Attribution or Name That Tune!
Last Update: Jun 26, 2016
Lately, I notice some of the “Newbies of Video” posting some of their work. For the most part, these have been pretty well done, and the creators make great use of their video making apps (or Powerpoint presentations converted to Mp3), there are two glaring rules of thumb that are often broken. I am discussing them together because of their relation to each other.
Granted, Rules of Thumb are NOT hard and fast rules, written in stone. They are merely GUIDELINES” which you may or may not choose to heed. However, these guidelines are arrived at by the consensus of many end users through much trial and error.
There are two such rules I see being broken the most often: Attribution (authorship, and this is probably more than just a guideline) and Video Length.
How are these related?
Many videos use music as either a background to or even a feature of a video. Those who use a song as a main feature of the video chose a song specifically because the lyrics and/or the score is relevant to the content. The thing about most songs is that they are usually 3 minutes or more in length.
Now, when you’re in the car and a song comes on the radio, that song is over before you know it; especially if it’s a song you love and you’re singing along while driving. But when it comes to a video slideshow on the internet, your average visitor will spend about 30 seconds before moving on unless it’s REALLY compelling. So it’s best to keep your video under two minutes.
The best way to achieve this when you really want to feature a song that is over two minutes in length - which means most of them… Chose the portion of the song, maybe a verse and chorus that defines the message best. Then use your video editing software to fade it out. Or use a free audio editor such as Audacity to trim your clip, fade out the music and import it into your movie.
I recently watched one particular video all the way through even though it was more than three minutes long. Why? Because I liked the music and I wanted to find out what the song was. And you know what? Nowhere in the video was it attributed. I finally saw below the video, it stated, “Soundtrack by…” So then I Googled the name of the artist and found HIS Youtube channel where I then proceeded to sift through long list of songs and through the process of elimination, figured out which titles it was most likely to be and eventually found it.
Here’s why I bring up attribution.
1. As a journalism student, I learned a long time ago that when quoting another source, you must list that source. If you create a video slideshow consisting of inspirational quotes, it seems to be a given that you attribute the quotes to the quoter. But for some reason, people don’t attach any importance to the person who has written the lyrics, created the music, played and sang the song, hired session musicians, a producer, an engineer, produced a CD, DVD, went on tour, etc, etc, etc. only to have his or her songs, even entire album downloaded, often illegally, in mass quantities. So, omitting this particular attribution is my first critique. Very few who attend movies sit all the way through the credits. But those who do, know that every song used in the movie is listed, on the screen, at the very end. Personally, I think listing those songs and artists is more important than who provided the catering, or the assistant to the assistant to the assistant of the editor’s assistant, but at least it’s there!
2. As a songwriter myself, with many friends who also write and record their own material, this is just an issue that has always been close to me. So, to reiterate the title of this post… keep it short and -
Name that tune!
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