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Entries in Music (18)


Johnson Strings - Music Video

I've been working with The Johnson Strings on their next set of music videos. "We Three Kings" has just been released! (Role: Editor & Colorist)


3 Places To Get Free Music

A film without music is like a man without a soul. The problem is for a student film, you often don’t have much of a budget to spend on hiring a composer or licencing music. Though those are the best options, you can sometimes get away with using free music. Just be prepared to sort though a lot of – let me say – less than quality music.

Today I want to highlight 3 of the best places I know of to get free music for your films:


  1. The YouTube Audio Library
    Youtube has thousands of free songs you can download and use. Just make sure to keep track which of the different licences the tracks are under. Each track has instructions on whether you are required to include an attribution or not.

  2. The Vimeo Music StoreThe Vimeo Music Store also has lots of free tracks available for download. Under “Price Range” in the search filter, select “free”.

  3. The Wistia Music LibraryWistia has recently been adding more music to their library. Currently they have two albums available for download.

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(Source Article by Andrew Bartlett)


Video Background Music

Background music can do wonderful things for your video. It can help create emotion, drive the pace and flow, and even hide pesky audio edits. But counter to what you may believe, the most successful background music is the music that you didn't even know was there.


If the volume is too high, the music will overpower the spoken narrative of your video. This… is no good. If background music is too low, it can paradoxically draw attention to itself by making the viewer strain to hear it. The goal of background music to invisibly assist your video, not create a distraction.

Mixing the music volume in your video takes practice, and there's no exact formula for what level the music should be relative to the voice. It's all about training your ears to feel when the music is sitting just right in the mix.

To start your training, play around with this interactive volume video and try to listen for when the volume sits right in the mix...



Tony Anderson

All I can say is wow! This is great advice for each of us to consider.

Even if you're not a composer, Tony has a whole article full of wisdom that I highly recommend.

"Essentially more content is being made than has ever been made before in the history of the world. And more tools are available than ever before. And there’s more entitlement than ever before. And when you combine all three of those things, you don’t get art. You get “almost-art.” You get a lot of people who’ve experienced very little pain, very little loss, very little depth. You have a lot of people — and I fall into this category, by the way — who start caring more about being successful, or appearing successful, than they care about making music."

Read it here.


Polycarp - The Music

 It was a great privilege to work with the talented composer, Benjamin Botkin.  We can't stress enough how important it is to have the right music to bring new life and great emotional depth to the story.  Ben nailed it with Polycarp, and we think you're really going to like the music! 

We took some time to interview Ben so you folks can get an inside glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes in making music for film.  

Polycarp Team: How did you get into music and composing music for films?

Ben: For as long as I can remember, I have always been interested in music to one degree or another. My first attempts at composing however, came in 2005, when I was sixteen. My dad was creating a documentary and encouraged me and my two older sisters to try our hand at writing the music. We had never done anything like that before, but we got some music software and over the space of a few months, we cobbled together something that resembled a crude documentary score. It was through that process that I was introduced to composition and film scoring, and developed a keen interest in both. As I spent time learning the tools and the trade I got various opportunities to score for various projects.

Fast forward nine years, and I still feel like I am at the beginning of my musical journey, but I am very grateful for the things I've learned, the opportunities I've had, and that I can be supporting my family doing something I love this much.

Polycarp Team: Some people may be curious about the process you go through to create music for a film. Would you describe that process for us?

Ben: The creative process usually begins with preliminary discussions with the director about this vision for the film--story arc, tone, style, mood, etc. Before I start scoring to picture, I like to have some time to conduct preliminary research on the style of film music needed [and] I like to create musical "sketches" wherein I experiment with different melodies, instrumentation and mood. These are rough, but they give the director an idea of where I'm planning to go with the music, and it gives a reference point for creative discussions. I also use this time to purchase any new software or hardware tools that I may need for the project (you really don't want to have to make any substantial upgrade or changes to your studio mid-project if you can help it).

