The right sound for your science video

If you’re a researcher interested in creating science videos, you’ll probably be thinking of adding sound into your video. Here’s the key to that: any sounds that you include in your video should only be there if they further the goals of that video.

All too often, science videos use non deliberate sound – specifically a backing track of non-deliberate pleasant music that serves no purpose other than to be, well pleasant. For some reason, the most popular of this kind of background music in science videos is soothing solo guitar or banjo. This kind of non-deliberate sound is distracting and actually detracts from your video.

The above video illustrates your three basic choices with added sound:

  1. No added sound (other than voices speaking to camera).
  2. Added sound designed to directly place the viewer in the location of the scene in the video (for example: sounds of the ocean if you are talking about something beach-related).
  3. Added sound that does not directly relate to the setting of the scene, but is instead a more metaphorical choice purely designed to convey an emotional feel.
    Above all else, remember this rule: any sound in your video should be a deliberate choice by you that furthers the goals of the video. The number one goal? Keep your audience watching.

Interested in learning more about creating great videos? SciFund Challenge has a lot more to say about it in our Video for Scientists class. Here’s the relevant section of the class material.