Choosing the right cinematic music for your videos can be both daunting and gratifying. When done correctly however, it can bring your viewers along for a deeper journey and experience. Here are a few key things to consider.

Identify your tone

The first thing to consider is what you want your audience to feel. This will be the driving force throughout all of your music selections. We’ve spoken at length about how music helps to elevate your scenes that would otherwise feel empty without and your dramatic scenes are no different.

Cinematic music can help to raise the emotional stakes in a scene. If it wasn’t totally clear that a character was going through a critical moment in their journey, the right song can bring the audience closer to their emotions. Additionally, a chase scene with frantic camera movements and your hero narrowly escaping danger definitely benefits from a song that gets the viewer’s heart pumping.

There are two main directions to consider when placing your music and we’ll explore those next.

Underscore

This is the most straightforward method. Your music directly reflects what is seen on screen and it’s a tried and true tactic. For dark and gloomy scenes, your music would be dark and foreboding. A sweet acoustic guitar could be perfect for a moment when two characters are falling in love.

There’s not really technically a downside to choosing this path, besides it potentially being a bit too “on the nose” for an entire film. Every scene also doesn’t need to have music underscoring the moment, sometimes the acting alone can be enough. 

Go for the opposite

Some of the most impactful scenes in cinematic history subvert your expectations. Think of a beautiful piano symphony over a gruesome horror scene. This method can be extremely effective if done right, or fall seriously flat if done in bad taste.

However tricky it may be, applying the opposite style of cinematic music can pull your audience deeper into your narrative. Picture a scene with your character in the midst of a beautiful and perfect day. The audience may or may not know that they are about to be dealt devastating news, and the beautiful song reflecting the character’s mindset only makes it more tragic when all is revealed. 

Try to have a motif

A subtle technique that helps to build a world within your videos is to have a recurring theme. A familiar melody that expands and contracts depending on the scene can be extremely effective. Some of the most popular films have motifs running throughout the films (Star Wars, Inception, and the Bourne series are good examples of this). 

This idea can even extend into more conceptual ideas. The Christopher Nolan film Interstellar incorporates various instances of ticking into the scenes and the score to keep the dire nature of time at the forefront of the audience’s mind. When the main characters are on a planet where every minute equals years on earth, making every second audible to the audience adds the perfect amount of tension.

Having motifs can also give your videos their own identifiable branding. This works especially well if you’re planning on making a series or multiple films. Using Star Wars as an example again, most fans can easily identify “The Force Theme” or “Luke’s Theme,” wherein the latter was even used in the new series “The Book of Boba Fett,” a whopping four decades after it first appeared! 

In the end, you have plenty of options when it comes to finding the right cinematic music for your videos. Having a diverse library to choose from is the best way to ensure that you never fall short of options to match your creativity. Having a catalogue like Soundtracks is like having your own music supervisor at hand. What more could you ask for?