In a nutshell what is music in video?

Music in video is, first and foremost, the soundtrack to your film. However, it is also so much more than that. It is essential for creating atmosphere, illustrating plot development, manipulating viewers’ emotions and that’s just for starters. A video without music is telling only half the story.

Naturally, there are many rules about what music you can and cannot use in your films or video.  You will need to license the music that you use; as a general rule the more popular the song the more expensive it is to license.

You can speak to PRS for music or PPL, who offer blanket licensing for a fee. Naturally, this all depends on what resources you have available. For those on a lower budget, unlicensed music is available to use for free – lots of it is of high quality and may in fact be just the thing you’re looking for. There are many websites where you can find music that has been made specifically for video and TV such as Premium Beat and Audio Network.  The most important thing is to do your research.

Picture of Sound mixer

What specialist equipment, expertise or processes are involved?

There is no additional specialist equipment needed to add music to your film, but there are certain processes needed in the postproduction stages.

Sound mixing is the process of changing levels of the music so it fits within the film and creates the correct ebb and flow of sound to fit the narrative and pace of the action and dialogue.  The music track can also be edited and sections removed or added in so it fits more accurately with the pace of the video.

Why should I consider using music in my video production?

Music is arguably an essential element in any type of film production. Choosing the correct type of music and using it in the most effective way can greatly boost an audience’s both enjoyment and understanding of the film.

It grabs attention, it provokes emotion and suspense; in a nutshell, it keeps the audience hooked in a way that dialogue and aesthetic alone simply cannot.

Naturally, the style of its use will change depending on the genre of the video; for example, in adverts, fast-paced music is often used to grab the viewers’ attention.  Also there is a editing technique known as ‘cutting on the beat’ where the editing matches the beat of the music, with visual and audio combining to engage the viewer.

The psychological impact of music on the brain and the manner in which it is able to increase our enjoyment and understanding of any kind of visual media cannot be over stated. It is a powerful advertising tool which we are exposed to daily.

Microphone on white background, vintage, silver.

When wouldn’t music be ideal for my video production?

Music is used in almost all video productions. An example of where music isn’t so ideal, for instance, would be a talk show or any kind of discussion-based format, as music can draw the viewers’ attention away from the topic under discussion.

In summary

Music is a great and often essential tool in video production. It has many benefits from heightening emotion and suspense, creating character empathy or immediately grabbing the attention of the viewer.  The main question you will need to ask yourself when selecting your music is whether the track will fit with the subject matter.

However, with a sound understanding of your genre, intended audience and the general ambience you wish to create you should be well on your way by the time you come to choose tracks. Perhaps the most important thing is not to rush into a choice – you have spent a great deal of time and effort in getting your video to the stages of fruition; it’s just as important to make sure the finishing touches are perfect.