27 May How music impacts video marketing
Music connects with us on a deep level
Many of the moments of our lives are underscored by music, from the day we are born to the day we die, from weddings and celebrations to working out at the gym. We hear the tritone from a passing ambulance, a song bird singing on a nearby branch. We feel it when we go to the movies or a concert and it is present in our lives whether we are consciously listening or not. Different sounds, tones, styles of music or instrumentation can evoke many different emotions depending on tempo, key, time signature, instrumentation and genre. In 2006 Brokeback Mountain won the academy award for best original score, the theme was a solo acoustic guitar. It sounds beautiful but why an acoustic guitar? Why does the score work so well with the picture? There are many reasons but the acoustic guitar does draws us to the outdoors because we’ve see guitars throughout our lives played in that environment. Guitars are seen on street corners, camp fires and it is the base instrument for country music. Generations of people have grown up experiencing the acoustic guitar in this setting and it is now ingrained in our subconscious as an outdoor instrument. Every instrument has its own unique signature in our culture and history.
How big brands use sound and music to sell
Big brands often use a sound logo (or audio mnemonic) to help brand themselves. Picture Duracell. Can you hear their sound logo? Those 3 notes at the end of every commercial, or Intel whose cadence is just 4 notes. If those don’t ring a bell, how about “I’m loving it.” All of these major brands have one thing in common, they are using sound to help sell and it works. We are now conditioned to hear those few notes and immediately think of the brands who are behind it. Notice I didn’t even say McDonald’s but it is highly likely that the name popped in your head when you read “I’m Loving It.” Sound in music is just as important in advertisements as it is in the movies, which makes sense because sound accounts for half of the experience of watching a video.
Companies and agencies used to hire composers for their commercials and marketing videos, but now many flock to libraries to save money. Library music can be good for certain things, especially with genres of music that require lots of musicians. But library music today is over used and having a negative effect on composers, musicians and the videos themselves. If you do a video search for explainer videos you might stumble upon several who are using the same music, we see this all the time. Having one loop for the entire video is also negative because it sets a monotone and disconnected impression. If you are truly telling a story, shouldn’t the story have a sense of plot? a sense of development? If that’s the case then music should reflect the changes in script. For our productions we sometimes change the musical style 3-4 times in a 60 second span.
Music is only one part of the equation, sound effects and sound design are just as important. Generally speaking, any action happening on screen needs to be reflected in sound, whether its the footsteps of someone walking or the crack of thunder from an approaching storm. Creating soundscapes and environmental backgrounds is also important to help immerse the viewer into the environment. If you are standing outside in the middle of a city you might not see all the cars, honking horns and background noise of the hustle and bustle but it is still there, so naturally in a movie or commercial we also need a sense of background noise. In cartoon animation the sound effects can be less straight forward. In the example below the character is squeezing through a house. For this sound effect we used the rubbing of a balloon mixed with a cartoon pop to get across what is happening on screen.
Using instrumentation, arrangement and genre
Instrumentation, genre and arrangement all have their unique place in Music. A big orchestral sound might be impressive on its own, but if the setting is intimate it will most likely sound out of place. How instruments are arranged and how many musicians are playing can make a huge difference. Musical style or Genre is also key and can be used to bring out a cultural flare or get a certain effect. For Example Taco Bell used a Chihuahua as its spokesperson for more than a decade, those ads were always scored with authentic Latin and salsa music. The video below is about a hospital gown design competition. Since this competition is about helping to cheer up sick kids, we wanted to create music that was uplifting, modern and warm. In the example below we have removed the narration so you can hear the music by itself. Notice the beginning is a bit unsettling but as the message unfolds, the acoustic guitar and drums help lift up the spirit of the picture. This is a feat that can be accomplished more easily when music is written to picture.
Music for explainer videos
Eplainer videos, commercials, and advertisements all have one thing in common, they are short. In a feature movie you have two hours to tell a story but here you might only have 30 seconds. But there is still time to immerse the viewer into a plot and develop different musical themes. In this two minute video below we change musical style 4 different times. We start with an opening theme featuring clarinet which helps establish the story. There is a pivotal point where Viseo (the main character) finds out the community secret, they are running out of cheese. Music can play a vital role in getting across the feeling of stress and anxiety. Sometimes a composer needs to come up with something that just acts as background and doesn’t add any extra emotion. In the middle section of “we move our own cheese” we chose to use to Jazz as a way to get out of the way of emotion but still propel the picture forward.
There are many ways music impacts video marketing and advertising from short 3-4 note audio logos to full orchestral scores. Genre, instrumentation and arrangement can really help connect us to the story. This is known all too well in feature films and big brand advertising, but most explainer video companies use royalty free library music. In some cases these loops are used so often you might find two videos in a row with the exact same background music. Original music will help the video stand out and will immerse the viewer into the story. At Tenzer Animation we create original music for all of our animated explainer videos and commercials, it’s part of our 5 step process.
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