5 tips on making the perfect music selection for your video

If there’s one thing that can ruin a perfectly acted and edited scene, it’s the music. You don’t want to make any mistakes with your music selection.

Tip 1: Consider the right genre, instrumentation and dynamic range

Start off by basing your music picks on genre, instrumentation and dynamic range. Look at your scene and evaluate its traits. Is it fast-paced or is it slow and emotional? Is it fluid or cinematic. Determine the pace of the scene.

Considering genre, instrumentation and their time periods (which also affect the mood of your scenes) will help you pick the right tunes.

Tip 2: Think about rhythm and tempo

Rhythm and tempo aren’t just for music. Video editing also relies on well-crafted rhythm. For example, you can line up video cuts with a track’s drum beat to add an extra level of intensity.

You can even edit out sections of a song to make sure it fits with your video’s timing. Use only the parts that you need.

Tip 3: Use conflicting time periods when appropriate

While cohesion is always sought after, a project can be really spiced up when it’s backing track acts as a counterpoint.

Just think of how “A Knight’s Tale” use counterpoint. In the opening of the film, it paired medieval crowds watching a joust chanting along to Queen’s “We Will Rock You.” What could have been an average opening turned into something spectacular.

The "We Will Rock You" scene from “A Knight’s Tale” is a great use of counterpoint
The “We Will Rock You” scene from “A Knight’s Tale” is a great use of counterpoint. Image courtesy Sony Pictures.

Tip 4: Work with diegetic and non-diegetic music

When it comes down to it, music is still a sound. You can place it anywhere and need to decide its dynamic range.

When you use diegetic music, it is used to humanize your video’s world. It gives character to the location. Non-diegetic sound and music are not part of a scene’s world. These provide a dramatic effect that changes the mood of a scene.

Tip 5: Ask yourself these questions

There are many questions that you need to answer when picking the best music for your project. These are a few that are crucial to your picks:

  • Is your selection arbitrary or based on trendiness?
  • Does the music resonate with or enhance your video?
  • Would silence be more effective at any points?

There always needs to be a reason behind the music you pick. Your video has a story and music needs to help tell it, not act as a playlist. It’s also important to know that you don’t always need music in every corner of your project. Sometimes, no music at all is best.

We hope these tips will help you with your music selection. If you want to have a more in-depth look at how you should be picking your music, check out “How to Choose the Right Music for Your Next Video.”

Image courtesy Unsplash and Sony Pictures

Sean Berry
Sean Berry
Sean Berry is Videomaker's managing editor.

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