The next technique that I am exploring in my screencasting/videocasting skill set is the addition of music.
I've resisted adding music for three stupid reasons:
1. My (incorrect) perception that non-copyrighted music is crap.
2. Why add KB or MB to the file size when my content instructional.
3. Lack of technical skills or software tools in cutting, splicing, fading the audio and weaving it with the video track.
Finding Good Quality Music Sources Isn't Impossible
If you recall dear readers, I studied music in college and was on a career path to being a professional flutist until I got distracted with nonprofit management, technology, and a thousand other things. So, I admit that I'm a wee bit of a music snob. I have an extensive music collection spanning vinyl, cassettes, CD's and Mp3. It includes classical, jazz, world, and beyond. I thought that any non-copyrighted music might be hopelessly amateur. WRONG!
Thanks to my new friend, Uncle Seth (aka Jay Moonah) and what I learned at Boston PodCamp, this is not true. Creative Commons and flexible copyright licenses as well as lots of talented musicians who want you to use their work (provided you respect the terms of the license) make it fairly easy to find really good music. Here are a couple of starting points for your search:
Steve Garfield's Learn about VideoBlogging (scroll down to find a couple of good sources).
Are there other sources for music with flexible copyright license?
In searching for music, it helped me to define what I was looking for so I didn't get distracted. I wanted something that had violin and cello, sounded classical, and an upbeat, driving tempo. I was also looking for a intro or complete phrase that was no longer than 10-15 seconds that I could use between scenes or at the beginning and ending.
Trade Off: What value does music add?
The decision to add a music track is a trade-off between file size and dramatic impact. Since I'm mostly creating instructional video, I have to ask myself - how much does this enhance the learning or ability to retain? Certainly, music smart is a learning style. Also, music can set the mood and spark emotions which helps learning.
Another point that Ryanne Hodson and Michael Verdi, authors of "Secrets of Videoblogging" make is that music can be a counterpoint to the what the visual suggests and add complexity. They also suggested picking the music first if making a music video.
I also found that with the screencasts that I made so far, not having music made it feel like something was missing.
So my new rule is to ask:
-Is the music adding to the understanding of the concept/idea being presented?
-Does it add emotion, mood or complexity or is it just window dressing?
Technical Skills and Tools
The nice thing about being a newbie is I'm forced to keep it simple! So, for my first experiments here is what I used:
-add music to opening title and ending title
-trim the music to fit the opening/ending title - and make sure it ends on a resolved cadence
-fade in and fade out
-Windows Movie Maker to add the music to the video, fade in/out
-Windows Wave recorder - to cut the clip to size
MovieMaker is limited or perhaps it is my technical skill. You can't "silence" the audio in the video by clip or sections of the story board .. the volume balance adjustment is for the whole video only. So, I just chopped out the beginning of the music, added to the beginning and end title tracks, and right clicked to add fade in and fade out.
-Add music clip to beginning and end and middle
-Add music to a video part where the dialogue isn't important or you had to do a lot of editing
-Windows Movie Maker
Reflection: This time I experimented with using QuickTime Pro as the audio editor and video editor. On page 108 of Jay Dedman's and Joshua Paul's book, VideoBlogging, I found instructions on how to edit with QT Pro. This time I was able to edit out some of my "direction" in the film and add music, but again I couldn't silence the audio of the video.
The next experiment will be to do a music video and turn the video audio off. This means I need to capture something that tells the story visually (either stills or video clip without dialogue)
Stepping back and thinking about the screencasting now, the Camtasia software has the ability to "silence" the video audio and to add another music track. I now need to figure out the production order so I don't run into problems.