A score is music used in a film, and is a very powerful filmmaking tool. Music is a strong cue to your viewer: with music you can stir an emotion, enhance a mood, heighten action, or ratchet up the suspense. There is no right or wrong way to use music, but there is a time and a place for when you use it, and not all music is created equal. In this tutorial you'll learn how to choose and use background music in your videos.
Types of Background Music
There are several different purposes for a score. Depending on your film you might select to use one type but not another. You might even choose in the end not to use a score at all!
Keep in mind that, depending on your video, not using music can be as just as powerful as a using it. The trick with music is to use it judiciously: have a plan and pick your moments. Don't let the process of creating a score overwhelm the scene and put your video out of balance. Ideally, your score will feel natural to the viewer, subtly enhancing their experience without being cloying, annoying, or even really noticed at all.
Doesn’t matter what you’re feeling; there is a musical score for it. If you’re angry you can use music to emphasize anger. If you’re happy, perhaps something light and wonderful. Or maybe both: upbeat music in an otherwise angry scene can create an upsetting cognitive dissonance in the viewer, and maybe that's just what you want. There are endless subtleties to emotion-evoking music.
The purpose of emotion-evoking is to create a subconscious reaction in the viewer. Music adds a layer of complexity to what is happening on screen, pointing to subtext, interior motivations, or feelings. Emotion-evoking music creates a space for the viewer to empathize with your characters more deeply.
The setting of your video is a specific place and you'd like to establish a sense of that place for the viewer. While your establishing shot can create a sense of physical space, the music establishes a particular cultural or social space.
Perhaps you have a long-shot of a busy city like New York or Toronto. A mellow jazz tune would create a certain vibe, a punk song another, and a techno beat another completely different one altogether. The situation might be the same, but music changes the context substantially.
Whether the music is dramatic or relaxed is also a cue. The tempo, volume, and quality of the music can hint to the viewer what is about to happen next.
Filler and Bridge
Sometimes you get to editing your project and the footage hasn't exactly turned out as successfully as you'd hoped. Not ideal, but the reality of working with media made out in the word is that things do not always go according to plan. Music can help you solve these problems.
Filler music can be a bit random. It’s not specific and doesn’t necessarily have to add anything to a scene or evoke any type of emotion, but it does let you do some creative editing and fill in gaps.
For example, you might have planned on some key action happening but instead what you got was unfortunately a little boring and not very visual but still important to the story. Maybe you have some B-roll. Instead of leaving the video to play quiet you can add some music to give a better flow to the film. This kind of editing shows up pretty frequently in reality television programs.
Who can forget a good musical montage?! These are one of my favourite things to watch in movies.The montage shows a visual story on screen, usually one that compresses a series of actions or events, while the music plays.
Be careful what music you choose and for what kind of montage. Let’s say there is a person going through a dramatic makeover, you might want to do something fun. But maybe there’s a sad series of events that happen, you would want to use something more low-key in that instance.