Scary and Mysterious Stock Music Pick of the Week

With Halloween right around the corner, we put together a spooky little pick of the week featuring a royalty free stock music theme by Premium Trax combined with some haunting stock footage of a mountain sunrise along with a stock photo of a pile of skulls with some fancy vintage effects. We figure all that’s left is a few horror sound effects from the Productiontrax library, and you’ve got yourself a nice piece of media to scare the neighborhood children.

Scary and Mysterious Theme features deep and dark orchestral strings, an almost-cliché bell-like synth sound, big drum hits and scary sound effects. It dark, mysterious character makes it perfect for dramatic suspense movies and videos. We combined this track with stock footage clip 372369, an otherwise harmless video of a mountain sunrise, and immediately felt something sinister brewing. We recommend pairing the track with other clips of fog and shadows to achieve a similar fee.

For the stock photo, we chose a photo that’s disturbing on its own — photo ID 325152: a pile of skulls. We affected it with some aged film effects, and it added that horror picture feel right in. The beauty of this track is in its ability to creepify even the most mundane of images. We recomend taking some shots of a city street at night and affecting it the same way. You’ll see what we mean.

Royalty Free Music Pick of the Week – The Next Big Thing

This week’s royalty free music pick of the week is a stellar production music track by Michael Musco called The Next Big Thing. Featuring a light, bouncy, percussive riff and simple piano, the track adds a hip beat and begins to soar. This track is one minute in length, making it perfect for advertising, themes, and promotional videos, particularly in tech and healthcare. Trust us, it’s very 2.0.

We’ve paired this stock music track with three corporate themed stock footage clips to give you a better sense of how this track might be used in a business project. Check out the video below, and license the track and the footage for your next production.

Music ID: 348921
Footage Clips: 362175, 362211, 362227

Six Great Uses for Stock Footage

Most people know that using royalty free music can save them a lot of time and money in production. Similarly, stock footage is a great time saver, allowing producers of multimedia content to deliver their final projects on budget and on time, without sacrificing creativity and visual diversity. Here are a few ways you can use stock footage to your advantage:

1) Background projection at concerts and live events. Music and visual stimulation go hand in hand, and stock footage creates awesome background animations for large-scale projection needs. Whether it’s a small club or giant rock venue, your graphics team can enhance any production with the use of royalty free video. Think timelapse clouds, bustling urban scenes, or psychadelic sequences to accompany your next performance or speech. Stock footage allows you to create amazing live performances with moving images at a fraction of the cost of hiring out a full production crew.

stock footage
Set a futuristic sci-fi scene with a single, low cost stock footage clip.

2) Establishing location. For films and television shows requiring shots that set location, stock footage clips can go a long way in helping you to tell the where of your story. For example, inserting a stock video clip of a city highrise just before a scene can help your audience visualize that the scene takes place in a downtown office. Stock footage allows for a lot of creativity along these lines, easily affording aerial shots of cities, mountain ranges, and futuristic planetary locations. The only limit to where your next film can take place is your imagination.

3) Montages. Timelapse stock footage comes in really handy for creating montages and similar visual sequences. The fact that the video has already been edited together for you is also a huge timesaver. We like to combine montages with some royalty free music for really effective promo videos with inspiring messages.

4) Source footage for props. With a little bit of graphic artistry, you can take any clip and put it on a TV screen, computer screen, or anything else you can imagine. When a prop requires moving images, you can get a lot of utility out of simple stock footage clips.

5) Video to accompany podcasts. When you’re producing a daily or weekly audio podcast, you don’t always have time to find great images to accompany your audio. You can easily take an audio-only podcast to the realm of video podcasting with some stock footage clips. With some simple video editing software, you can mix your podcast audio with clips covering just about any topic.

News broadcasts. Have a breaking story to cover? We all know that being first with a story is everything in the news industry, and stock footage clips allow you to break the news visually faster than any other method of production, short of standing on the scene live. Inserting cool animations, historical shots, and other royalty free clips can help provide visual variety to your watchers with minimal investment of time and money.

How are you using stock footage?

Royalty Free Stock Music Pick of the Week – Opinion

This week, our stock music pick of the week is Opinion by Sergii Vasylchenko, track ID 373640. It’s a super useful piece of production music: its etherial, circular feel over a pulasating yet mellow beat makes this the perfect royalty free music track to accompany montages and timelapse sequences – see the stock footage remarks for some great timelapse video clips. The track is also great for product advertisements, especially in tech and clean energy projects.

