When it comes to using music in a video production of any kind, it can be the most difficult part of the whole process. It’s fair to say that the choice of music is probably the most divisive topic for discussion in our company. Forget Brexit, Birmingham City or Aston Villa, Xbox or Playstation it’s always music that is guaranteed to divide opinions. It might sound a bit extreme but there are so many factors to consider when it comes to choosing the right music not just for a corporate video production but for any kind of film. There’s alway personal taste, there’s commercial appeal, tone of the video content, pace of the edit and so much more.
Think about it, some our favourite movies are defined by the music and it just needs the first few bars to immediately make us recognise what the film is. Try and imagine some of these films without the theme tune and it suddenly becomes a different film altogether.
When it comes to a corporate video, the principle is the same but there a few things to remember when it comes to choosing the music for your video production. First of all try to be objective when it comes to the choice of music in a video. You might like to listen to thrash metal or classical strings when you are relaxing at home but that doesn’t mean that it will be right for your work project. As with many aspects of content for a video, you need to think about who the audience is and what they will respond to along with what’s being said in the video too – this should give you a steer towards the type of music that that you need to use. If you are making a video that is based around an emotive or thoughtful subject, then slower music may well be the answer to reflect the mood but if it’s a video that is showing energy and enthusiasm, the opposite will often be the case. Also think about whether there is any speaking in the video, if not then the music becomes even more crucial because all you have to rely on are the visuals that you have created so the music is a key point to hook the viewer.
For an idea on what impact music can have on a scene and change the perspective for the viewer take a look at the video below which changes the music on the same scene from Pirates of the Caribbean starring Johnny Depp.
If you are producing a video for business meaning that it intends to be a promotional video then try and stay on brand. If it’s possible take a look at the brand values of your organisation, does the business present itself as loud, lively or brash? If so then something upbeat, modern and fast paced will be a good option to take. If, however, your business is in an industry that requires the brand to have subtlety, a caring and sensitive approach then you need to pick a track that reflects that mood that you want to create.
It’s worth looking at what is trending at the time too. TV adverts will give a good idea as to what type of music is popular at the time. There have been phases of acoustic guitar type sounds, piano music and much more. If this is on brand with your business then there is no reason why you shouldn’t jump on the bandwagon. Just be aware that if you want to use your marketing video for a sustained length of the time, the music could date quickly so be prepared for a quick re-edit with different music on a regular basis.
Unless you have a big budget or it really is key to your brand and your business, don’t go commercial if you can help it. There may be a perfect song that you have heard by your favourite artist on the radio but that doesn’t mean that you can use it to promote your product or business. In the first instance, it’s really expensive and approaching the record company or the agent of the artist will result in a hefty fee being quoted to use the track – that is even if the artist give permission for their work to be associated with your business. If you go ahead and use the track without seeking permission then it’s just going to cause a whole world of pain. Firstly, the likes of YouTube will automatically take the video down as it will detect that it’s a commercial track. They will ask for proof that you have permission to use the song and if you don’t have that then they won’t reissue the video. Secondly, if you do manage to go ahead and use the music in a video then the artist, or more likely their legal team, will come for you. At best they will ask you to remove the track immediately but at worst there could be legal action. This information from YouTube may help to understand the copyright issues surrounding videos. Any decent video production company in Birmingham or the rest of the country should be able to advise on what is the best course of action to take for your video project.
To avoid any music license issues, we use and recommend music library stock sites. There are a few to look at such as Audio Jungle and Premium Beat which have thousands of tracks that can all be purchased and used for commercial use for just a few pounds. It may take some searching but there is almost every genre of music that you can think of and royalty free music that will fit the bill. It takes the risk out of using music and the sites often give the option to search their library by instrument type, genre and even mood. They will also have lists of music that is most popular and ‘on trend’ so you can make sure that your video is in-keeping with what is out there at the current time.
Finally, spare a thought for us poor video production companies. Believe it or not but we edit videos to the pace of the music so that certain cuts will be timed to beats in the track. That’s why sometimes it’s not just a case of replacing one track with another because the beats per minute may be different or just the whole tempo of the video may be cut around a fast paced soundtrack and then it needs to be re-edited because it’s now changed to a slower style song. Okay so this may be a problem that only we, as video production companies, moan about but the pace of the video that you want is definitely something to bear in mind. If you have a video that is all about showing high energy, fast paced action then regardless of how much you like soothing violin tracks, it’s just not going to work to convey the imagery that you want. This is where it comes back to my first point of being subjective, it may not be what you like personally but if it suits the video that you have made or the audience that will be watching it, that is the most important thing to consider.
So when you are thinking about music in a video, put as much effort and thought into it that you will have put into the script, storyboard and the content. It really could make or break the success of your video.
Blog writer: Adam Snelleksz is a director of CMA Video and has worked in marketing for over 20 years. He has worked in video production in Birmingham for five years with CMA Video and has been using video for marketing for nearly 10 years. He also set up the video TV channel Blues TV, the official online channel of Birmingham City Football Club. Some of the projects that Adam has used promotional videos for include the Birmingham Half Marathon, the European Gymnastics Championships and the World BMX Championships.
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