How to make the most of music in video

How to make the most of music in video

That’s right. I’m going to put it out there and say that music in video is crucial. So crucial, that it can pretty much make or break all the hard work put in by your video team. Whether it’s an advert, promo, or online video, music should be considered just as important as your visuals (that’s right all you animators!). The track you choose will determine the emotional tone of your video and dramatically affect the message you’re trying to get across. Of course, choosing the perfect soundtrack isn’t as simple as you might think. In order to produce the best video possible take a look at the below guide to help you use music in video the right way: 
 
Mood
 
Needless to say, the mood of the video you are putting out there is crucial. If the mood doesn’t fit the aim of the video it will just end up feeling weird. Imagine trying to convey the fundamental messages behind a new pension scheme while Ludacris’ ‘Move Bitch’ is blaring away in the background. Ever so slightly counterproductive.
 
You, or your video company, need to consider a few key things: who are you targeting? What are you trying to convey? How do you want your audience to feel?  
 
Feelings are a good starting point when trying to settle on music for your video. If you want your audience to feel warm and fuzzy, try to steer clear of psychedelic trance and perhaps try something of a more Ed Sheeran oriented nature. If you want to make people feel adventurous, brave and excited maybe look into something by Wagner; if you want to make people feel irritated, use ‘Happy’ by Pharrell. 
  
As an example, check out this explainer our video team put together. It’s all about personable Artificial Intelligence. We think we did a pretty good job of making it sound friendly and ‘tech’ without going too far towards sci-fi and futuristic. 


 
Once you have identified the emotions you want to associate with your video, you’ll be well on the way to finding a music style to match. Most music production libraries (Audio Network, SoundVault) offer extensive search options based around ‘emotion’, ‘instrumentation’ and ‘genre’. So whether you want something ‘Uplifting, ‘Orchestral’, or ‘Punk’, select a few tracks, watch them alongside the visuals and you’ll start to get an idea of what works for your video. The world really is your musical oyster…
 
Quality
 
One sure fire way to ruin your video and give it the production value of something filmed on a flip phone, is low quality audio. Go the extra mile and find music that sounds, well, good. It’ll be worth it. 
 
With so many production music options available to us nowadays, who can really be blamed for being lured in by the cheaper options? One piece of advice for you if you do find yourself feeling the ever present gravitational pull of the budgetary black hole: run away as fast as you can. If you need to make cuts to keep the cost down, music isn’t the place. Cheap tracks are more often than not, synonymous with poor quality. There is little more infuriating, than watching a video only to find yourself trying to ignore the constant crackling of what sounds like incomprehensible train terminal announcements in the background.
 
This is of course an extreme example, but even when the quality isn’t terrible, but isn’t quite right, you might not be able to pinpoint exactly what is it, but you will notice the difference between well-produced library music and low quality ‘bedroom’ productions. It might be easier on the budget, but it’ll be harder on your audience to bear if the sonic quality is poor. You’ve been warned!
 
Rule of thumb
 
One last thing to bear in mind, when you have found the perfect track, is not to get too carried away with your success and make it the centrepiece of the whole video. Unless you’re looking into sound effects (think bleeps, whooshes, crashes and bangs), when it comes to music in video, keep it in the background. The best tracks are the ones you don’t notice. The role of music in video is not to be the focal point, but rather to accompany and reinforce the undoubtedly splendid visual work being carried out. Remember, there is a fine line between accompanying and overbearing, and it is a line which should not be crossed.
 
Rather not have the pressure of choosing the perfect musical accompaniment yourself? Our video team just so happens to be pretty good at it… Talk to our Head of Production Jamie Field to find out more!

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