Creating a promotional video isn’t much different than making movies, and much of that can be traced to the emotional connection between image and music. If you’re soon planning a promotional video, you may be frustrated when you see how flat your initial footage is without any soundtrack to accompany it. But then, you shouldn’t be shocked, because the greatest movies ever made had the same problem. When you play any iconic scene in a movie without its famous background music, it becomes something else entirely. In most cases, those scenes fall flat if even becoming boring.
While that should never knock screenwriters, using the appropriate music in your promotional video complements an excellent script. Like alchemy, they create a blend that brings a variety of complex emotions within just minutes.
Before you choose the right music, though, you’ll need to think about licensing issues. Then you can focus on the theme of your promotional video and the musical context.
While you can find public domain music around the net, some of it may be overly generic or not generate the kind of emotions you want to convey. It’s always easier to find songs that people remember so you’re guaranteed to rekindle certain memories in viewers. Then again, if you have an astute sense of merging music with image, you might be able to use a generic piece of music to garner emotion after some editing.
Many companies want to make things easier and use familiar music. In the case of using a copyrighted song in a proliferating video, you’ll need a master use license. These are obtainable direct from record companies who own the rights to the actual recording. Royalty rates will be determined by contract in this scenario with expenses varying depending on how valuable the recording is.
Finding the Right Use for the Music
You have to find the emotion in the content you’re filming to find out how your song will work in context. Emotion in promotional videos can vary and have different nuances that might not be completely known without aid of music. It’s why you should try out various pieces of music in the context of a scene to see what the impact is with each one.
Also remember that you shouldn’t look at the use of music from your own perspective. Try to think of the viewer and how they’d react to the music used. Would the use of a song from a particular era really resonate with your demographic, or would it make your company look too archaic?
Experimenting with Different Uses of the Music
In the editing room, you’ll want to try different ways of using the music in various scenes to conjure the right feeling. Some promo videos use complete songs over the opening or closing credits. Other times, a piece of music or famous song will have to play during dialogue scenes. The latter case may have to involve editing the music so it fits into an allotted time. Don’t be afraid to do this if you have licensing rights so you capture just the right emotion.
Keep in mind that certain popular songs might be so popular that they override your company message. You also might frustrate viewers if you cut out a portion of a very popular song to fit a scene. That’s why it’s perhaps a good idea to pick a piece of music or song that hasn’t been heard in a while. This way, you can create something fresh while still bringing a sense of the familiar for the right emotional balance.