Filmmaking Amateur | Garage Band Rookie (Day Seventeen)

by Scott U
(Georgia, USA)

Garage Band Rookie, Help! For me, one of the most important aspects of any film is the soundtrack. Whether it's a movie or a documentary, the music bed that you lay beneath the video and the sound from actors allows the viewer to better understand what they are suppose to feel about the scene.

Try it for yourself. Create a short video and use dramatic music. Using the same video again, lay down some comical music. It will completely change the video. The musical score that accompanies your video has a tremendous impact. It's kind of like the bass guitar in a band. You don't notice it until you notice it. It can be a very subtle effect or it can be an in-your-face treatment that cannot be ignored. Anyway you slice it, the music you choose to help tell your story is extremely important.

But how do you choose which music to use? Better yet, where do you get that music? You can't just use a popular song from the radio (well, you can, but without copyright approval, you're in for a big headache. Fade up dramatic music). Many editing programs come with some form of ready to use (legal) music tracks. After a number of videos however, you may notice that you are using the same tracks over and over again. I am currently using iMovie. It has a great number of soundtracks provided for me. But I find that it still comes up short after having produced several dozen videos with it. You don't want people to recognize your video because they hear "that song" again.

So, with all these limitations, how can you create compelling musical scores that do not show up repeatedly? Apple has a solution for that as well. Garage Band. What an incredible program this is.

Garage Band has prerecorded musical tracks from all kinds of instruments. All you have to do is lay down a little guitar, add some drums, maybe a piano or organ track and of course, a bass line. Sounds easy enough. But holy cow, now you have to know music in general. Sure, Garage Band is an easy to use program, but without some basic knowledge of music, you could find yourself creating nothing but noise-not music. Is a D chord best for this scene? Should I use a 4-beat or 16-beat rhythm? How loud should the bass line be? You really have to have a good ear and sense of timing to create music in Garage Band. I think I have that, but as I am currently learning Garage Band, I find myself overwhelmed with choices. It's hard enough to write a good script that takes the viewer on a ride that moves them. Adding the additional skill of actually making music?--geesh, people make careers out of how to put this instrument with that instrument with the right timing.

As I take on this new world of being my own record producer using my own desktop studio I find that the process can be quite daunting. Does anyone have any tips or tricks that they have found that helps you make better use of Garage Band or a similar music production program? If you do, please feel free to share them below. Thanks!

Comments for Filmmaking Amateur | Garage Band Rookie (Day Seventeen)

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Nov 29, 2011
GarageBand Tutorial
by: Desktop Documentaries

The best bit of advice I can give is to take things one step at a time. Focus on one little spot in your film that needs some music, think about what "mood" you want and how that mood can be represented through music. Is it a single acoustic guitar? A flashback to the eighties with synthesizers? An African drum?

Keep it simple and keep trying until something seems close and hone in on that.

Also, one really cool aspect of Garage Band is that you can import your edited video and create music (or other sound effects) to exactly match the visuals! Here's a video tutorial for how to do that:

Good Luck and Happy Composing!

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