personal way to add music to your video is by creating it yourself. You can use music from these libraries to edit to your liking. Don’t forget important issues like timing which are easy to fix with DAWs.