Listen to Watch: How Sound Can Bring Your Video to Life
Have you ever “watched” something but weren’t sure why you had such a strong reaction to it? The scene was rather stark; nothing visually stimulating. Yet somehow you felt a myriad of emotions in what otherwise looked like a rather normal sequence of events. Now silence your speakers and watch the same scene again. Without the sound, is that emotional scale even remotely close?
The music. The sound design. The life of a video.
James Cameron has said, “The score is the heartbeat of the film.”
Music garners emotions no matter what language you speak – it’s universal.
The music and sound design in a video is what can take it from mediocre to incredible.
Case in point, the movie, Jaws. When composer John Williams initially played that two-note score, director Steven Spielberg thought it was a joke. A joke that Spielberg later admitted was “clearly responsible for half the success of that movie.” Think about it – you don’t see the shark until one hour and 21 minutes into the film (this largely due, in part, to malfunction issues onset with the mechanical shark). Yet, you’ve been on the edge of your seat thanks to those hypnotic notes alluding to this ocean monster.
The art of the score goes back much farther than the start of the film industry though. Think of Beethoven’s Fifth. As Hans Zimmer would tell you, “…it’s all in those two notes. It’s all he needed to go and then create a firework of amazing emotions, orchestration excitement, pathos.” It’s an orchestration that has been the basis for many stories both onscreen and off. For those onscreen, Zimmer says, you need to know the theme when telling your story. And music is another outlet to help your narrative speak and break through language barriers.
Research shows there are certain facial expressions widely recognized no matter where you live – happiness, anger fear, sadness, disgust and surprise. Emotions that can be relayed not just visually but also through sound – major chords are generally heard as positive while minor chords lend a more ominous and sad tone. Music ultimately evokes emotion.
And emotion is crucial in telling a story. In leaving an impression. In creating a video that you are proud to put your name on.
The next time you’re looking for ways to take your video to the next level, try listening as well – make sure you allocate some of your budget for music and sound design to really elevate what one sees visually.
A few questions you need to be able to answer when having your spot scored:
- What is the story being told?
- What are the usage rights needed?
- How long are the rights needed for?
- What feeling are your trying to express?
ABOUT THE EXPERT: Jeanne Gunther
Jeanne is a seasoned producer having filmed in locations all over the world. She understands that while important, creativity and quality are not dependent solely on crew size and budgets. With experience in the film and television industry, she thrives in deadline-driven environments and knows production means staying flexible.
As the Executive Producer at MultiVu Creative, she manages and facilitates shoots of all sizes featuring a variety of celebrities, athletes and executives. From PSAs to short-form narratives to commercials, Jeanne oversees the story development, production and post-production of a multitude of projects highlighting global pandemics, social awareness issues and consumer products.
Before MultiVu, Jeanne was a documentarian covering HIV/AIDS and its affect amongst African American women in the U.S. She served at CBS and freelance reported for the Agence France-Presse (AFP). She worked for stations including WCBS, WAFB – a CBS affiliate in LA and more.
MultiVu, a Cision/PR Newswire division, produces and places compelling content strategically across multiple channels globally to deliver targeted results and drive desired engagement. Created in 2002 from network news veterans and media relations professionals, MultiVu has grown into a content creation and media strategy company, leading in the broadcast communications industry. More information can be found on www.multivu.com.