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Background Music for Video

Choosing the right royalty free music for your video productions

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Choosing background music for your video can be crucial to the success of your video. The marriage of music and picture is sometimes overlooked but it is imperative to get the feel right when choosing music to work with your images. Do you edit to music or do you make the music fit your edit.

To demonstrate the importance of music in your video I used to show in my talks how the style or feel of the music can totally change the direction and look of your video. I would firstly show the audience a short video sequence without any sound. Maybe a night scene nothing too dramatic, shots of a full moon, close up and then panning to a hillside. All open to suggestion as to what could be happenning. Then ask audience members to suggest a royalty free music cue from our library to fit the scene. What was remarkable was the variety of music styles the audience suggested. So we tried a nice royalty free tranquil ambient soundtrack and it worked, the theme was nature, soft and alluring. However we could change the feel totally by adding a royalty free horror music soundtrack. Suddenly the full moon appears ominous and quite eerie and the narrative changes. That's the power of music and why it's so important to seriously consider the choice of background music to your video. The bottom line is what are you trying to convey to your audience, how do you what to make them feel, and what is your message. You must get this clear in your mind before you add your music soundtrack.

Of course, when making a video short it's much easier to select music to a drama with a strong narrative. Scary scenes need scary music. Love scenes need romantic music. Or do they? A musical mismatch can also work. Consider the way music is chosen for the popular and quirky BBC drama Killing Eve. Violent scenes can be supported with a flimsy playful and quirky music score. Even though the scene is depicting a horrible and gruesome death at the hands of the female assassin Villanelle, the director has used music to lighten the mood to give a dark comic feeling. The music is the driving force in Killing Eve as the producers didn't what was expected or heard a million times before. As the series features a female lead, this is mirrored in the music with an emphasis on female vocals. Also as the programme visits many different countries the music used always represents the country. Most of the score by Unloved feature the vocals of a female singer to underscore the characters in the narrative. Most of the songs by Unloved were written well before the series was made. They just fitted perfectly in the edit. Often the lyrics are nothing about the scene it supports but it somehow works in a beautiful and ambigurous way. So a great example of using pre existing music to add so much to your video. Most of the music to Killing Eve was written decades ago. What is important is that the music chosen for the soundtrack is consistent to the feel and mood the director had in mind. Decide what you're trying to say and the rest will fall into place.

So enjoy exploring how royalty free music can enhance your video. Don't try the obvious, experiment with different moods but alway ask the question ' what role is the music playing in this scene '. Is music needed? is it necessary. Add music and then watch the scene again without. Is something crucial now missing.

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