Video, Voice & Music

The emotional impact of music and voice on a video is entirely subjective — both in the minds of the video creators and video viewers. So as you can imagine, selecting the perfect pairing can be a tricky and difficult decision.

Take our project with Winona State University and its agency partner for their video, “Winona State: Let Your Journey Begin.” Four young adults pensively say farewell to their families before getting into their cars to drive off to college for the first time. Once they arrive at Winona State in Winona, Minnesota, they are greeted with a beautifully vibrant campus. Between classes and social events, the students quickly adjust to this new chapter in their lives.

Saturn Lounge composed original music to emulate the mood in each stage of the story: mellow and contemplative as they say their goodbyes, building to nervous anticipation as they drive, then confident and energetic as they acclimate. A female voice talent narrates the story from the perspective of what audiences might imagine is a current student.

We could have gone a few different directions with the voice and music but collaborated to create a casual approach that would let the story unfold with little effort. Before you begin your next video project, follow our tips to achieve similar success in the marriage of picture and sound.

Know your audience — Businesses? Consumers? Merchandisers? Executives? Your target audience and the impression you want to leave them with will play big roles in determining the voice and music that get your point across. The more you can sketch out your audience personas, including what motivates them as buyers, the better.

Describe your vision — When you first imagined your finished video, did you have a certain style of music in mind? And when you pictured the voice introduction, was a woman speaking or a man? These client instincts offer a great start for the production team. From there, we can narrow down the key pieces for voice-over talent, which include age, ethnicity and regional dialect; and music selection, which in addition to the genre can range in emotion, tempo, and instruments used. Examples you pull from popular music or YouTube are always welcome.

Defer to the script — The synopsis, storyline, and language in the script will be the ultimate guide to voice and music selection. Think about the type of music that naturally lends itself to the following scenes: kids laughing on a playground, 3D animation of boxes being stacked on a dolly, or an athlete performing pull-ups. While all are generally positive and upbeat, they most likely wouldn’t use the same score.

Mood is key — Do you want viewers to feel nostalgic when they watch your video? Inspired? Determined? What about how you want to be portrayed in the industry? Strong and confident? A team player? Where the script helps set the overall mood for the video, the voice and music bring it to life.

Request a variety of demos — We all think we know what we want until we hear it. So even if you know you want a female voice, it doesn’t hurt to request a demo from a male as well. For voice-over, it is ideal when talent can record select lines from your script for their demo, and even include a few important keywords and phrases — such as product and company names — to ensure the voice will align with the way people at your company talk. Multiple music options also are helpful so that you can mix and match until you find the perfect fit.