This article is written by the Video Collective.
In these times when the economy is shrinking, jobs and opportunities have become scarce. Freelancing is more difficult than ever. Now, more than ever, it is important to be efficient and streamline your processes as much as possible.
Minimising how long you spend on a project can free up time to find the next job and hunt down that next opportunity. Given the circumstances, we also imagine a lot of you are perhaps re-cutting old footage or working on stock footage based projects right now (good thinking)!
We know from first-hand experience that picking the right track for your film can be one of the most time-consuming parts of any project. It can be many painful, eye-watering hours before you finally find the right one. Trust us, we’ve been there.
That’s actually why we started to use Epidemic Sound in the first place! And now, we want to share our knowledge in how to pick the perfect track for all kinds of video projects with you.
Define your vision
Picking the right track is all about narrowing down your options and honing in on a certain target.
One of the best ways you can do this is to define your vision during pre-production. Before you hit the big red button and start rolling, you need to ensure you know what you’re going to be shooting.
For example, you’re shooting a commercial for a well-known sports brand. It’s focused on an athlete running through the streets of New York. The video is going to be fast-paced with slick, quick cuts and lots of animation. This means that similarly, you’re going to be searching for a piece of music that has a fast tempo. It brings the adrenaline and the beats match the fast-paced nature of the edit.
Alternatively, you may be editing a piece from your long-distance trek through New Zealand’s South Island. The shots will be long and drawn out, allowing your audience to drink in the beautiful mountain views, the fjords and the waterfalls. For this, you’ll want to find a slower-paced piece that’s relaxing. Something that suits the peaceful nature of the video.
Know what your video is before you shoot. That way, when it comes to the edit, you’ll have a great idea about what type of music you want to use. By using the steps outlined below, you may even be able to find the exact track beforehand. This can really help when shooting for certain projects.
Analyse the edit
Once you’ve jumped into the edit, you can then analyse the footage and begin to piece it together. You’ll quickly build up a rough idea of what the finished piece is going to look like.
Look at where the cuts will be and how often. If it’s the athlete running through the streets of New York, you’ll find that you need to keep the tempo high and this means the cuts will come quick and fast, jumping from one shot to the next, buzzing with adrenaline. This indicates that you may want to be searching for a track with a high, fast-paced tempo. You’ll need a lot of frequent beats to make those cuts.
Also look at the colour and tones of the footage too. If it’s the long-distance trek in New Zealand, the colour palette may be cold, dark and moody. This indicates that you’re probably going to be looking for something more drawn out - slower in pace and more relaxing.
There are other factors you should bear in mind. If there’s a lot of talking, you might want to consider a piece of music that’s quite mellow and not too loud or overbearing. You want to be able to hear what’s being said. If it’s an action piece, then loud and brash can work well.
All of these different indicators will reflect the choices you made in pre-production and together, all of this information combines to give you an excellent starting point about what type of music you’re going to be looking for.
It’s now time to jump into the Epidemic Sound music library.
Search a keyword
Using the search bar, you can type in a word that best matches what you’re looking for. For example, if you’re looking for a track that suits the fast-paced adrenaline of the running commercial in New York City, you might search ‘city’, or ‘running’.
Similarly, for the slower paced long-distance trek in New Zealand, you could search ‘hiking’ or ‘nature’. See what comes up.
Refine and filter
Once the search results come up, you can refine and filter them to get you closer to where you want to be. For example, you can sort by ‘mood’. Do you want restless, epic or busy & frantic?
Or you could sort by genre. There’s hip-hop, 2010’s pop, action, electro and much, much more. Furthermore, you can sort by the length of the piece and BPM (beats per minute). Anything with a high BPM may indicate that it will suit your running commercial. Anything with a lower BPM may work for the hiking video.
Alternatively, you could search a specific instrument - piano, drums or guitar. This will bring up all the songs that primarily feature this instrument. You can then filter through with mood and genre.
Mood and genre
Alternatively, rather than using the keyword search bar, you can click ‘browse’ and then select what you’re looking for through mood and genre. There’s a wide selection in both categories that can help you find exactly what you’re looking for.
Look at albums
You’ll also notice that when you search something like ‘piano’ or ‘hip hop’, we’ll recommend a few different album choices to you. These can be really useful.
Each album contains a playlist put together by ourselves or one of our contributing creators. All of these tracks will revolve around a certain type of mood, genre or subject.
For example, running, cities, nature, or relaxing, slow piano.
Use the ‘find similar’ button
The ‘find similar’ button can be your best friend. Even if your search results don’t give you that exact track you have in mind, you may find a song that is along the right lines. Perhaps it has the right tempo and beat but you don’t like the vocals.
By clicking the ‘find similar’ button, our music library will then give you a variety of similar tracks to listen to and through that, you may just find the one!
Whenever searching our music library, we recommend putting together your own playlists. This can really help you in future searches for later projects.
For example, if you’re editing lots of different property shoots, you may want a ‘property shoot playlist’. The more playlists you have for specific vibes and specific jobs, the easier it becomes to find the right track for your film.
We hope that all of these tips help you in finding the perfect track for your video! Essentially, it’s a constant process of using the tools to narrow down your options until eventually, you arrive at your destination. That winning track will bring your whole project to life.
Video Collective is a FREE UK Film & TV Job board. Whether you need professional freelance crew for a shoot or are looking for Film & TV jobs then check out our website. Made by freelancers, for freelancers.