We all know music is an important element in any film or video, providing that undeniable emotional connection and fully engaging your audience with a complete audiovisual experience.
If you’re reading this tutorial, I probably don’t need to convince you of that, and you may even be used to sourcing royalty free music for your multimedia projects.
Sometimes, a fixed-length, royalty free music track will work out great, and is all you really need. Or if you’ve got the budget, hiring a composer for bespoke work is always a pleasure, but often a luxury.
But sometimes you need greater flexibility and control over the music, and don’t have the time or budget for a custom underscore. As the editor or producer you may not have the software or skill-set to create the music yourself, and wrestling with dozens of cuts and crossfades ultimately leaves the you feeling frustrated and fed up with how this franken-music sounds.
With tight deadlines, demanding or indecisive clients, and limited resources, it can certainly be a challenge to get a professional quality soundtrack that fits your video’s length, pace, and story.
Yet those days may be numbered, with a brand new flexible and ready-to-use music offering on Envato Market called Music Kits.
Music Kits bring a whole new level of customization and control to the underscoring process, and are so easy to use you probably don’t even need our help here getting started.
Even so, let me show you what they are and how they work.
Anatomy of a Music Kit
Music Kits are fully mixed-and-mastered, professionally crafted music that are made up of individual drag-and-drop audio files called song sections.
You can simply think of a song section as the intro, verse, chorus, bridge, outro, or ending parts to a piece of music, and Music Kits often include alternate versions of each for even greater flexibility.
These song sections also all come with clean natural endings that work together to provide seamless, edit-free transitions between them.
Since the song sections are all standard high quality WAV audio files they can easily be arranged and rearranged directly within the video editing software of choice. That means no messy cuts, no crossfades, and no extra mixing or musical expertise are needed.
You’ll notice the Music Kits include two corresponding sets of song section audio files:
- One with Tails, or full natural endings
- One with No Tails, or trimmed on the beat
Tails simply refers to the natural time it takes for the audio to die off after the final note in the song section is played. The tails song sections and their natural endings are what provide the seamless transitions, and so should be used in the final arrangement.
The no tails song sections are provided to help you quickly and easily snap together and arrange a temp/guide track for the project that you might think of as musical LEGO.
As they’re cut exactly on the beat you can simply place them back to back and everything will automatically be in sync as you build the soundtrack. This is especially handy for use in editing software that does not support musical tempo grids or beat snapping, but still auto-aligns clips/regions together as most do.
I'll demonstrate how to use these song sections to create a quick underscore.
Constructing a Soundtrack
In this tutorial I’ll show you how quick and easy it is to score a music kit to an existing video with voice over.
I’m using Garageband here because it’s free and convenient for my needs, but you can arrange any Music Kit directly within the editing software of choice, be it Final Cut, Premiere, After Effects, Camtasia, or any other multimedia application that supports video and audio.
After I’ve opened the video and voice over track, the first thing I will do is take all of the No Tails tracks and place them onto the project timeline.
With all the song sections imported, I can now easily try them out and arrange and rearrange them to fit the video. As you can see there’s tons of song sections and way more material than I’ll need for my video, which gives me plenty of options to work with.
Next I create another empty audio track to hold my guide track arrangement, and begin to place the No Tails song sections in the order I want them.
The video starts out with a bit of exposition, so I’ll use the Intro song section which has a bit lighter and inviting sound to get my audience hooked and establish the feel of the video. I need the intro to go on for a bit longer so I’ll simply copy that song section and repeat it.
I’ll use the verse section next to add some musical interest and begin to build the anticipation to support the context of the video. One verse section is enough here, because right afterwards at around 30 seconds in is where we introduce the hero moment of the video, and I want the music to reflect that. So I jump right into the second Chorus 2 section here because I feel it packs the most punch of them all.
Continuing through the rest of the video I’m easily able to pick and place the sections I want in the order I feel works best, concluding with a nice clean ending hit that provides a perfect, satisfying resolution to my video’s message.
Putting together the no tails song sections for my guide track was literally a snap. But just as with chopping up a typical music track, the soundtrack isn’t quite seamless at this point, and you can still audibly notice some of the song section transitions. Particularly at 0:07 between the repeated intros, at 0:51 coming out of the chorus, and at 1:10 going into the ending hit, the transitions still sound a bit abrupt or jarring. Have a listen:
Normally this is where you might attempt some messy crossfades and hope for the best.
But with a Music Kit, I can simply swap out and line up the tails song sections to all the corresponding no tails versions to create the final seamless piece of music.
So now that I’m happy with my guide track arrangement, I’ll mute that track, and create a few new audio tracks to drag in each of the tails song sections I need. As a tip, alternating the placement between two or more audio tracks is a quick way to ensure the natural musical tails are able to seamlessly overlap for a natural, edit-free transition.
Have a listen to the difference this makes:
A few extra tweaks and volume adjustments here and there to balance the voice over with the music, and now the project is ready to go.
You, too, can use the Endless Possibilites Music Kit—that I used in this tutorial—in your own projects:
Or browse through the hundreds of brand new Music Kits available on Envato Market to find one that tells your story.
There's current more than 970 Music Kits from which you can choose at Envato Market, and the number is growing all the time. That means, you can be sure to find professional music for your project, whatever it may be.