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PRODUCTION BACKGROUND MUSIC FOR VIDEOS AND WEBSITES

HOW TO… (TUTORIALS)

This page will explain and demonstrate some of the editing and mixing techniques you may find useful in producing your media project.

Let’s start with some basics. We need to establish the overall length of time required for the music to play during each segment, scene or edit of the video; or for each page of your website. Once the duration in minutes / seconds is known, it’s appropriate to consider if the length of the music track you are using is either too long or short as compared to the visuals.

If the music track is LONGER than what you need, you will simply trim the music track to the needed length, using an appropriate audio editing software application or DAW; or within your video editing application. The decision as to where to start and end the music track is something you should experiment with so that you get a nice match with the visuals in terms of drama, emotion or rhythm provided by the music track. If you are using stems (sub-mixes of the main stereo music track), those will all need edits in the exact same locations (time in/out) so that they will synchronize. As will be discussed in more detail later, stems can be re-mixed; and this may become part of the process. For now, we’ll focus on using one, complete, stereo mix. And as such, we can also consider whether the volume should fade in or out at the beginning and end of our edited music track; which can also be handled by virtually any audio editing application.

If the music track is SHORTER than what you need, it is likely that you will want to do one of two things: (1) create a looping soundtrack or (2) edit together multiple copies of the music track end-to-end.  In this particular scenario, we are talking about music tracks from our “looping libraries“, which are designed to loop seamlessly from the end back to the beginning.  A looping soundtrack is a typical application used in website background music, which is handled by a music player on the website that is capable of looping a music track any number of times or indefinitely, since we do not know how long a visitor will linger on a particular website or website page.  When music is played against a video, because the video is a linear medium that has a beginning and end (except for some short clips used on social media etc., but let’s set that aside for now), we will also want the music track to have a beginning and end.  Sometimes the music will play for the full duration of the video, but not always – as this is a creative choice.  In any case, with a video that is longer than one of our music tracks, you will be doing some fairly “EZ” editing within the video editing application; or within an audio editing application (DAW etc.).  Because our music tracks are designed loop seamlessly and musically, that also means they can be copied and spliced end-to-end without any noticeable gap, thus creating a longer version of the same music track.  As mentioned in the previous paragraph, you can also add a fade-in and/or a fade-out to the longer version of the music track, once it has been spliced together.

So when considering creating a longer music track from a song in one of our looping libraries, the next consideration is how repetitive it will sound to splice multiple copies together.  Of course, that is a creative choice that depends on several variables: (1) how many times does the track need to repeat? (2) how prominent is the music – i.e. will it be behind dialogue, narration, sound effects, and be less noticeable? (3) is the song interesting enough to make the repetitions enjoyable?  If the answer is that you feel the track will start to get boring after too many repeats, you have a couple of options.  One option is to simply start a new music track after a desired period of time.  A second option is to use the benefit of our “stems” package to create variation over time.  Since each of the four included stems represents a subset of the instruments used in the full mix, you can probably see how easy it is to create your own unique arrangement of the song, to keep it interesting over the duration of the video.

If you want to experiment with this idea, simply open your audio (or video) editing application and enable four stereo audio tracks.  Then you will want to import the four stems of the song and position them all at whatever the “zero” point or start-point of the video is where the music will begin playing.  Once you have all four stems positioned at the same start point, either use a “duplicate” or “copy/paste” function to create repeats of the stems for the length you need.  It’s OK if the last copy of the stems goes beyond the end or out-point of your video; as you will likely be trimming the last copy to fit the length you need. To begin experimenting with your stem arrangement, you can simply begin muting individual copies of any desired stems (see demonstration video below), which drops them out of the mix for one complete song-cycle.  If you are feeling adventurous, you can also do some volume automation for individual stems to control the muting and/or volume during a portion of the song-cycle.  This is a more advanced mixing technique, but not difficult to learn, assuming your software editing application has this feature.

Have a look at these brief videos to see these techniques in action:

Copy-paste splicing tutorial to create longer versions of a song:

Working with song “stems” (layers):

Please check back with us, as we will update this page with additional tips and techniques.

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