When a locked edit of the film is created, the director and composer will have a "spotting session." During the spotting session we decide which spots in the film need music, which music, why, and exactly where it starts and stops. When this session is over I have a cuesheet with notes for every cue (individual piece of music) that needs to be written, and as I finish a cue I send it to the director for his feedback. It's very common for the director to have suggestions for changes (or even request whole re-writes on some cues), so it's important when I budget my time to set some aside for those inevitable change requests. As soon as he gives the cue a thumbs up, I will prepare the final audio files for whoever is doing the final mix of the film.

Polycarp Team: Is it challenging creating music for a period film?

Ben: It's definitely different from creating music for a modern day film, which is usually much more understated and minimal. It is often the case that period films have more strongly dramatic situations and you can justify creating more musically rich and dramatic music than usual.

Polycarp Team: With a story like Polycarp's, there is a big temptation to make it epic, bigger than life, yet this is really a story that focuses on the characters – it's a character drama. How do you avoid the temptation to make the music sound overly epic?

Ben: Joe [the director] was very good about reminding me that, though there are some epic parts in this film, the focus is primarily on the characters and what they're feeling. There were a couple occasions where I'd made the music for a scene very big and dramatic, and Joe would remind me "this is a tender moment--a quiet moment."

Polycarp Team: What drives you toward excellence?

Ben: There's a lot that could be said in answer to this, but I'll answer with a couple of verses that have been important to me:

Colossians 3:23,24 "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ."

1 Corinthians 10:31 "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."

Polycarp Team: Where do you find inspiration for your music?

Ben: All sorts of places! Contrary to what some musicians and artists want to believe, I don't think that anyone can or does create in a vacuum. Human creativity is derivative in nature. On Polycarp, Joe Henline and I often referenced and discussed dozens of soundtracks or pieces of music that may inspire the creative direction of our project.

But ultimately, since God is the first and perfect Creator (and from whom is every good and perfect gift), all creative inspiration comes from Him. I have found that prayer and focusing on the Word sustains and inspires my creative energy like nothing else really does (whenever I get "too busy with work" to meditate on the Word or pray, my music suffers). On every project there are instances where I've prayed for a specific idea or breakthrough that I've needed and every time I can recall, the solution becomes clear soon after. There have been many times where I've looked back over those spots later and thought "wow... that music is a lot better than I'm able to write. That didn't come from me."

I think about Psalm 127:1 a lot when I'm working on projects: "Except the LORD build the house (or score), they labour in vain that build it."

Music Preview

Not many people have heard a sneak peek from the Polycarp soundtrack yet, so we decided to share a small sample of what you'll hear in the movie.  Enjoy!

If you missed the Kickstarter campaign and would like to support the production of Polycarp, you can still do so here.

-Official movie website
-Facebook page


Polycarp - Composer

Please join us in welcoming composer Benjamin Botkin to the Polycarp team! Ben is perhaps best known for his work on the independent feature film Ace Wonder, and he recently composed music for Building the Machine, a documentary produced by HSLDA.

Benjamin is dedicated to taking the realm of music captive to the obedience of Christ. Since he started composing for film and visual media in 2005, Benjamin has composed the music for several feature, documentary, short, and promotional films. He is self-taught in composition, arrangement, and orchestration. He is privileged to serve the Lord alongside his wife, Audri, and their two little boys.

A period drama like Polycarp: Destroyer of Gods will need a rich and compelling musical score to bring the story to life, and we're happy to welcome Benjamin for this important role!

Kickstarter backers will receive the Polycarp Original Motion Picture Soundtrack for pledges at the $45 level and up (along with a Polycarp DVD and other great rewards)!

Please take a moment
to support the film on Kickstarter!!

You can learn more about Benjamin Botkin at his website:


Beyond the Mask - Film Scoring

Jurgen digitally sketches a cue in his studio.

