I have been wanting to blog about the music for the video for awhile, but it is a complex thing, so really had to wait til I had enough time to properly explain how we do our music. Our videos are cinematic, that is “having qualities or characteristics of a motion picture”. This not only apply to how the video is shot, but also the music in the video. Many videographers will tell you to pick your 5 favorite songs and then they just casually throw them on the video somewhere. What makes good music for a video vs what you like to listen in your car can be two different things. I being a DJ as well as a videographer, take just as much thought about what music I add to each video, as I do to the video itself. We carefully match up the mood and tempo of the song with the mood and tempo of what is happening on the video. Many times a top 40’s song, will distract or conflict with what is happening on the video; therefore we tend to use scores from movies, as well as other instrumental pieces, because they will add to what is happening on the video without detracting from it.
Sometimes the most time-consuming part of editing for me will be choosing the music for the highlight video. There have been times where I have spent 3-4 hours just choosing the music for a 5 minute highlight video. It can be like smelling perfume/cologne, you’ve smelled so many, it can be difficult to differentiate one over another. There is a sound, a tempo, a pattern, that I’m looking for and it has to be right. I’ll start the highlight video with a song, but then change to another song as I really get into the video and decide I have to change that music to fit the mood of what is happening. I may end up using 3 or 4 different song for a highlight video, because I want a changing mood as the video moves along. There are several things I look at when choosing music, heres just five of them.
1. The first thing I look at is the music taste of the bride and groom, if we have done the DJ service, then I’ll look at what they’ve listed on the DJ worksheets, to see the style of music they like (rock, R&B, Indie, Country).
2. I also look at the etnicity of bride and groom. Being a DJ I understand the different tastes of blacks or whites or asian cultures. For foreign cultures like middle east, asian, baltics, european, I do research, and find the music that fits that culture along with experience of doing weddings for that ethnic group.
3. I look at the tempo of the video, fast, slow, people rushing, people relaxing, tenseness, etc, and try to use a song that will match that tempo. Every song has a atmosphere to it. I used to play a game with my fellow sound engineer, years ago, when we were setting up for an event. Before the people arrived, we would play a instrumental song and we would close our eyes and he would say “where are you at?”. I’d respond “I’m walking in a forest, alone, with fog, and sun is rising” or I’d say “I’m laying on a beach in Hawaii with a beer” etc. We would go into detail about the setting that we felt that particular song fit. I believe that help to give an ability to really understand music.
4. The Audio on the video (the words being said) will also determine what type of music we use. During Pre-ceremony, ceremony, highhlights, we are usually using audio from the video, people talking, words from officiant, vows. Because of these its better to have instrumental music, so that the music adds to what is being said. We do not want to take away from the essence of the day.
5. We look at the time of that particular segment and finding a length of song to fill that particular time slot. Sometimes its just a quick little score. For example during a wedding ceremony, you have some time periods where nothing is being said, but you do not want just ambient noise, but a 30 second filler music to smoothe over that time period. When the father gives his daughter away is an example of this, theres usually about 20-40 seconds as he gives her away and and walks off, and the bride takes the hand of her groom and walks further up the alter. Those are meaningful moments so the right music in the background will highlight that.
It used to be Royalty Free Music was not very good. Infact I remember talking a fellow videographer years ago who was warning me about using copyrighted music, and my response to him was “I can’t use Royalty Free Music, it just isn’t very good”. Well that is not the case today, infact, Royalty Free music in most cases can be much better, becuause it is designed for video. The artists that we use are the same artists who also do music for well known movies that you would recognize. These are very high quality royalty free music, which we’ve paid $40-$60 per song for, and this allows us to post your video on the internet.
With all of this being said there are places for top 40s, such as during the opening segment or formals segment (when you are taking your pictures). During pre-cermeony, girls getting Ready, guys getting ready, vows, and highlights we are matching the music to fit the auidio (words being said), so it usually works best to give us some flexibility for these segments. For the highlight video in order to post it to facebook and other social media we have to use Royalty Free Music.
On the long version of your video, you will here the music that was playing during your ceremony, and during the dancing of the reception, so we will not cover up the music being played during those times. We are only adding in music when theres no music being played or times like Cocktail Hour when we are shooting 4 second shots, so we add in the music so it won’t sound chopped up.
The best way to pick the music for your video is to look at our videos and listen to the music and let us know, “I liked the music on this video” or “I didn’t like the music on this particular video”. If you do have music requests, we must have that by your wedding date. As always, feel free to contact us with any questions. I hope this blog has been helpful in regards to the music for your video.