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Old November 7th, 2007, 12:11 PM   #1
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Need advice on using music behind talking head

In viewing quite a few instructional videos, I notice that some use music in the background while the host is talking, and some don't. In the previous video I produced, I didn't use music as I was afraid it would be a dsitraction. However, on a new instructional video, I am considering using some background music and would like some advice on the do's and don'ts.

Thank in advance. I love this place and have learned so much from just reading all the posts and tutorials.
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Old November 7th, 2007, 12:20 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Cascio View Post
In viewing quite a few instructional videos, I notice that some use music in the background while the host is talking, and some don't. In the previous video I produced, I didn't use music as I was afraid it would be a dsitraction. However, on a new instructional video, I am considering using some background music and would like some advice on the do's and don'ts.

Thank in advance. I love this place and have learned so much from just reading all the posts and tutorials.
I think it works during transitions but personally I think its often intrusive when it continues throughout the speeches. Just my opinion.
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Old November 7th, 2007, 03:43 PM   #3
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I think it really depends on the project. Sometimes if, especially with instructional videos, it is just too boring without music, and it becomes to difficult to pay attention. Whereas, the same video with the same person deliver the ultra-dull content with a little tunage behind him can really make the whole thing that much more watchable.

Just be sure and pick out the a tune that fits the same vibe, other wise it will distract from what's being said. The key with music is that somebody watching the video shouldn't even notice it - then you know you've mixed good music with the correct vibe.

Hope that helps! :-D
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Old November 7th, 2007, 04:08 PM   #4
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I think it's most useful when trying to cover up bad source.
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Old November 7th, 2007, 04:42 PM   #5
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Would you recommend that I use a number of different pieces of music, rather than the same thing over and over?
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Old November 7th, 2007, 05:03 PM   #6
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picking music for background beds depends so much on the content of the video. I've gone both ways with it depending on the client, the material and the purpose of it but one thing I do is use my own senses while editing to determine if it's a distraction or not. Then of course it's really up to the person paying for it.
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Old November 7th, 2007, 08:49 PM   #7
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With a video whose topic is a business, it's almost impossible to find music that is "the music." My feeling is that it should be almost inaudible so as to be somewhat subliminal. Is this a reasonable strategy?
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Old November 7th, 2007, 10:21 PM   #8
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yes it is reasonable however in this case since the topic is business which I'll assume means how to make money or something along those lines I don't think I would even use music under the speaker. Might be more distracting if the level is down so low that people might strain to hear it and miss the message of the speaker. Personally I'd kill the music except for lead in and out.
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Old November 8th, 2007, 12:30 AM   #9
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How music supports instruction

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Cascio View Post
In viewing quite a few instructional videos, I notice that some use music in the background while the host is talking, and some don't. In the previous video I produced, I didn't use music as I was afraid it would be a dsitraction. However, on a new instructional video, I am considering using some background music and would like some advice on the do's and don'ts.

Thank in advance. I love this place and have learned so much from just reading all the posts and tutorials.
Hi Paul,

Ditto all the above. Yes, you'll find a fair amount of music mixes on some indies but too much of it comes across as, well candidly, a bit like amateur hour. On some, it's almost an admission that the instructional material is indeed boring without the music - that's sad. That said, I am surprised that even top audio engineers like Bruce Williams use music under voice during his podcasts (see http://www.audio2u.com/ ). I love his podcasts but find the music a bit too loud for my personal tastes - far above subliminal levels.

OTOH, there's definitely a place for music in many forms of instructional content. For instance, unless you absolutely love the card game of Bridge, you can imagine it would be pretty boring learning basic rules and the mechanics of the game by yourself (DVD, online, etc). Here's a prime example of where supporting music adds interest to reinforce lessons. And like animations, music can also provide auditory cues to reinforce a lesson - in instruction design pedagogy, we call these different modalities channels. So if music enhances the learning experience through additional supportive communication channels, the benefits to the student are:

- better focus, paying closer attention
- increased comprehension
- faster learning
- better retention
- fewer dropouts

If you really want to get into this further, I found "e-Learning and the Science of Instruction" a helpful book.
http://www.amazon.com/e-Learning-Sci.../dp/0787960519

Enough talk, if you care to see a Flash-based demo at my website (with supportive music) see:
http://www.bridgehands.com/Newcomer/...r1/player.html

Happy Trails, Michael

PS - Guided learning with hands-on simulations (perhaps using a DVD menu tree with branching based on student input) is another example where supportive music can be beneficial - akin to game simulations.
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Old November 8th, 2007, 04:02 AM   #10
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I have done something similar and used an audio compressor with a side chain input inorder to crush the music when the guy was talking and then lift it in the gaps.

Worked a treat.

Read up on side chain compression to see what I mean.
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Old November 8th, 2007, 08:09 AM   #11
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Thanks Michael. I watched part of your Bridge tutorial. Very well done.

Dave - Audio editing/processing is a very weak area for me, but your idea sounds interesting.

Do you possibly have a mp3 clip you could post that demonstrates this technique?

Also, I assume there are setting that fade the music in and out when narration begins?

Which program would you recommend?

Can I do this using just Vegas?
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Old November 8th, 2007, 08:32 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Cascio View Post

Also, I assume there are setting that fade the music in and out when narration begins?
I actually used Cubase to achieve the side chain compression. Basically what happens is the compressor limits the volume for the music based on the input of another channel, in this case the audio. So when they guy starts talking the side chain compressor receives the signal and turns the compression up, and some other settings, on the music track hence making it quieter and over compressed. So it not only gets quieter but the dynamic range of the music track is also reduced.

It works really well. I don't have an audio clip here in work, but I'll dig one out later and mail it to you. It's a subtle effect but you'll get the gist of it.

It's used a lot in music, especially indie rock. Listen to anything by Oasis and listen to how the music seems to dip slightly when Noel or Liam is singing. It makes the vocals punch out of the music almost.
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Old November 8th, 2007, 01:21 PM   #13
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Regarding the music style, it really depends on the content. News pieces are best without music. It comes across as more factual. Sports highlight reels often have music to make it seem more dynamic and exciting. An extreme sport piece NEEDS high energy music to give the vibe that you want. Corporate stuff usually has corporate sounding music.

If you start and stop the music, do it based on mood transitions. For instance, you discuss the extreme sports athletes without music, but show their interview or highlights with it. Don't overdo it, or your piece can come off melodramatic and cheesy. Changing music should only be done at clear transitions. It should be subliminal. If the music changes mid story, it will stick out like a sore thumb.

In addition to compression, with or without side-chaining, you can EQ the music around the voice. Here are some rough guidelines:

100 Hz is good for music power
300 Hz is the voice fundamental
600 Hz is good for music
1200 Hz is good for consonants
2400 Hz is good for distinguishing voice/instrument character
4800 Hz is good for music
10 - 15 kHz is good for sizzle on both music and voice

You can use sharp EQ cuts, but only make smooth boosts. Focus on getting the voice to sound good (not necessarily 100% natural). Slam the music, if needed, to get the voice to come through.
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