How To Choose Your Animated Video Soundtrack Strategically
Have you ever watched Lord of the Rings with the sound on mute?
Hahaha, I didn’t think so … Maybe you’ll try it at some stage!
There’s something strangely funny about watching Frodo walking up and down hills and staring off into the distance in total silence. Switch the sound back on, however, and the full, sweeping grandeur of the landscape crashes back onto the screen.
The major difference?
Music sets the tone for motion pictures and provides the EMOTIONAL CONTEXT for how the mise-en-scene is received.
In some respects, music creates a more direct emotional connection than even images. It’s an immediate, visceral stimulus that’s incredibly difficult to ignore.
Don’t believe us?
Check out 30 sec clips of Lord Of The Rings with different soundtrack options, here (the further you watch, the more comical they become)!
For the record … We’re not necessarily fans of Lord Of The Rings!
But our craft revolves around creating emotional connections through video. And, as we’ve shown with this simple example, music selection is a key part of our craft.
So the question remains, how can you be sure that you’re picking the right music for your animation video?
You don’t want to end up with something that sets the wrong tone, clashes with your branding, or confuses the message of your video.
You need a soundtrack that is strategically chosen to enhance the business objectives that have driven the entire project to date.
There are no hard and fast rules for picking music, and there will always be a degree of subjectivity involved. However, here’s a couple of things we focus on when suggesting music options.
Tone is a difficult thing to define. It refers to the emotional impact that your music has on the listener and should be the first thing you seek to clarify before starting your soundtrack search.
As with every step of the project process – we focus on the impact we’d like to create on your perfect target customer – and not necessarily your preferences, or ours!
Are we looking for something upbeat? Joyful? Familiar? Inspiring?
We pin down the FEELINGS that we’d like to inspire before choosing the options. This gives us a tighter target to aim for and helps us to know when we’ve found the right track.
Music that races past at 200 beats per minute will leave your viewers feeling perturbed, whilst music that plods along will put them to sleep.
Furthermore, a track with a drum beat can increase the perceived speed of a video – which may be a good thing, or not, depending on your brand and target market.
Generally … we make sure that the speed of the tracks we suggest are energetic and upbeat, whilst not scaring the daylights out of your audience!
The tone of a piece of music is dictated in part by the group of notes that the composer chooses to work with. Dive into some simple musical theory with us for a moment …
Musical notes can be gathered into groups called ‘modes’ which create a certain feel. The Major and Minor keys are examples of modes, and they create a happy and sad feeling respectively. The Phrygian mode has an Egyptian quality to it, whilst the Mixolydian mode sounds jazzy.
We don’t know the names of each mode! But understanding the difference between certain “feels” is key to finding the right sound for your video.
Here’s a useful thought experiment for you. If your office had a backing band, who would it be? AC/DC? Beyonce? ABBA? If someone comes to mind immediately, that might be a good indication of what style of music best fits your brand.
Musical genres are clearly defined and easy for the average listener to recognise. They also come with their own set of connotations and imagery. We’ll think carefully about what styles of music best fit your brand and take it from there …
For most Animated Explainer Videos, simplicity is key!
The voiceover presents the critical message … Melodies which are too complex, or drum beats which are too loud, will only distract the user. The options we suggest during our projects will almost always be simple and non-distracting.
Have a look at our work for Debt Cutter. This was a challenge …
Debt Cutter help people in financial need. So we needed to communicate empathy and understanding of the viewers situation … while also conveying the Debt Cutter’s family-oriented brand, with relatable, happy staff.
In this case we mixed 2 separate soundtracks to set the contrasting moods ….
That’s it! Your introduction to choosing a great soundtrack …
At Visionary, we don’t ask you to choose your own soundtracks randomly from an unrelated list of music!
We like to recommend royalty-free soundtrack options that we know will strategically participate towards your business objectives …
Remember … the music we choose together will affect the way people react to your brand on an emotional level that they likely won’t be consciously aware of …
Let’s choose wisely!
Want to see more examples of soundtrack choices in our videos? Check out plenty of examples of our work here: