We often take sound and music for granted when we watch a film, TV program or online video – it is one of those things that you only tend to notice if it’s bad.
Viewers may forgive you for bad visuals, but never for bad sound or music.
It can make or break a video.
It’s the monumental music on movies which sticks with us. Star Wars, Alice in Wonderland (2010), even Jimmy Page collaborating with Puff Daddy for Godzilla (1998), they all have succeeded in creating that extra dimension to a scene or movie.
Like most things, ‘Hollywood’ bespoke music production for online videos is starting to become more available for video content at an affordable cost and there are plenty of sites with a collection of music. Our favourite is Premium Beat. Although being able to work with a music producer to create just the right music for the target audience is the Holy Grail.
We wondered what it is like for someone who lives and breathes music on a daily basis to be at the mercy of a live crowd. So we caught up with music producer and DJ Ross Collins (AKA DJ Submerged Sounds) and asked him to speak about life as a musician.
John Williams had a father who was a jazz musician, a mentor who was known as one of the foremost guitar composers of the 20th Century and also started his soundtrack career as a pianist in an orchestra. Where did it all begin for you ?
The beginning was when my parents bought me a big Casio keyboard, which had loads of sounds on, programmable drum pads and a built-in rudimentary eight-track recorder. I would spend hour upon hour listening to old Rave music DJ mixes and meticulously try to recreate riffs and drum patterns.
I’d create my own bizarre little tunes, playing everything by hand and recording them in layers on the keyboard.
I became interested in DJing around the same time and found that I had a natural talent for it.
I’ve played everywhere you can imagine, from dingy pubs and poorly equipped clubs, to boat parties and fashion shows.
As my skills, confidence and experience (plus record collection) grew, I found opportunities to get gigs and stage my own events, to the point where I could make a living from it.
Music production has always been in the background at some level, and making music was a natural step over from playing music.
For me, the pleasure from music comes from entering into a situation where I may not be completely familiar with the crowd.
The skill is being able to read the crowd, tapping into their emotions and then take them with me on a journey.
One of my favourite DJ-ing gigs so far was at a festival called Jellyfest in Norfolk, where I played a peak time set to a packed Dance tent. I flipped between different styles of music and the crowd stayed with me the whole way.
I love to see people reacting positively to the music which they may not have heard before. I think being able to read people and successfully adapt my style to suit them (and delight them), is one of my strongest assets.
The principles of music production are exactly the same as DJ-ing – you assess the situation and decide the type of music which will suit the video production and audience best.
I invest a lot of time in getting to fully understand what makes my clients tick, then dig into my own knowledge and experience to find sounds, melodies and rhythms that fit their requirements.
Traditionally video production companies and clients creating their own online videos spend a lot of time listening to dozens of sound clips, trying to find something that sounds right.
With bespoke music production, you cut out all of this effort by simply discussing what you like (and don’t like), then a solution is taylor-made to suit your video production exactly.Click here for a taster of Ross Collins’ work – Sangria Shan
This can only be done by completely understanding the client. Music is so personal that in some instances, we may draft together two or three different rough ideas first.
If the client finds it hard to articulate what they want, then being able to suggest things and inspire them is equally important.
Music can not only be crafted to suit changing visual content in your film but to enforce the mood. The most rewarding thing about getting it right is the satisfaction of knowing you read the client’s needs correctly and that the work you have done has not only exceeded their expectations but added an extra dimension to their film.
Big thank you to from Curveball Media to Ross Collins of Soundstock for taking the time to talk to us.
Cover photo courtesy of Yngve Bakken Nilsen
Our team can’t wait to get their hands on a video production project for the music industry.