Royalty-Free Music: Your Guide to Using This Great Resource for Video Editing

If you are an aspiring filmmaker, then you’ll know all about the trials and travails of video editing. When it comes to putting together your masterpiece, at whichever level you are producing (be it a fully-fledged feature to a student short-film), the editing process can be the fine line between success and failure.

Regardless of the type of project you are involved in, there are bound to be several obstacles to overcome in order to put together a well-structured film that is edited to perfection, and you can never underestimate the importance of music when it comes to this part of the post-production process.

Music Is Your Friend

The art of using music to help tie up any loose ends in the editing process is as old as the art of filmmaking itself. Of course, your musical soundtrack has an inherent value to the overall production. After all, what the viewer hears (be that an original score or soundtrack or your choice of sound effects) is pretty much as crucial as the visuals they accompany.

Music can help to either mask an edit or add weight to it. As with any element of the filmmaking process, experience is a key factor in how effectively you use these ‘tricks’ and below are just a few examples of where music aids the editing of a project.

Blurring the Transition

If you are looking to cleverly move from one scene to another in a way that feels almost invisible, then the right choice of musical arrangement can be key to completing the effect.

A subtle transition can be used to indicate a passing of time or a movement in the action, and an excellent example of how music can add weight to this could be seen in a famous scene in the blockbuster comedy Notting Hill.

In this movie, we see a character, Hugh Grant, walking through a market, and as he does so, the seasons appear to change, and the way the piece is edited gives the impression of one seamless shot. Of course, this is a series of shots attached to each other, but the music helps complete the deception.

This is an example of music aiding the edit.

Jump Cutting

The use of a good jump cut, where your action moves abruptly, but the scene appears sequential, is aided by a nice sharp sound effect of a musical bridge. Usually, this is, perhaps not too subtly, with a loud break and restarting of a sound or musical score.

Editing these types of cuts can be very stylistic, and therefore the choice of musical score can be a nice additional unique aspect you can create.

Putting Together a Great Montage

Perhaps your film contains a scene where your character is undergoing some level of physical or spiritual change. Typically, this is put together in a series of shots called ‘a ‘montage’. In action movies, these are standard shots, and the use of a great piece of music works wonders.

Here the proper selection will dictate your narrative’s mood and tone, and again, this is a prime example of where music can aid the editing process.

Scoring Your Video Project

Putting together the soundtrack for your film project can prove costly and time-consuming, especially if you don’t happen to have access to a bunch of musicians who are willing to work for free.

Many, in the past, have looked to use existing and well-known music without securing a license. This is a big mistake. The costs of getting approval for these types of music, regardless of how big a hit the track was, will be high, but the punishment for doing so without clearance could prove even more problematic.

Better than elect to use royalty-free music for your film projects. Royalty-free music, or copyright-free music as it’s sometimes known, is a more readily available and cost-effective option.

Royalty-free music providers offer large databases of great quality music from hundreds and thousands of less established musical artists, all available for a much more affordable fee. These musical indexes also house huge sound effects libraries that are of course of huge importance to any film project.

The rise of user-generated content and the lowering of the costs associated with the technology required to film, produce and edit a film have led to a real boom in the royalty-free music market.

There are now countless reputable royalty-free music providers, and in turn, this has improved the overall quality of the service and now is an excellent time to check out what’s on offer.