If your videos contain spoken material, then good video background music should serve only one purpose.
And that is to compliment and not compete with your narration so your video sets the right mood you want.
All too often you see videos with intrusive and distracting music playing in the background, which makes you wonder how many beers the video editor had during post production.
How many times have you clicked away or were forced to ignore the music while struggling to focus on the message?
Ideally, you want the music to just do its job without being invasive and forcing your attention away from your videos message.
Getting the music level to be in that sweet spot takes practice, and there’s no exact science for how loud the background music should be relative to the voice.
But you can get there quicker if you follow these quick tips.
Tip 1: Volume
Let’s start with the most obvious: The volume slider, but we’ll add a little tweak in our method.
Usually, we’ll import the music into our project at its full volume and then turn it down until it’s roughly where we want it.
What about if we try the other way round?
Let’s apply the following neat trick to be sure you’re not just guessing all the time.
Bring the background music into your project and turn the volume all the way down. But just before you turn it up again, close your eyes.
Once you think you hit the right level, note down the value of the volume slider, usually measured in dB.
Now, set the music level to full, close your eyes again and pull the slider down until your satisfied.
If the two dB values match, then that’s a good chance you hit the sweet zone.
But how do you know if your judgment is correct?
Tip 2: Use multiple output sources
Not everyone will be using the same headphones or speakers you’re using.
You need a good understanding of how your video will perform when it’s released into the wilderness.
If you can, run your audio through all sorts of speakers you can find. The more commonly used the better, like phone speakers.
Try laptop speakers, desktop speakers, headphones, phone speakers, ear buds, anything you have around.
If your video editor can export only the audio from your project (like premiere pro), it should be easy to transfer and play it back on all the devices you have at your disposal.
If you’re happy with the volume levels on all the devices, you should be good to go.
Tip 3: Carve out space for your voice
Most pro video editors come with an audio equalizer.
And because the average frequency range of a human voice is around 1 KHz and human hearing is the most sensitive in that range (see Fletcher–Munson curves), you’ll want to bring that frequency and surrounding frequencies down.
It should look like an upside down bell and will make room for a human voice to fill and cut through clearer.
Here’s a guide showing how to use the fully use an EQ for video editing: http://vashivisuals.com/5-eq-audio-for-video-tips-for-filmmakers
Do this in conjunction with the previous tip and you should be well on your way to having a rock solid video.
Tip 4: The low volume critical listening session.
Sometimes at high volumes we may not be hearing the audio accurately or our ears get fatigued quicker.
So, temporarily turn the overall volume way down.
You should be able to hear both vocal and instrumental track even at this low volume.
If you discover something isn’t right, it’s a clue your mix needs adjusting!
Hope you found these tips helpful and start applying them right away in your projects!
If you’re looking for background music to use feel free to browse through some of our collection below or click the ‘view all tracks’ button to browse our entire library.
If you found this article helpful, please share with your friends and help them out too!