A few examples of waveforms that illustrate structure within a song. In this case, the first song is a rather slow instrumental, more on the classical side. While it builds up, it's very progressive and likely wouldn't allow me to really cut 'to the music'. I could make it work, but it would feel more like a series of beautiful images rather than a full story. The second song (middle) is a much more high energy track, with some drums and guitar. However, it doesn't have much variation between the verse, chorus, bridge, etc, so while we can cut more 'in relation' to this track, it might still feel repetitive and lack demarcation between the various story segments. The third song is closer to an ideal structure: it starts slow, allowing me to set the stage, establish the locations and people, and then really picks up about 1/3 of the way in; about halfway, it slows back down for a bit, allowing a little step back, a more reflective, quieter moment, and boum, back to the high energy finale! This sort of track is great because it allows to create mini stories within the story, and to emphasize big moments with big changes in music (i.e. have the walking down the aisle, or into the reception hall, at 1/3 or 2/3, when the beats kick in.
Finding legal music for wedding videos
There are many ways to find music for wedding videos, and we’ll get into this shortly. But first, we must address one important issue: copyright. The same way that, as Toronto wedding videographers, we - and you! - wouldn’t want other people using our images without acknowledging that we’ve created them, and fairly compensating us for them, musicians should have the right to benefit from the usage of their songs. On the most basic level, the idea is that if the person sowing the dress, the event planner, florist, etc, get compensated for helping make your wedding awesome, so should the person providing the soundtrack to what will soon become a cherished memory.
Let’s dissipate one myth: licensing music for wedding videos is actually affordable! It’s actually so affordable that we at One Heart Films include that fee in your wedding videography package price. A license, typically, will vary between $50 and $100 per song. Why license music? Well, the best reason is because it’s the right thing to do (as we just discussed). But there is another reason: fi you don’t license your music, it is likely that social media sites will take your video down for copyright infringement. Facebook, Youtube and Vimeo all have track detection that allows them to find music that has been registered, and automatically flag and remove it until a proof of proper licensing has been provided. What this effectively means is that if you don’t use a licensable track, you may never be able to share your video with your friends and family online… and that would be a shame!
The way we work is that we ask our couples to check out the library of our music provider, The Music Bed, and give us a few songs that they might want us to use for the highlights edit. We then give it a listen and either pick one, or go back to the drawing board and recommend a few other tracks. I’ve never had a couple not find anything there, but if they didn’t, there are also other options such as Marmoset Music and SongFreedom (which actually offers licenses to some pop songs that get regular radio play). But we prefer some more unique and handcrafted, so we usually stick with The Music Bed.
Get creative: live music and covers
Another way to go about music for your wedding video is to use music that was performed during your wedding day ‘live’ or to record your own ‘cover’ of a song you love. Now, we have to caution that this probably only works for couples that are musician or music aficionados, and that have access to good sound recording equipment (or for whom we have good sound from the wedding day). It’s not for everyone, and song covers are a bit of a muddy zone with regards to copyright, but it’s certainly something to explore for some people, as it can truly make your wedding video more unique and personal.
Your Music, Your Story
Ultimately, the key to choosing good songs for wedding videos is to keep the following things in mind: pacing, internal variation, relation to the feel of the actual wedding day, and license-ability. Once you got all those things in the back of your mind, the last thing is to find a song that inspires you and can help your wedding videographer tell the story of your love!
So, do you know what music will you use for your wedding film yet?