Making bold music choices for videos (Bull Sale 2019)


I’ve always found this such a quintessential staple of rural life growing up in Ratapiko. The Blackwell family always put on a great day, with great hospitality.

I had badly put my back out the day before, and could barely drive my car to the event, but I wanted to film it, so I gritted my teeth and got on with it.

Shortly after filming I ended up hospitalized for some abdominal pain. I seem to be on the mend now and managed to finish the final video (above).

For more info about the farm:

Anyway, about the music:

The music track is on a CC license from a composer called Aaron Kenny. I was looking for a track that would fit the video, and I had a bit of a country vibe in mind.

When working on no budget stuff like this, I generally try to find a track before I start editing, but only after I’ve made my initial selects. That way I know the mood of my video, but I can time my edit to the track I end up with.

This is limiting in the sense that you have a specific duration that’s not easy to change, but when you’re choosing Creative Commons music for video – you have to make some compromises. It’s simply not practical to compose something from scratch for these videos.

So with a country look in mind I started searching through the youtube audio library. Most of the country style stuff had a real hillbilly bluegrass vibe to it, which doesn’t really suit the NZ countryside, and the rest was more rock music.

I found that most tracks didn’t have much in the way of rise and fall, they were pretty flat in structure. Which is not very cinematic, because it quickly can fall into the trap of “broll with loud music, talking head with music ducking, broll with loud music, etc repeat”. I want to treat these sorts of videos more as structured micro movies, rather than vlogs.

It’s then that I came across this absolute gem by Aaron Kenny that sounded just like the sound track for Blazing Saddles or such. A good western vibe, without screaming “I have children with my cousin”. Best yet – the quality of the track was pro level, and allowed for a cinematically structured video, because the track was made for the screen. A rare find in the Creative Commons.

At first it might have seemed like an odd choice, because it’s not particularly trendy, and it seemed over the top campy, but the further I got into the edit the more sense it started to make.

By the time the video was done – I couldn’t imagine any other track in it’s place. And that’s what filmmaking is – finding a beautiful marriage between picture and sound, and delivering a seamless flow of information that captures a moment and feeling in time.

So go forth and make bold unconventional music choices – they just might surprise you!


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