How to Add Music to a Video
Staff Writer By: Ryan Knott, TechSmith Blog
By now you know that video is essential to communicating with your customers. Humans are hardwired to process visual content, but adding great visuals to a video is just half the battle. A truly engaging video often includes music, as well. But where do you find music? When you find it, how do you add music to a video? Read more to learn how to add music to a video.
The right stuff
First things first. There's a difference between adding music and adding the right music. Before you choose your music, think about what type of video you're creating. For a video showing software or product features, you'll probably want something upbeat and positive. You want your viewers to feel good when they're seeing your product. Other types of videos may need something more somber. Who can forget the various animal rescue commercials that are all over our TVs? They pair sad, slow music with photos of sad-looking animals to compound the experience and -- they hope -- make us more likely to open our wallets to donate.
Not convinced yet? Trying imagining one of those rad videos of skateboarders thrashing out in a skate park with pan flute music instead of grungy guitars.
The right music enhances the experience for your viewers, while the wrong music can send the wrong message entirely. Check out this (admittedly) humorous video for an example of how music can change the feeling of your video.
Now here's that same scene with different music. Notice anything different?
Where to find music
How can finding music be a challenge? I mean, music is everywhere, right? I have 70 gb of music on my iPhone right now. I'll just use some of that music.
Wouldn't it be nice if it were that easy? Unfortunately, most of the music you own is effectively off limits. That music is copyrighted and, if you use it, you'll owe the copyright owner money (called "royalties") for every time someone views your video. Ever wonder why your local Applebee's can't just sing "Happy Birthday To You" when it's your birthday? Same reason. Someone actually owns the rights to that song and Applebee's would have to pay royalties every time it was sung in their restaurants.
So where do you find music you can use? Well, unless you want to compose your own music, the easiest answer lies in royalty-free music. There are a number of ways to find royalty-free music, but your best bet starts with a simple Google search.
Some royalty-free music is truly free. There are a number of sites that offer music you can simply download and use as you wish (though often for non-commercial purposes, so be sure to read the user agreement). Free music sites will also likely have a limited selection, so you may have trouble finding exactly what you're looking for, or the music may not be as good as you prefer. That said, I have used free music on a number of occasions and been pleased with the result.
For most commercial purposes, such as product overviews, customer stories, etc., though, your best bet is a premium royalty-free music site. While the music won't be free, it's typically inexpensive, and you'll have a wider range of high-quality music to choose from. Premium Beat is a popular choice (and one I've used myself), but there are many other premium royalty-free music sites out there, as well. Pro tip: If good music is a priority, make sure to build this cost into your video budget.
So you have your music, how do you add it to your video?
Now that you know what music you want to add, how do you do it? Luckily, most video editing software makes it easy. In fact, it'll probably take you way more time to choose the music you want to use than it will to actually add it to your video.
I use Camtasia for Mac to create and edit videos, but most video editors will use a relatively similar process.
Step 1: Open your video
This may seem like a no-brainer, but I wanted to be thorough. In your preferred video editor, open the video project to which you want to add music.
Step 2: Import your media
In Camtasia, there are several ways to import audio and video files into your Media Bin. You can select Media from the menu, right-click in the bin, and select Import Media from the menu.
Or, you can choose File > Import > Media from the menu.
If you're into shortcuts and hotkeys, you can choose CMD+I.
No matter which method you choose, navigate to the file you want to import, select it, and choose Import.
Step 3: Add your media to the timeline
Once you've imported your file, find it in the media bin, click on it, and drag it to the timeline. You can add it to a new track or add it to an existing track depending on your needs. I typically add things to new tracks by default so they're easier to find later.
If no empty track is available, Camtasia automatically creates a new track if you drag your file to the open area above the timeline.
Step 4: Adjust the audio to fit your needs
Here's where you'll need to make some decisions (if you haven't made them already). Do you want your music to run through your whole video? Is it just for the intro or the outro?
For this example, let's assume that we want to have the audio run throughout the entire video. Since there will be narration, we'll want to make sure the music isn't so loud that it makes the narration difficult to hear or understand.
When you select the audio track in the timeline, a line with shading will appear. To adjust the volume, you can click on the line and drag it up or down to the desired level. The waveform in the track grows and shrinks as you adjust the volume up and down, letting you know that the volume has been adjusted.
In the Audio Effects menu, there are a additional options for adjusting audio. For example, adding a Fade Out at the end of your video can help avoid a potentially jarring abrupt ending.
Now that you know how to add music to a video, try playing around with it the next time you create a video. These were just a few basic steps to get you started, but there are a lot of other ways to edit audio to fit your needs.
Look for more on audio in future blog posts, or check out these great blog posts for more information!
P.S. The techniques above work for adding any type of audio to a video, not just music. Whether you're adding narration, sound effects, interviews, or other types of audio. Camtasia makes it easy to add audio to a video.
P.P.S. Remember that not everyone who consumes your video content can hear it. People who are deaf or hard of hearing -- or who may choose to watch your video without sound -- also need a way to consume the content without relying on audio. So, be sure to include captions with all your videos. And, if you include music, the captions should note that, as well.