“I don’t create music, I create emotions,” explains Beyond the Mask’s composer Jurgen Beck. “The music partners up with the story and the visuals and cinematography to achieve that.”

This week, I had the privilege of interviewing Jurgen to find out more about the work he’s doing for Beyond the Mask.  He is a gifted musician, and became involved in producing music early in life. Having grown up in Germany, his gentle accent has been softened by the years he has lived in Texas. I noticed his accent most when he pronounced the names of some of his favorite German composers, such as Johann Bach, Ludwig Beethoven, or Hans Zimmer. Americans definitely don’t say those names correctly! Jurgen offers a quick smile, an easy laugh, and is eager to share about his passion with music.

Jurgen loves music, but one of the aspects that most excites him is the ability to tell a story with his composing. Like every great storyteller, Jurgen seeks to create an emotional arc for his audience. The difference is that he uses instruments, not words. “In general, music needs to really partner up with the overall storytelling, and in some ways, tell the story from a different perspective – adding some additional depth to what is on the screen,” he tells.

Because the music primarily plays in the background of a movie, as viewers, we may not even fully realize how the music affects us. But if you wonder about its impact, just try muting a video. “Watching a film without sound leaves a lot to be desired,” says Jurgen. But “as soon as the music and the sound is back in, you really get the full impact of how the story is being told in the film.”

Music adds great depth to the storytelling process of a film. Jurgen compares a soundtrack to the narration in a novel: “If you take a movie that was based on a book and you compare the book with what’s actually ending up in the film, you’ll see that the book is much more explicit. There’s more time to really go into what the characters are thinking about. In a film, music takes some of those qualities, from an emotional perspective, and adds them to what is actually on the screen. For Beyond the Mask, what that means is, music has the opportunity to tell some of the back story. . . some of the emotions that the characters might feel.”

You might be surprised how much back story the soundtrack is going to hold. One big element is the historical setting of Beyond the Mask... (continue reading)
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Source Article


Music for your Movies

One of the hardest tasks in filmmaking is finding the right music for your project. And while composing is a fantastic idea, most people cannot afford to hire a composer for every project. That brings us to the wonderful world of royalty free music (dripping with sarcasm). Lets be honest, trying to find the right track for your video sucks. Hours and hours can be spent looking and searching Google just to find nothing.

I put together this guide for filmmakers in mind. First we will go over licenses, then looks at a list of my favorite royalty/creative commons music websites for video.


Understanding the Licenses

We can’t go and download whatever music we want and use it however we want (Unless you’re a pirate and don’t mind the possibility of getting your arse sued into the next century). So I would encourage you to understand the following licenses.

Creative Commons


Creative Commons has been described as being at the forefront of the copyright movement, which seeks to provide an alternative to the automatic “all rights reserved” copyright, and has been dubbed “some rights reserved.”

Music with the Creative Commons license are free to download but require some kind of attribution. In most cases you are not allowed to use this for commercial work. That said, there are several different kinds of creative commons licenses, check out the list here.

TIP: When looking at creative commons music, look for a little tag that looks like this:

creative commons music button

If you click on it, you will be taken to a page that will describe in detail what you can and can’t do with that music:

creative commons music terms

Royalty Free

Music that is not free, but you do not have to attribute. Be sure to read the terms before buying. In general, you can find better quality music via royalty free. The Music Bed is by far my favorite.

Be sure to also read the terms… Some royalty free music sites only allow you to use the song once.

Public Domain

When a work is in the public domain, it is free for use by anyone for any purpose without restriction under copyright law. Public domain is the purest form of open/free, since no one owns or controls the material in any way. You can read more about Public Domain music here.


Music Website List

Over the past 5 years of doing video I have found several good royalty free music websites. Below I have listed them with the licenses they offer.

1. Vimeo Music Store - Creative Commons/Royalty Free

Vimeo Music Store is your one-stop-shop for finding, discovering and licensing high quality music for your videos.

