In filmmaking, sometimes you need to use copyrighted content to give it that oomph and amazing soundtrack to complete your film. However, royalty fees can be costly. Sometimes upwards of $10,000 + and the legal ramifications of using copyrighted material illegally can ruin a whole project.
The use of music and sound can either make your film awe-inspiring or it can make it just “meh.” The element of sound is the synergistic part of filmmaking that makes it whole. Not only does sound capture the emotion in those special moments of film, it provides vital emotional cues that are essential in contributing to the atmosphere.
The process of adding your own sound to a project is difficult. Sometimes you want a certain mood to elaborate critical scenes, like an alternating two-note theme to build tension or an epic bombastic brass with drum combos that goes with a fierce sword battle. Being able to create original thematic sounds like these takes some musical expertise, and can take years to learn.
This is why royalty-free content can be a real asset to filmmakers, especially those on a budget.
If you are interested in royalty-free content, we at Pixel Productions first recommend Creative Commons.
Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that is devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to build upon legally and to share. Through Google and Flickr they support the largest database for royalty-free content. Also, here are the different types of content for what purposes you intend to use.
- Attribution: You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your copyrighted work—and derivative works based upon it—but only if they give credit the way you request.
- Share Alike: You allow others to distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs your work.
- Non-Commercial: You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your work—and derivative works based upon it—but for non-commercial purposes only.
- No Derivative Works: You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform only verbatim copies of your work, not derivative works based upon it.
- Public Domain Dedication: The person who associated a work with this deed has dedicated the work to the public domain by waiving all of his or her rights to the work worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law. You can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.
Other sites that provide good quality royalty free content are:
Free Graphics Sites
http://www.shutterstock.com – Shutterstock is probably the premiere website for images and has a nice collection of music to use as well.
http://www.pond5.com – Pond5 is a lot newer to the game and does not offer as much as shutterstock.com, but recently, Venture Investors have invested $61 million into them, betting to become the dominant online media producer.
Free Music Sites
http://soundcloud.com – Vimeo and Soundcloud are both incredible websites part of the Creative Commons initiative. Though their database are not as big as the others, they have an incredible user uploaded material. Soundcloud also for the most part has completely free content.
http://www.jamendo.com/en – Jamendo has one of bigger databases of music by artists if you want that one incredible song you’re looking for.
There are many more options available as well. With these tools, there’s no stopping you in creating incredible works of art!