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music in corporate videos

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David Gamradtmusic in corporate videos
by on Jun 1, 2009 at 7:36:24 pm

I just produced and edited a training video on investment swindles. Turned out great. Bossman liked it too, so that's a bonus. He recommended that I add music through the video. That got me to thinking - what guidelines and recommendations are there for adding music into a video?

I know I'll add some music when our criminal talks about how he did his crime or talks about when he was on the run. But I thought I'd ask you experts for a few helpful tips and/or tricks as well.

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Mark SuszkoRe: music in corporate videos
by on Jun 1, 2009 at 8:44:03 pm

Wall-to-wall music is a mistake, generally. Use it as a spice, not the entree. I like to have the same theme at the front and back title sections and credits. If you have chapters or sections, they can have a distinct but related theme. Or have the same musical figure presage an important plot or bullet point each time it comes up. Audience will associate the tone/music with the bullet points and this helps them notice and ertain the important copy points. In the case of your project, every time the story talks about places in the timeline where internal standards and checks and balances were violated, a little musical figure could help define those mistakes.

Keep the music tracks separate, and when you archive the master and elements, keep versions where the vocal and music and effects tracks are all separate, because one of the things changed most often is the music. So CYA there and have versions backed up without the music.

When using music under people speaking, you can EQ or filter the music so it is weakest in the sonic registers where most human voice lives; that way, your voices are not fighting the music to be heard.

Picking music is hard. Picking music that serves the story, works for the target audiience, and still passes the client's approval is hard. Just becasue you love a particular kind of music, don't let that be the only guide for choosing it.

Try to avoid sound-alikes of contemporary pop songs because these age very quickly and make the video old and dated before it's time.

Use legal music, pay for needle-drop pre-cleared music, hire a real musician to compose for you, or use one of the loop-based music products to customize a piece for your needs that's also copyright-compliant. I am a huge fan of SonicFire Pro, myself; with it, you can set the length to fit the scene exactly, keyworsd guide you thru explaining to the comp0uter what kinds of feelings and moods and speeds you want, even specify the moods and mood changes to hit on key frames, add hits for certain key frames, and it does everything for you, you need not have any musical skill. Though if you HAVE music skills, you can add to the distinctiveness by moving some of the musical "Lego blocks" around to customize further. Acid and Garage Band can also be used, GB needs a bit more musical skill, I feel, to be used this way. SonicFire by comparison is completely idiot-proof.

Once you add music, you may find you have to do a bit of re-editing to fit the footage and pace of edits to the rythms of the music. Not necesssarily to hit on every beat with a camera change, but you may need to give some scenes more or less room to "breathe" and let the music do it's thing. If the clients then change the music on you, it may no longer fit correctly and so you'll have to tweak it all again with the new music. Which is another reason to archive versions with separate tracks you can turn on and off...

Take the time to cut the music and back-time it correctly, meaning, it's better to let a piece of music finish naturally, timed to end simultaneously at the end of the shot, than to just fade a piece down or cut it off in mid-phrase, to fit time, which is very jarring.

Such little nuances distinguish your work from someone who's more careless, as well as making everything feel more finished and polished.

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Tim FrechetteRe: music in corporate videos
by on Jun 2, 2009 at 2:46:25 pm

Excellent post. Thank you.

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David GamradtRe: music in corporate videos
by on Jun 2, 2009 at 7:31:23 pm

well informed... thanks for sharing the information.

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Neil MyersRe: music in corporate videos
by on Jan 12, 2010 at 3:08:27 am

We use music in all of our corporate videos. What I have found is:

1. Start the music and then bring it WAY down to allow the voice over plenty of headroom. Bring it down more than you think.

2. Bring it back up during transitions and titles. It helps to accentuate the transitions.

3. Most of the stock libraries allow really good searching tools. That makes it easy to match the music to the subject.

4. Look for music that ends well ... something that can punctuate the ending.

5. I usually put two tracks of music ... one starts at the beginning and the other timed to end just right. Then I play around to find the best place to have them meet in the middle. Usually I find a place where the music is really low and the VO is louder so you cannot notice the transition.

One thing I have found is that you have a lot of leeway on mating the two ... the viewer never notices the cut.

If you are not sure, try doing all of this and then watch your video both ways. I personally find the video had more energy and purpose once it has music.

Neil Myers
Connect Public Relations
CS4 Master Suite, 3DS

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