2. The Music Bed - Royalty Free

Hands down, my favorite Royalty free music site. They offer loads of amazing songs at very fair rates. They also have some of the best design and artwork on the web.

3. Audio Jungle - Royalty Free

Great site to buy and sell music on the cheap. Huge selection.

4. Moby Gratis - Creative Commons

Fantastic site for creative commons use. Moby is offering the music for free to filmmakers using the music for non-commercial purpose. Although you can get it approved for commercial use.

5. Song Freedom - Royalty Free

This site is awesome… You can get royalty free music from artists like One Republic, Train, Jason Mraz, Parachute and more. All for $25+ depending on the license. Awesome huh?

6. Rock Hill TracksRoyalty Free

Royalty free music by my good friend Jon Swerens. He sells some high quality authentic piano music.

7. Bensound Creative Commons

Well designed royalty free creative commons music website.

8. CC Mixter - Creative Commons

ccMixter is a community music site featuring remixes licensed under Creative Commons where you can listen to, sample, mash-up, or interact with music in whatever way you want.

9. Free Sound Creative Commons

The Freesound Project is a collaborative database of Creative Commons licensed sounds. Freesound focuses only on sound, not songs.

10. Audio Farm - Creative Commons

Audiofarm is an audio website for helping people explore, share, and enjoy Creative Commons Audio from around the world.

11. Incompetech - Creative Commons

Collection of free music as long as you attribute.

12. Faraway Music - Creative Commons/Royalty Free

Taylor Hayward offers a few piano songs for $3-5/album. This stuff is amazing. She does ask for attribution.

13. Public Domain 4 U - Public Domain

This site contains recordings of songs that were published prior to 1922 and are now in the public domain, which means the public is free to copy and use the works in any way.

14. OP Sound - Creative Commons

This website offers a collection of music from a variety of artists and genres under Creative Commons.

15. Royalty Free Music - Creative Commons mainly offers royalty free tracks for a price, but they do offer some 30 second music clips, beats and loops that can be used for personal or non-commercial productions. You must credit as the source of the music.

BONUS: Premium Beat - Royalty Free

Fantastic selection run and sold by a great team. Check out their blog for some great content as well.

BONUS: JewelBeatRoyalty Free

99 cent Royalty free tracks for background music, videos and films.

BONUS: With Etiquette - Royalty Free

High quality selection of royalty free music.

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Read the full article HERE!


Beyond the Mask -  Composer


Award-winning composer Jurgen Beck was born in Germany in 1962, and began his musical journey early in life. His passion for music grew though training on the trumpet (Fluegelhorn), guitar, piano, and bass.

Growing up a country know for its legendary composers, Jurgen’s love for music found further expression though writing songs and lyrics for his band, which eventually resulted in a recording contract and concert tours. When Jurgen moved to Dallas, Texas in 1987 to continue his music studies at a Christian college, he began producing music for independent artists, developing his skills in music arrangement, recording, mixing, and mastering.

In 2008, Jurgen’s love for film music resulted in a natural transition from writing and producing music to writing for film. To prepare him for the unique challenges of film scoring, Jurgen studied composition and orchestration with internationally renowned composers Leon Willett and Stephen Hill. Since then, he has composed the score for over a dozen documentaries, TV episodes, shorts, and feature films.

Jurgen, his wife Shawn, their daughter Arianna, and their dogs, Molly and Gracie, reside in the city of Midlothian in northern Texas. Please join us in welcoming them to the Beyond the Mask team! You can check out some of Jurgen’s earlier work here.
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Source Article


Vimeo Music Store

Why a Music Store?

We wanted to provide a place where our users can find music that they can put in their videos. Unlike music that you might download from a store for personal listening purposes, the Music Store allows you to find music that you can license for use in videos.

Songs for personal use are FREE or $1.99
Songs for commercial use are $98

For more info visit the Vimeo Music Store.