This a guest post from Alibhe McNeela, Content & Communications Manager at Epidemic Sound.
Want to know the secret that directors, television producers and many YouTubers know about creating more engaging videos?
Music is a universal language and helps to tell stories. If you are creating video, you need to use music to better convey the message you want your audience to feel. Not only will the production feel more complete, but it will keep your audience engaged.
Music Builds Relationships
One of the main reasons to use music is how well it builds a relationship with your audience. Think about the music you listened to a decade or more ago – if you listen to it today, you STILL remember the lyrics, the tune and memories associated with it. It’s a combination of repetition, connections, rhyme and pattern. Read more on why we remember music so well here. That same effect can translate into your videos by using a reoccurring song or jingle.
Why Use Music
The reason why music is so pervasive in society is because it makes us FEEL things. A jingle in an ad conveys a happy thought. Spooky music in a thriller builds tension. Orchestral music in action games make it feel more real. When you’re creating video content, you convey the majority of the message through dialogue and images on screen. In order to truly complete the scene, finding music that tells the story is the final piece. Witness Rocky doing a training montage without the music. It’s clear WHAT he’s doing, but the scene will connect with you better with the addition of music.
How to Select Music
In order to find the right music for your video, decide what you want to convey. Happy scenes require upbeat and cheery music. An action scene requires something dramatic. Video gamers may want something ominous and instrumental. No matter what music you use, it will have a direct impact on the video. In the video below, you will witness the power of music and how it affects the scene. Notice how the entire mood changes from serious, to comedic to depressing.
One of the things that Epidemic Sound does is group music on ‘feeling’. It makes it INCREDIBLY easy to find music that helps tell your story. Some of the emotional categories that we group music under include: Angry, Dark, Dreamy, Eccentric, Epic, Euphoric, Fear, Funny, Glamorous, Happy, Hopeful, Laid Back, Mysterious, Peaceful, Quirky, Relaxing, Restless, Romantic, Sad, Scary, Sentimental, Sexy, Suspense, and Weird. Not only does it save you time, but it gives you a ton of options to quickly find the perfect music for your scene.
How to Use Music
Now that we’ve established the importance of music, you’re probably wondering just how to use music in your videos. Here are some tips when you are editing your video:
- Music should be the background of a scene. The volume of the music should be quieter than your quietest dialogue in the video.
- Music should be highlighting something. Have the high points in video hit the high points in your music.
- Knowing when to bring the volume up/down is crucial. While music tells the remaining 10% of a story, sometimes a scene SHOULDN’T have music at all. If there’s nothing to build in a scene, don’t use music at that point.
- One track does not fit all. Many YouTubers use the same audio track over and over. This is useful for videos that are similar in nature – such as unboxings, tech reviews, and makeup tutorials. Videos that vary require their own music and can actually suffer if you use the same music repeatedly.
- Don’t settle on music. Find a track that perfectly tells your story. “Good enough” should not enter your vocabulary.
- In addition to music, consider sound effects. Depending on the kind of video you’re creating, it can either be something passive like dogs barking in the background or crickets chirping or if you’re a vlogger, it can be something that helps with jump cuts./hit a joke.
Alibhe McNeela, Content & Communications Manager at Epidemic Sound, the largest and fastest growing production music library in the world.