We’ve combined Opinion with a timelapse stock footage clip of some clouds over a scenic green rolling hillside, Stock Footage ID 315765. The slow moving pads match the pillowy cloud formations, while the steady beat and forward motion capture the escence of the timelapse motion and firmness of the hillside.

Video note: our text overlay in the middle of the video shows the wrong ID numbers – we didn’t catch that in time for this week’s video. Sorry to our contributors about the error!

3 Reasons to Use Royalty Free Stock Music In Your Film Production

The words royalty free and stock music might have a negative connotation in some filmmaking circles. But the reality is that using stock audio strategically and appropriately within your productions can have a positive impact on both your creative output and your bottom line. Here are three great reasons to use some royalty free music in your next film.stock music

1) Stock music is cheap. There we said it. Stock music is cheaper than most sources of music, whether you’re looking at custom composed tracks (which can run you several hundred to several hundred thousand dollars), library music (which carry license fees per use, per second, and based on the size of your production), or even licensing a popular song through a publisher (can we say, pricey?). Stock music requires a one time fee, usually $50 to $100 for commercial usage, and that’s it.

2) Stock music actually sounds good. It’s true. More and more professional musicians and artists are realizing the value in contributing work to the royalty free music scene — it gives them more exposure, allows them to make more money from their music, and gives them some control over their careers. That means that gone are the days when stock music sounded hoakey or cheap, so you can put asside any pre-conceived notions that stock music will make your project sound bad. You can get some really great sounding tracks that work with your visuals seamlessly and have great production value and in any style you could dream of. Combine it with some sound effects, and people will think you had custom top-of-the-line audio work in your production.

3) Royalty free music saves you time. With the help of powerful online search functions, keyword tagging, and lightboxes, you can put together a soundtrack in mere minutes without spending a dime on music supervision services or waiting for cues from a composer. And time is money. You can go from concept to final product in hours instead of weeks. Throw in some HD stock footage for good measure, and take care of some of your shot needs, as well!

Royalty Free Production Music Pick of the Week – Sunny Side

Looking for something simple, fun, and modern? A royalty free music track that screams Apple or Google? Something personal, hip, and nostalgic? Look no further than Sunny Side by Toy Invention (Music ID 350610) this week’s Royalty Free Music Pick of the Week. This track is perfect for advertising campaings and is sure to appeal to the senses like a warm summer day.

We put together this video with a stock photo, ID 331081 and some nifty little filters to give you a little visual feedback as well.

License the full track here: http://www.productiontrax.com/royalty-free-music/350610

Pro Tip: Good Sound Effects Evoke Emotion

by Bruno Strapko

Any situation is the right situation to record whatever you hear. And sometimes what you don’t.

We all have an emotional response to sound effects. Take footsteps. Are they fast and sharp, like a woman in heels on a hard surface getting away from something? Does your heart beat faster? Or ocean waves crashing on the rocks. Calming?
Good effects evoke emotions.

Good sound effects evoke an emotional response from the listener. When producing effects, keep the resulting feeling in mind.
Good sound effects evoke an emotional response from the listener. When producing effects, keep the resulting feeling in mind.

An example is my recording in Chicago of a busy shopping area in December. What one thing defines the season more than anything? The charity bell ringer on almost every corner. Makes you think of the warmth of a roaring fire and holidays with family. But what if you need everything in your ambience except the bells? For after the holidays? What to do?

I often record with a Soundfield microphone. Soundfield mics record 360 degrees on 4 channels which can be decoded into almost format – mono, stereo, 5.1 and so on. And is steerable. So in making a stereo version on the recording, I steered away from the bells to make a more “generic” track. New software allows for even greater directional control.

Using the many tools available to record and prep thick, dense, interesting backgrounds makes for sound effects that producers, sound designers and editors want to hear and want to use.

5 Ways To Record Better Sound Effects

sound effectsRecording sound effects or building a catalog of sounds to sell on some royalty free music or stock audio library sites? Follow these five tips for maximizing your library’s size and overal success. You’ll find that, with just a little careful planning and organization, you’ll be able to curate the sound library that your production business needs to succeed.

