When someone chooses to click play on your video content you have the opportunity to transport them, so selecting the right music is essential. While some will disagree with us, we believe that music choice is the most critical (and often most forgotten) part of the video production arsenal.
Music, carefully selected and used well, will make the viewer feel something in a way that all the other tools we have can’t.
The best way to get a sense of this is to watch this video, which uses exact duplicates of absolutely every piece of production … except for music.
I’ve seen people watch that sequence and feel tricked or misled, some people insist on watching it over and over trying to pick the other differences … but simply the only variable is the music.
For me, the response is in my gut, while my brain is doing some calculations about what the music is providing clues for, I feel something different each time. And that’s the very power of music in video.
So, how can you harness this magical power to evoke a more emotional response from your viewer?
First you need to identify what you want your viewer to feel.
This usually isn’t one thing (unless it’s a very short video) sometime’s we’ll use two or three tracks in a video (sometimes more). When TV Promo producers cut a 30-second promo for a TV show, you’re likely to hear 3 or 4 or 5 different music tracks, depending on the content and what the producer wants you to feel. (We should know, some of our team has a background in promos.)
This emotion could be something like ‘uplifting’ or ‘inspiring’ it could also be something like ‘contemplative’, ‘exciting’, or even ‘sad’.
A great honour that editors have is having the control of the emotion of the viewers in their hands so that emotional journey is led by the music choices.
Here are some simple examples of what we’ve done with this.
Here, we wanted this ‘staff profile video’ to feel warm and relaxed and endearing. We were looking to help create a feeling that you were getting to know him over a cuppa. In this instance, we hope you agree the music helps build the sense that he is a relaxed, warm advisor who can be trusted.
Whereas, in this example, we’re looking to produce an excited, edgy and cool feel that would give a sense that the presenters had an extra insight into the future.
Second, you need to begin the hunt for tracks that achieve that objective.
This is a simple and yet an often time-consuming task. Music libraries are vast and it’s a real skill to find the right keywords to find the tracks you’re after. We use a range of libraries for our work, and have subscriptions to them so that we can grab a handful of different options and try them out in an edit to see what will work best with the rhythm of the cut and the flow of the story.
If you aren’t looking to spend thousands of dollars subscribing to music libraries, there are plenty that will allow you to purchase a single track for a small fee.
Third and finally, you need to craft your selections so they drive, your video edit.
Yes, drive … like you would a car – steering the viewer in the direction you want them to feel.
This is often the most challenging and rewarding part of an edit, the opportunity to really craft the emotion and the way the viewer feels with the music and the way it intertwines with the visuals and the words that are spoken.
Branding with Music
It’s often said that ‘Branding’ is about far more than just a logo, you already know that, but it’s important when considering music for video marketing that you take into consideration what fits the brand best.
While companies like Branthem Creative will craft a soundtrack for your brand, if you’re looking to do volumes of content, a musical style may become relevant.
In this example, Principle Design asked us to create a series of unique video content pieces with a very specific music brief to align with the brand and to help create a specifically designed experience for people visiting the website. (Not what you might usually expect from a construction company.)
This is what makes video such a remarkable storytelling medium, in my opinion. And what makes it the most extraordinary tool in the marketer’s toolkit. The unique combination of being able to deliver spoken word, imagery and or text to communicate a practical or easily digestible message, while pairing it with an evocative musical soundtrack to drive the emotion of the viewer is only available in this one medium – motion picture.
The fact that technology in the last 10-15 years has brought professionally produced video down to virtually everyone’s budget, means we’re in a wonderful moment in time for marketers to Lasoo this beast and start making the most of it!
The Return of Silent Movies
Many have speculated that with social media UX dictating that videos are automatically previewed in a feed without sound (Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn etc) that there is a return to silent movies, and that the soundtrack is less important now than it had been.
We think a little differently.
While we embrace the approach of making content for social media more immediately visual to capture the attention of the ‘scroller’, we consider their act of stopping and turning on the sound, pausing to engage with the video content a great indulgence on their behalf. Something that should be respected and celebrated, and rewarded with magnificent soundscapes and music that will help transport them into the video content.