This blog, brought to you by UPP Studios, discusses instrumentals in video content and how they can influence the mood of a piece. There's a reason there are music categories in award ceremonies for film. Instrumentals change everything. In the first moments of a film, we often hear the instrumentals begin, whether they are accompanying images or text. These instrumentals influence the mood of these films from the moment they begin. It dictates to the audience how they should feel as they enter this new world presented to them by the filmmaker.
Two films that come to mind immediately are "Star Wars" and "Superman." As a member of the audience, you can't help but feel excitement pulsing through you as the orchestra tugs at your heartstrings in the opening moments of both films. Music in a film is so important that when a filmmaker finds a composer that properly facilitates his or her film, they will often work together on many films as George Lucas has with composer John Williams. Instrumentals don't just influence the mood of films. Comedy sketches, cartoons, and even commercials, use music to influence the mood of an audience. Instrumentals, or any type of music chosen to influence the mood of a piece of content, are usually the last piece of the puzzle that brings the whole project together.
A few weeks ago, actor, writer, director and rapper Ice Cube sat with Howard Stern on Stern's Sirius satellite radio show for an in depth interview. In this interview, the two talked about Ice Cube's first film, "Boys in the Hood." Believe it or not, the film was written by a film student who was still in film school. The student approached Ice Cube many times over the years about starring in the film. Once he graduated from film school, and was able to secure a small amount of funding to produce the film, Ice Cube, recognizing the film student's tenacity, came on board. Once the film was shot and edited, the student was more than excited to show Ice Cube a cut of the film. This cut, however, had no music, no sound effects, and overall it didn't have the finishing touches that a film gets before it's release. For Cube, the film fell flat and he told Howard Stern that at the time he was immediately overcome with a sense of regret. He felt signing on to do the film was a mistake. He didn't share the filmmakers vision for the project and so all this rough cut of the film did was make him nervous about the release of the film and how it and he would be received by audiences. Ice Cube told Stern, however, that once he saw a copy of the finished film, his apprehensions disappeared. The instrumentals changed everything and Cube wound up loving the film and realizing how poinient it was.
Now, this isn't to say that every piece requires music in order to influence the mood. In fact, the absence of sound entirely, can facilitate a whole other interesting dynamic. If one was setting a fridged, barren scene for instance, or a scene of solitude, lack of instrumentals can prove to be just as powerful in facilitating that particular scene as the right instrumentals can be. In most instances, though, it is the addition of sound that ties content together.
UPP Studios sees the importance of using instrumentals to influence the mood of it's audience. Working on the post-production of the first season of it's web series "Actpartment," was the first time UPP Studios entertained the idea of adding music to it's content and it was no easy feat. After months of collaborating with composer Anthony Zediker, a score was created and the series was taken to the next level. The instrumentals properly served to influence the mood of the series and made the production feel that much more legitimate with the inherent production value that instrumentals bring. Composing instrumentals from scratch isn't the only way to get music for your project if you're don't have the money for copywritten music. There is an abundance of copyright, royalty free music on the Internet. Composers and musicians make their music available for free in exchange for credit to promote their work and build their portfolio. UPP Studios has used some such music in it's sketches and it has done a nice job of setting and/or reinforcing the tone of those sketches. Finding the right instrumentals to influence the mood of a piece can be an extremely arduous process, but it can be worthwhile and ultimately rewarding upon reflection of a finely polished finished product that really shines. UPP Studios appreciates your interest and encourages you to go to the sketches page to check out some of the newly released videos!