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Picture yourself on YouTube – you’re doing a few renovations in your home and you try to search for a how-to video to help show you what to do next. Many of the videos you find were uploaded almost 10 years ago, and needless to say the video quality isn’t very good. After a few seconds of watching, you can barely make out what the instructor is doing and you are beginning to think all hope for your handyman project is lost. Suddenly, a voice-over begins and reads a step-by-step explanation of what you’re doing and how to fix it – your handyman career is saved!
This thought brings into light one very important question when it comes to video production – which is more important, audio or video? Many people, even corporate executives choose video, as it has often been perceived as the better avenue to communicate a message. But is this necessarily the right answer?
Great filmmakers understand that in reality, one is no more important than the other, and a good production is made up of equal parts audio and equal parts video. However, many people might not be aware of the total implications audio has in a production. Bad quality audio can be detrimental to your brand’s image, as it skews the message you’re trying to convey and shows you might not be willing to spend any money communicating a message to your audience, which sets you up for failure in the long run.
To get a good sense of what we’re talking about, view the video below:

This video not only shows that you should realistically never pick between audio and video, but if you had to, you should always choose audio, because no matter what the picture looks like, as long as the viewer can understand what’s being said, you can still convey a message.
Back on a shoot in May, one of our sound mixers, Scott Taylor said, “audio is 50 per cent of your production. If you don’t have good audio, there’s no emotion and overall tone and feel of a production. You really can’t put words to it.” He’s absolutely right. Poor quality sound could mean the absence of pen strokes across a sheet of paper. In an art video, minor sound effects set the tone for the entire piece, which is something we’ve learned from experience. In most cases, audio can truly set the mood for how an audience is going to feel. If not through words or sound effects, through a background music track, which can make a significant difference in the quality of your production.
Whether you’re creating a piece of branded content, a business film, a commercial, or corporate video in general, a music track can help hold a viewer’s attention until you’re able to communicate your message.
But how do you pick the right music? This all comes down to one very important question that you should ask before you even start developing a video. How do you want your audience to feel when they watch it? If you’re going for a sad/somber feeling, then perhaps a dramatic or cinematic track might be the best fit. If you want your audience to feel happy, go for a more upbeat track, which tend to have a higher number of beats per minute (BPM).
Most audio sites categorize music into different categories to help make them easier to select, such as corporate, cinematic, dramatic, and more. The reality is, there are millions of audio tracks out there, many of which would work perfectly with your production, as long as you’re willing to dedicate as much time towards your audio as you plan to with your video.


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Chris Stasiuk

Author Chris Stasiuk

Chris is commercial director and founder of SVG, a Toronto based video content agency.

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