Finding Suitable Music For Your Film Or Video Production
From home movies and stunt videos shot with just an iphone, to profesionally produced short films, the content on video sharing web sites keeps growing rapidly. A plethora of videos on just about any subject can be found quickly in searches. The choice of flicks beckoning you to watch them are often vast. Some people see putting their movies online as a chance at attaining a bit of fame (or infamy), many even hoping that maybe their video will go viral. Many of these videos are of pretty average quality, and many have really bad audio. On a bit of a higher level than some of these amateur videos is the semi-pro short film. Not quite in the same league as a major budget Hollywood production, but hopefully very watchable and of good overall quality. One thing that most videos benefit from is the use of appropriately chosen music. Using music in video and film can really set the tone and the mood, and add interest to the experience of watching.
If you want your video or movie to be successful, it needs to have something to set it apart from the others in competition to it, and therefore attract viewers. Using well chosen music can certainly be of assistance in attaining this goal. Ask yourself “what is it about your particular video that will attract people to start watching it, and then ultimately watch it through to it’s completion without getting bored?” You don’t want potential viewers flicking to the next video half way through watching yours! Having a good sound track can really help to capture peoples’ attention and their imagination. Most people love music, and often half the pleasurable experience of watching a video is in the hearing of the sound. This can include music, foley and sound effects. Videos and movies with good audio will attract more viewers. It can be a great idea to have some kind of musical soundtrack or bed music in your movie. However, just using a song by your favorite artist, may cause you more trouble than it’s worth, because in doing so you are likely to be breaching copyright, and may even run the risk of having the video removed from circulation. With the crack down on copyright breaches and more vigilant copyright policing, it is a wise move to be sure you have the legitimate right to use any music before you put it in your video.
If you do want to use a particular song by a famous artist, you often need to clear the use of this music with a number of sources. You need to find out who controls the rights to the music, and negotiate with them to use it. This can be both expensive and time consuming. An alternative is to find bands or artists online who are looking to promote their music. You may find music that you like by artists who are just happy to see their music in use somewhere for the exposure it may gain them. If you do find something you think is suitable, contact the artist or their publisher and tell them what you are trying to do, while asking them if you can use their music in your video or film. You will still need to be sure that you have some kind of contract agreement with them that spells out what you are going to use the music for, what you intend to do with it, and define any cost or license terms and agreements so that both parties are covered.
Another alternative is to get a composer to create something specifically for your film or video. Established composers are likely to charge you for this service, and their rates can vary considerably depending on their level of experience or expertise. The best and most experienced ones are likely to charge fairly heavily for this, so that may rule them out for you. However, you can also often find composers who are just starting out and are wanting to get their music heard. Many will do this either for free or cheaply. This may be viewed by them as a chance for exposure or to gain experience. Both parties need to carefully define what their expectations are, and a contract or agreement should be written out covering these expectations.
A third alternative to finding music for your video is to use royalty-free music. This music has been created, published and licensed for use in videos, movies, films, games, TV shows, gaming, and other mulimedia applications, and grants you license to use it. The use of royalty free music can be a practical solution for solving any difficulties surrounding music use and copyright issues. Finding royalty-free music and downloading it to use is far quicker, and often much cheaper than the previously mentioned choices. Whether the videos, movies or other productions are professional or amateur ones, you can legitimately obtain suitable music that is royalty-free and use it in your creations. The music does still have copyrights, but you are given license to use it when you download it. The best royalty-free music libraries have tracks available for download, that can be used anywhere, in any production, and as many times as you like. The good ones are also easy to search when looking for music, in the genre or style you want, and you can quickly and simply play previews of the music on offer. Once you have found a suitable song, you pay a small fee for the license to use that particular track. You download it, and it’s your’s to use in your video, film, game, or multi-media apllication. This leaves you with no worries around copyrights and infringements, and with no ongoing additional costs. Using royalty-free music can be an affordable solution for getting good quality music for video or film. Royalty-free music libraries such as the Rocksuresoundz.com site have separate licenses available for both commercial or non-commercial productions. Non-commercial licenses are cheaper than commercial ones, and therefore it doesn’t matter if your production is one with money-making potential, or is a private or non-commercial one, there are royalty-free license options to cover your particular needs.
The one disadvantage of using pre-created music is that if you are making a film where you want music changes or accents to co-incide with camera shots or cuts is the issue of timing. Because the music already has a set pattern to it, it may be difficult to co-ordinate the music with the changes in shots. An accent in the music may not fall precisely where a desired accent in the video falls. Therefore, a fourth good alternative, particularly for longer movie or short film productions, and one that may be particularly applicable where budget is an issue, is to use a mixture of royalty-free music in places where the timing issues are not so critical, and music specifically composed for your film in places where the timing of accents, changes in scene etc are more important. You can then create a soundtrack for your video that works throughout.
Wherever you decide to get your music from, it is important to have contract agreements or licenses that clearly define and cover the requirements of all parties involved, and leave no doubts as to what can and can’t be done with the music. This will hopefully leave you with peace of mind, and won’t lead to difficulties further down the line when your film or video is released. For most video production needs the use of royalty-free music is the simplest solution, but for film needs you may need to also use some specially composed pieces to suit the movie.
By Tony Koretz
© copyright April 2012