Why selecting music for your video is important

Music is an important element of video content, as it influences human emotions.

It can provoke a wide range of feelings from its audience, create rhythm for the scenes and help epitomise the film’s overall story. Music adds to the viewers’ experience of a video, whether it is a three-minute brand video, a social media reel, a TV advert, or a feature length film. 

Therefore, it is important to consider music when planning your video, in the same way you consider key messages, location, who should be included and the like. The music selected needs to be befitting of your brand, the topic of the film and its key messages. Ask yourself what response you want to elicit when people watch your video.

Grab attention with music 

High impact music is often combined with dramatic footage. Think about watching a film in the cinema, music always grabs you and makes you watch more closely. It also impacts on how you feel, whether it’s happy, sad, sympathetic, or even scared. Equally most memorable radio adverts are due to a catchy jingle that creates an emotional connection. 

Finding the right music can be a long process of trial and error, but an experienced video editor should be able to streamline the process, whether you’re relying on free-to-use audio, a paid-for music library or licensing a mainstream hit.

Getting the right tone 

Music creates the vibe and energy of your film and can help evoke the emotional connection you desire from the video with your audience. You may require a high tempo beat to energise people, or a contemplative, slower soundtrack for a more sensitive topic. 

Music will set the tone for your film and subconsciously help people understand quickly whether it is a positive, fun or serious video. 

This can be a challenge on sensitive topics. Get it right and it could help increase engagement, understanding and result in action or change. Get it wrong and it could be damaging for your brand, with viewers being turned off or even offended. 

Examples of music in video 

A good example of using music sensitively to evoke emotion in viewers is a film we produced for Standing with Giants. It is a voluntary community project that creates large art installations for people to experience and reflect on, while raising funds for worthy causes. 

Our Civil Aviation Authority approved drone operator and head videographer Thom Airs filmed A Walk of Remembrance’, by Standing with Giants at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire in November 2022. The installation consisted of 400 life-size soldiers, sailors and airmen and 250 poppy wreaths in the grounds of the prestigious manor. It was its largest installation to date in the UK and created a moving statement of commemoration and reflection in tribute to those who gave their lives. Visitors were invited to donate to the Royal British Legion.

The installation was incredibly moving,” said Thom. Filming with a drone enabled us to portray the scale of the installation and having a real-life model was powerful for making a human connection. 

We felt a great responsibility to do the installation justice and communicate it with the tone and respect the subject matter deserved. 

With no on-screen graphics or spoken words, music choice was vitally important, and I’m very glad the client was pleased with the finished result. 

Matching the music’s pace with the slow, deliberate movements of the drone took time and plenty of adjustment in the edit, but it’s always worth paying particular attention to this part of the process.”

While at the other end of the scale a good example of using upbeat, high-energy music as a break from the norm on a corporate video is a film, we recently produced to encourage people to use Oxford’s Park&Ride service. 

The objective was to create a high-impact short video for use on social media that grabbed attention and helped drive awareness of the service. To achieve this, we used 360 camera to produce unique content of a Park&Ride bus travelling into Oxford. 

We included drone footage of the city and added drum and bass music to the film to maximise the high-impact and high energy feeling that was required to fit with the fast footage and the need to grab attention. 

This was outside the normal style of content the group of stakeholders, consisting of Oxford County Council, Oxford City Council, Oxford Bus Company and Stagecoach would use in a typical corporate video. However, in this instance with the objective of grabbing attention on social media and raising awareness of the service it was suitable and highly effective. 

This video demonstrates there is a time and a place for different styles of content and accompanying music,” said Thom. The client gave us a degree of creative freedom to help produce a film that was attention grabbing on social media. Once we had the footage in place, we knew we needed modern and upbeat music that could stand up to the pace of the scenes and hold the viewer.”

Video music selection process 

While music is considered during the planning process, often the actual selection usually happens during the post-production process. At this stage the editor has the footage and a stronger view on the content and the shape of the film. It is then easier to match a soundtrack to the structure, scene changes and moments of high impact. This gives the video better continuity and seamless flow.

Thom has shared his top considerations he asks himself when selecting music for a video: 

What is the primary and secondary objectives of the video?

This should be agreed and defined at the start of the planning process and will help ensure your music choice complements the key objectives and messages of the video.

Who is the target audience?

Understanding the demographic of your audience is important and is a key consideration in selecting your video’s soundtrack. It will help you match your music choice to their interests.

What are the brand’s values?

Understanding brand values is important before planning and filming a video and this consideration must also be applied to the choice of music. A disruptive tech company would probably use very different music from a child healthcare charity, for example. 

What is the tone of the video?

An initial video planning workshop and brief will help define the mood of the film. As outlined above make sure the pace and vibe of the music fits the footage, brand and objective of the video. For example, a video for an accountancy firm may require a simple, light soundtrack, whereas a promotional video for a football match would likely need an energetic, rousing piece of music that provokes a sense of belonging. 

What is the budget?

At Fortitude we hold licences with two vast music libraries (Epidemic Sound and Envato Elements), giving us access to a wide variety of songs across all genres that are cleared for commercial use. For commissions with bigger budgets, licensing a well-known song from an established band or artist is also possible, and we’re happy to do the leg work to make that a reality.

We are here to help 

At Fortitude our video team can help you plan, produce and distribute your video content. We make sure every element of the process is taken care of. If you would like to have a chat about video production, please get in touch here.

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