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Choosing Music for your Video

I often find that when I add the music track to a video the whole thing comes alive. Choosing the right piece of music is crucial – you can make it or break it. Sometimes choosing the right piece of music is the thing that takes the longest because I want to get it just right. Music touches the soul – it has a way of evoking feelings in your viewers. And it’s the emotion which will motivate the audience into action. So if you get the music right you’re on your way to making a video which creates the impact you want and the right response.

I always make sure I listen to the client’s ideas. Some have a strong idea of what they want and what will work well. Some business owners have a favourite genre. I follow their lead. At the end of the day it’s their company they’re presenting and they know their brand best. 

Many clients give me free reign. So this is how I choose: It has to be appropriate to the message. I consider what feelings does the video needs to evoke in the viewer: peace of mind, relief from stress, positive, exciting, forward-thinking, action…On music library sites you can search by mood. 

You can also search by instrumentation. A full orchestra sounds grand. Perfect for accompanying shots of prestigious buildings. Acoustic guitars and indie vocals work well for campsite promo vids, for example, where campers are chilling out. It will help viewers feel the mellow vibes and join in with the whole experience.

Titles at the beginning and end captions/logos need a good clean punchy sting or a gentle fade which appropriately matches the message of the video.

I often use quiet music in the background of interviews. This keeps the video moving and provides continuity throughout. Volume is increased when talking stops. It’s best to avoid a piece with a strong drum beat. This can distract from the speech.

How to source music is a big consideration. I avoid commercial music which can be very expensive to license. 

If a company has the budget music can be commissioned specially. It’s easier to negotiate rights to use this music and it works well if we’re making a series. Unique music gives a series its own identity. Otherwise, library music offers a massive choice and good value. I don’t go for free tracks – these will be over-used and will make your video like thousands of others.

Finally, I always give the client the option suggest changes. We work on the video until everyone’s happy and it tells exactly the story that’s intended.

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Talking Head Videos – Pros and Cons

There are dozens of different ways to present your business on video. An interview with a person is a massively popular choice. But are we getting bored of the classing “talking head”?

Well, there are some solid reasons why they work.

  1. It’s personal. Business is about people – meeting a need – a transaction between people. We choose who we work with and we need to know they are human. So much is conveyed through that personal presence – the tone, ethos, vision, care, professionalism and so on.
  1. Research shows that we tune in to a face much more easily than to graphics or other images. There’s something about a human face that actually draws our attention. What’s more, when looking at another human being, we automatically copy their facial expressions. Smile on camera and your audience will instinctively smile back. This then creates the feelings in them. You are influencing how they feel. And it’s the feelings that will generate a response. You’ve created connection.
  1. Explanations. Sometimes your product or service needs an explanation. You’re company’s unique and so are you, right? So an explanation of what you offer is the best way to communicate what other companies don’t.
  1. Story. Beautiful shots of your product or premises will go so far but the story behind why you created them will add so much more and give your audience extra reasons to engage in the experience you’re offering. I t creates a deeper empathy and connects on a deeper level.
  1. An interview is straight forward compared to other filming and it can be pulled together relatively quickly. Therefore the production costs are lower.

The Cons

  1. Talking heads can be same-y. We’re a bit too familiar with them and everyone’s doing them. This is particularly obvious if an interview is done badly. Too long lingering on one static shot; explanations far too waffly and all about the person speaking. The way to deal with this is to mix it up. B-roll footage, stills and captions help keep the video moving. Or cut between speakers. Speakers need to remember what they are aiming to do – create connection and engage the audience. Keep it relevant. Empathise with them and offer help.
  1. They can be too long. Online videos are mostly watched on smart phones or tables while people are on the go. They will switch off if it goes on. I always thing that less is more. Mae your point and leave it at that.
  1. Show don’t tell. We’re more likely to believe you have good customer service if we see that in action rather than being told. True. Additional footage offers a lot her. Mix it up and use it well.

So there are pros and cons. All things considered, talking heads still have a lot to offer and nothing really beats a personal interview. But it’s essential to do it well. Happy filming! And watch out for my next article on what questions to ask in an Interview.

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