Selecting a musical backdrop that fits your video can be one of the most difficult tasks for many creators. It’s a complicated issue, but one of the biggest problems cited by amateur movie makers is the lack of control in comparison to the process of capturing and editing their footage.
Choosing the right music can make all the difference to the product you are trying to create, but this is often easier said than done.
There are a few steps you can take to help narrow down your shortlist and identify the perfect soundtrack for your video. First, you should choose music which has an overall mood that fits with your content – for example, high-energy music can make an ideal backdrop to exciting events or competitions, but is never going to gel with more serious, news-focused content and videos.
Next, you should consider the purpose of the music; ask yourself what role you would like the soundtrack to play in your video and you can exclude any options which do not fit that narrative. A good example here can be choosing to discard any music that is filled with vocal parts as you do not want them to interfere with the story you are trying to tell with your images and video.
Once you have begun to get an idea for the type of music which fits your video you may also want to consider any sfx and transitionary elements required to finish compiling your soundtrack. Music is almost always the biggest piece of the puzzle, but a single piece will rarely be enough to compile a full production.
Finally, you may want to create multiple versions of your video to suit different audiences or distribution channels. Different demographics often have very different tastes when it comes to music, and you should always try and accommodate those tastes where possible. At the same time, you cannot please everybody all the time, so don’t go over the top with this!
Creators have never had it so good as far as financials are concerned – there are more royalty-free and low-cost options available today than at any other time in history. Because of this, there is never a good reason to use low quality music in your productions – bad music will often cause people to switch off long before you have got your message across to them and is usually worse than having no music at all.
You can pay a small subscription fee in return for access to huge libraries of sound effects and background music which will allow you to publish on platforms such as YouTube whilst retaining all the ad revenue for yourself.
Another option is to hire a composer or musician to create music specifically for your videos. This is a great option if your budget permits it but is often outside the reach of new creators who are still working on their video capturing and editing skills.
Sort by Genre
As we mentioned earlier, different demographics have very different ideas about what makes a great soundtrack. Listening to a variety of genres is one of the simplest ways to understand the difference in taste between older and younger audiences; classical music might go down a treat with older people but is unlikely to appeal to a young male audience in their teens or twenties. Try starting off with two or three potential genres and you can then narrow down any potential musical choices by testing songs against your videos.
The issue of having less control over the soundtrack than you do over the video used in your production can be easily solved by changing the order of your workflow. Whilst editing your productions you have no doubt found yourself moving segments of your video to fit the rhythm and tone of the backing music – it is much easier to adapt your video to fit the ebbs and flows of a composition, rather than doing things the other way around.
You can take this even further by choosing a song before beginning to film and then capturing shots which will fit the highs and lows of the musical composition. This may seem backwards – after all, it is the video which you have full control over – but it is nonetheless a useful technique that can produce brilliant results. Give it a try!