Wedding Video Music
Music is an important part of most wedding videos, whether it is recorded incidentally as part of the proceedings or added later in the edit suite.
When to Add Music
Some music decisions are made for you, such as the bridal procession and first waltz, but other parts of the video are open to your discretion.
Romantic music and love songs are a staple of wedding video. Slow, flowing music works well for weddings, especially near the beginning. Later, at the reception, you could pump it up a bit.
Whenever music features during the wedding or reception, try to record whole segments of the sound even if you aren't recording images. You can then use the music as background for a series of shots, rather than having the music stop and start every time you change shot.
Montages are very popular in wedding videos, for example, a series of photos from birth to marriage. Montages are almost always set to music.
Make sure you get approval from the bride and groom for any music added in post-production. In many cases they will make the choices for you.
Music is protected by copyright. Depending on the way music features in your production, you may be required to purchase a licence to use it. The exact laws and licensing schemes vary between countries but here are a few guidelines:
- It doesn't usually matter whether you are making your own amateur video or running a wedding video business, the law applies the same.
- Music which is entirely incidental is unlikely to be subject to licensing. For example, if you interview someone and there is music playing from a radio in the background, you shouldn't need to worry about copyright.
- Music which is the feature of a shot will probably be subject to copyright, for example, a shot of the band playing.
- Old music, such as many hymns sung at weddings, aren't usually subject to copyright.
- Some licensing schemes allow you to use any music without getting explicit permission from the composer, other schemes do require such permission.
- Some schemes allow any use of the music, some schemes have specific rules for setting music to images.
- In some cases there won't be any legal way to use the music you have chosen.
Most countries have a regulatory body which oversees music licences. You should find out who the body is in your country and visit their website for more information.
Non-Copyright / Royalty-Free Options
If you prefer, you can purchase royalty-free music which has no restrictions on use. This could get you off the hook as far as licensing goes — make sure any copyright-protected music is only incidental and use royalty-free music for things like photo montages, etc.
The obvious disadvantage is the selection of music. Even the best royalty-free music isn't quite the same as your favourite love song. However don't be put off just because you can't have the song you want — you may find that royalty-free music is better than you expected and may even enhance the pictures more than a well-known song.