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Add a Soundtrack to Your Video Résumé

The soundtrack to your video résumé defines your job candidacy more subtly and more powerfully than any other video production technique. When you think about the soundtrack for your film, keep these suggestions in mind:

  • Vocal music takes away from a script. In most movies, the music with words usually plays when no one is talking. Consider using music without lyrics.

  • Some music has cultural implications. For example, gangster rap may have negative connotations because the culture around it espouses law-breaking activities. Conversely, classical music may imply an excessively conservative culture. Think about the cultural implications of your soundtrack. Avoid the extremes.

  • Keep it happy. Choose a soundtrack that has a simple melody and an upbeat tempo.

  • Pick music that has the right licensing. Most music you listen to on the radio is copyrighted. Because your video résumé is for public use, using copyrighted music without permission is illegal. You can still use appropriately licensed music for free as long as you reference the artist at the end of your film. Search for “creative commons music” to find the best sites for legal soundtrack downloads.

  • Embrace ducking. Ducking describes a technique whereby the volume of one soundtrack gets really low as another track comes in. Most video-editing software lets you duck the soundtrack so when your voice comes in on the other track, the music automatically gets very soft. Just make sure the music isn’t competing with your voice.

When using video-editing software, experiment with different transitions. Your options include crossfading (when the next scene blurs onto the current scene), simple cutaways (a sudden cut to the next scene), and fade-to-blacks (where the current scene fades to a black background before the next scene comes in).

You’ll probably use the first two quite often. If you want to denote a full change of scene or passage of time or if you want to create chapters in your video’s sequence, you can try using a fade-to-black. For instance, when you change topics or move from introductory material to more detailed material, fade-to-blacks give the film some space.

With only three to five minutes, however, don’t use this type of fade more than three times. Whatever you do, don’t get too fancy with your transitions. Things like spiraling fades and flashing lights take away from your content.

Check out audiojungle.net where you can pick up royalty-free music for about a dollar.

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