There is no single element more important to a film trailer than the music. Unfortunately, many editors think that simply using horn-heavy, orchestral music is appropriate for every trailer. In reality, there’s a lot more that goes into finding the perfect track. Let’s take a look at a few ways to pick the perfect track for your trailer.
1. Decide on the Story
Just like a short film, a trailer tells a deeper story than simply showing clips from your film. An effective trailer will introduce the plot and characters, set the conflict, and give the audience a sense of longing for completion.
Finding the right music to follow these story cues takes time. If you want your plot to build slowly, your music should follow suit. This is why it’s really important to include music before you start editing your trailer. Where the visuals tells your audience what they’ll see, the music tells your audience what to feel. After all, a trailer’s job is to introduce audiences to the emotional cadences of your film.
2. Figure Out Tone
Tone cannot be overstated when it comes to editing a trailer. A comedy has a very different tone than a drama. Because of this, you may want to search somewhere else besides the ‘Trailer’ section of a royalty free music site. For example, if you are editing a drama film, it might make more sense to use a light piano track instead of the loud orchestra found in most trailers.
3. Pick Music Early
Music should be the very first thing you find when you sit down to edit your trailer. Music is going to be the main force that gets your audience excited to watch your film, so it stands to reason that you would want your trailer to have the best music track possible. If you cut your trailer before you pick out your music, you will find yourself breaking the natural pace that is created by the music, subsequently lessening its emotional impact. This will inevitably lead to a disconnect between what is seen and what is heard.
4. Browse Music Faster
Most websites don’t make it easy to preview tracks. Typically you have to click on each track and scrub “by hand.”
However, sites like PremiumBeat allow you to browse and scrub tracks using keyboard shortcuts. This feature will allow you to browse 100 tracks in the same time it would have taken you to browse twenty tracks using a mouse. I can’t recommend this feature enough to anyone looking for music for trailers.
5. Use a Watermarked Track
When you’re editing a trailer, or any video for that matter, you could buy the music before you begin editing. But a better way is to download a free watermarked preview track. By downloading a watermarked track, you can test your footage out in your timeline with a slight vocal watermark underneath. After you lock in your edit, you can easily replace the watermarked track with the paid track. Sites like PremiumBeat will allow you to use watermarked tracks before you purchase your music. This will subsequently save you money!
Browse through PremiumBeat’s collection of trailer music and pick the right track in seconds.
6. (Bonus) Free Trailer Sound Effects
In addition to the music required for your trailer, you’ll also want to include a few sound effects to really push it over the top. One fantastic free resource for trailer editing is the free trailer sound effects pack over on PremiumBeat. Here’s a demo of the sound effects in action.
You can download the free sound effects pack from the corresponding post over on PremiumBeat.