To say we are in the age of video would be a gross understatement. Videos are one of the best tools we have for single-direction communicating. I’m talking about video that is planned, authored, shot, and produced for deployment at a later date. Streaming video and teleconferencing (remember that word?) is a different animal entirely – we’ll discuss that in a future article. So what is it that makes video so engaging and indispensable in today’s business world? For starters, video is more than just video!
What? Let me explain – modern-day video uses both visual and audio components to deliver complex messaging. Together, they are a powerful mechanism for influencing target audiences. Wait . . . did someone say audio? The under-appreciated sibling of the visual side of video? Yes, THAT audio. And for the rest of this article, we’ll refer to video as both the visual part a video, and the entire finished product, known as “video.” Confused yet? Excellent!
Indeed, a video’s audio track is an extremely important part of its power. It carries the message, the tone, and has the ability to make an indelible mark on our memory. So why is it sometimes overlooked? And why is it that production and post-production resources are so often spent on the visual side? Good question – hopefully this article will change that and provide a new prospective on audio.
Our multitasking ears are pretty well-developed. They have been trained to absorb an amazing amount of information while doing other things – such as driving, walking, working, eating, chewing gum, AND . . . watching visuals. That means our ears are able to absorb more than our other senses simultaneously – an important consideration when it comes to delivering marketing content.
A video’s audio track can be a combination of music, singing, dialog, nature sounds, and effects. Sound adds to the imagery and setting. Imagine a horror movie scene without the tell-tale scary music? Imagine the movie “Jaws” without the sound track announcing the arrival of the great white shark? Music can also help make a connection to the target audience. Using specific musical styles and genres, we can connect with different demographics, lifestyles, and points in time.
Have you ever wondered why we can remember commercial jingles decades after they originally ran? Or lyrics to a song? Why are those easier to learn than a presentation or a speech? It’s because audio is pretty sticky in our psyche and is easily committed to memory. And when we can associate melodies and rhythmic information – it gets even stickier. These are good things when it comes to landing critical messaging, such as marketing content.
A sound track can also set the mood. Are you looking to create a relaxing environment over which you’ll deliver the message, or a more “in-your-face” aggressive approach? Of course, that depends on your target audience and what better motivates their desired actions and outcomes. But be careful – I’ve heard too many instances where the backing track was too loud. If your backing track drowns out your message – that message won’t reach the intended ears.
Be careful of copyright and usage restrictions. Just because you love a piece of music doesn’t mean you can use it in your commercial videos. Most commercially released music will be subject to licensing and usage fees – and these need to be negotiated before you can use that music in your project. Nothing puts a greater damper on your content than fines, punitive damages, and unexpected lawyer fees. Your best bet is to use original music for which you can obtain reasonable usage rights, or even full ownership.
One last thing – make sure the quality of your audio is good enough to deliver your message clearly. Hum, hiss, distortion, and poorly recorded audio gets in the way of your message. And make sure the finished product sounds right through all of your intended delivery mechanisms – including headphones, cell phones, computer speakers, monitor speakers, bluetooth speakers, etc.
So, the next time you’re looking to produce that perfect video, make it more than just “video” – give that audio some love too. And as always, if P/M can assist you in creating that masterpiece, we’re happy to help.