No story–or documentary– is complete without music. Production Manager Jim Mahan volunteered for the task of finding the music and hit all the right notes.
Finding the music
I’ve always enjoyed doing audio and music for productions and when we were talking about how to finish this project on time, and within budget, we know that we were going to have to choose music from a pre-existing library.
So I stepped up and said okay, let me do the music. For an hour show, music’s really important. It can’t be the same it gets boring too quickly. You have to change it up. So it was a challenge for me. I really enjoyed it. There was a collection on Firstcom. It was a BBC collection that had just come out. They had a lot of travel music. One in particular was about adventure on the ocean, so I started there and found some great pieces.
Songs for adventure
There’s a certain feel to something that makes you–that’s adventurous–that’s got an adventurous tone to it. You feel like you’re moving. When you’re on the ocean of course, that big orchestra with strings that pull you and pull you down with the waves. The feel of the music is one of being on the ocean. It’s interesting because when people start composing for—especially the composers for BBC, they really know their craft—so as soon as you hear it you go ‘oh, they’re on the ocean.’ It has those feels.
You read those titles and it’s amazing how well the titles match up with what the music is. And I think that’s a good composer and the guys that did this particular collection really nailed it. It was fun to listen to their stuff.
The opening theme worked really well. It shows up a couple times in the piece when you’re being wowed by big shots. You can’t have an orchestra and a big crescendo without big pictures like big mountains and beautiful ocean scenes. We had a lot of those so it worked. I also liked the tune that we used whenever we’re visiting the towns or the villages. When it was busy at the dock there was one particular tune that we used. I think was called village joy. Those are the two that stick out in my mind.
The Importance of Music
I think most people know it. It’s subtle. Music and background sound is important to the pictures. I think most filmmakers would say it’s nothing without the sound. You can’t achieve what you want with a film without a good soundtrack. It’s not the pictures, it’s the sound. And sound will lead you, every time. If you precede a scene with music, you already have an idea of what the scene is going to be. And that’s a real way to pull people through a film, especially a longer film.