Tips and Tricks for Editing Soundtracks: Using Music Clips and Loops

These days you see a lot of YouTube video producers using a similar formula for the backing soundtrack music: They stick a 3-minute music file on one of the audio editing tracks and dial down the volume so that it doesn't interfere with the voiceover track. Sure it is expedient: a simple chore of selecting and dropping in some mellow stock music to fill the void of emptiness which would exist if the soundtrack were left blank. But often the music doesn't seem to match up with what is being said - because there has not been much thought put into the selection of which composition to use. If you watch examples of more professional video productions (cable documentaries, cooking, travel and reality shows are good examples) you will find that there is more often a greater variety of brief musical phrases and clips, or rhythmic loops which fade in and out according to what is appropriate in each scene or segment. Loops (short, repeatable music clips) provide a great way to control the positioning and length of background music so that it is appropriate to each segment of a video. In this example, loops and clips from freesoundtrackmusic.com are each given their own track in the Sony Vegas video editing workspace. By dragging out each loop to the desired start and stop points, the music plays only where appropriate and does not sound "chopped off" as might be the case when snipping up full-length music compositions:
Video editing with music track shown The work surface of the Sony Vegas video editor with loops allocated to sound tracks

Compose your own music clips using loops from royalty free stock loop libraries:
The great thing about loops is how versatile they are: they can be sped up, slowed down, stretched out and layered on top of each other to create interesting new beats, melodies and effects. Sony Creative has another great media editing application called "Acid Music Studio" which provides far more control over audio than what is provided in "Vegas Video":
View of soundtrack editing with loops
Get loopy with wild control over loops editing in Sony's "Acid"
Contact Info
Digimatica is managed by Colin Bryan: colin@digimat.ca