1) Make a list in advance. Just as film producers create a list of shots they need to complete a scene or a video, and optimize their lists to minimize shooting time (equipment rental is expensive, man), so should the professional sound designer. Whether your goal is to get a single animal sound, or a collection of city ambiences, know what you’re going for before you get on location. Make a list, and be specific! Do you need footsteps? Howling? Traffic? Once you’ve got your list, you can then optimize your locations — for example, you can get footsteps on a sidewalk, and at the same time get some traffic sounds if you record on a busy street. You can save time, and at the same time, get creative with your catalog. A little pre-planning can go a long way.

2) Invest in a high quality microphone and DAW. While technology is getting better and better, and cheaper quality equipment is becoming increasingly available, it’s still important for sound effects producers to invest in great gear. Do your homework, because just like quality gear is becoming cheaper, cheap gear is becoming more and more prevalent. Find microphones that have excellent reponse at all frequencies, a solid hard disk to store your takes to, and don’t skimp on your editing software. A quality digital audio editor such as ProTools or Logic can save you time and make your audio sound great.

3) Edit, Edit, Edit. Getting rid of extraneous noises is key in creating quality sound effects that are ready to use in production. No one wants footstep sounds with dogs barking in the background when they’re searching for footstep sound effects. Cut the extra sounds, and your clients will thank you for it. Reduce the ambient noise as much as you can, as this will allow your sound effects to be used in as many different projects as possible without much editing. Separating your sounds this way will also pay off big in the size of your catalog.

4) Master your recordings and create high-resolution mixes. Invest in some quality mastering plug-ins. This will make your recordings have the loudness they need, along with the equalization required to make them sound their best. But remember, don’t over-master. Chances are that whoever is purchasing your audio is likely to edit the effects to suit their specific needs. You can coun’t on them adjusting volume, changing reverb, or mixing with other sounds. The key is to give them the best base material possible. Along these lines, don’t forget to bounce to uncompressed formats like WAV or AIFF, which have far superior sound quality than a highly compressed MP3.

5) Tag and Describe your Sound Effects accurately. When you’ve completed your mixes, don’t just label your files Car 1, Car 2, Car 3. That doesn’t tell your customer anything about the sound they’re looking at, and wastes their time. If you’ve recorded a Ferrari Testarosa revving up it’s engine, label the file that way. People searching sound effects libraries have tons of material to go through, and need help finding things quickly. Similarly, you can save yourself numerous headaches when you need to dig up a file from your archives a year from now. With a little forethought and organization, you can build a better sound effects library with minimal effort.

Sonic Branding – Using Music and Sound Effects to Create a Brand

by Bruno Strapko

The idea of using sound for branding is not new, but particularly in Europe, is considered an important marketing speciality. Using all of the usual marketing techniques of research, trial and retrial, entire agencies target sonic branding. It is the least used branding method and considered the technique with the most growth potential.

Contributing audio and music to marketing and branding campaigns can be a lucrative source of income for the stock music composer.
Contributing audio and music to marketing and branding campaigns can be a lucrative source of income for the stock music composer.
At the 2012 Audio Branding Congress at the University of Oxford, virtually every research project and branding development came from Europe. Speaking to other attendees, they were surprised at the lack of American participation when they felt American development was extremely mature. Cases cited included Harley-Davidson’s famous exhaust tuning studio, Intel Inside, and the omnipresent McDonald’s audio logo. New work presented at Oxford included sound design for the atmosphere in Harrod’s famous toy department in London featuring regenerative soundscapes, audio logos for two famous European companies, and an entire suite of sonically different logo-based music for use throughout the Dell Computer organization.

Recent literature that sum up current directions in sonic branding include “Sound Business” by Julian Treasure of The Sound Agency and “Audio Branding”, a compilation of articles and studies representing all issues associated with creating effective audio branding.

While considered a niche, sonic branding can be a differentiating part of the portfolio of a sound designer and/or composer. The unique chances to present their work from typical broadcast and the Internet to prestigious and renowned public spaces can be a fulfilling and challenging opportunity. Presented properly, any sound design student can be introduced to opportunities very closely tied to the main thrust of their education track. With awareness of jingle writers and sound designers in studios for traditional advertising media, adding the potential in sonic branding is worth investigating.

Stock Audio Pick of the Week – Cool Business Model

This week’s royalty free music pick of the week features production music by Michael Musco, track ID 325204 Cool Business Model. This stock music track is packed full of chill corporate attitude that says progressive but civilized, technological but with values. Ideal for advertising, corporate video, even exhibitions and presentations.

License the high resolution track here: http://www.productiontrax.com/royalty-free-music/325204