25th October 2019

Video production: It all starts with music

Music is the framework on which a video is built.

Everything must work with the music, even the copy. Some agencies will bolt on music at the final stage as an afterthought – and it shows.

But not at Silver.

How the big boys do it

In a previous life I was a producer at Brian Banks Music, working with agencies such as Ogilvy & Mather, BBDO and Mattel to provide music for the likes of Mercedes, iShares, CDW and yes, Barbie. These were million dollar campaigns where the music was bespoke and evolved with the development of the ad spot.

For these gloriously successful campaigns, music was involved at the very earliest stages of production, admittedly with a temporary (temp) track which sometimes has its own challenges.

Three tips for a great video

  • The video must match the music style, energy and mood (obviously)
  • Copy should be written to the music as if it were spoken rap. Syllables count, this is poetry. Or at least should aim to be
  • Voice should be recorded with the music – cadence matters most of all!

I know it when I hear it

I may be preaching to the choir, but I can watch a high production B2B video and just tell when the music was bolted on last. To paraphrase Supreme Court Justice, Potter Stewart, “I know it when I hear it”. We all cut corners – sometimes we have to – but all these small things add up to make big differences.

Don’t get lazy

One more thing. Budgets sometimes can’t stretch to custom, bespoke music. In these cases, we license it from music libraries. To make the music fit, we slice and dice it to the beat to make it the right length. At the end of a video, if you hear music fading out but still playing, you’ve caught a lazy videographer. A seasoned pro will find a segment and repeat it seamlessly so the music ends with the video.

There are so many bad practices that I could mount my soap box for, but in this instance it comes down to this: respect the music.