The most frustrating part about stock music is that it just doesn't fit your movie. It may too "sad," too "happy," or it may not hit your edits. You should be able to edit to picture instead of having to edit to accommodate your stock music, right? Enter Filmstro.
Unlike Musicbed, PremiumBeat, and AudioJungle, you can do more with Filmstro than simply buy copyrighted music from an online catalogue. For the first time ever, Filmstro gives you the creative control to adapt and re-compose stock music to fit your edits.
Goodbye, static music! Control your soundtrack
What if you had the power to choose a stock song, and then edit the way the melody rises and falls? Pumping up the strings at a certain intense moment, or gradually toning down the atmosphere until only one instrument remains?
That would be nearly impossible to do without the help of a composer, but that's where Filmstro comes in. The downloadable desktop app allows you to adjust the tracks in a timeline very similar to that of video editing suites. You can now adapt and re-compose music to fit the edits of your film. With Filmstro, you can edit music like you edit video. There is nothing else on the current market that gives users this level of control.
Be your own composer
It's true; mutli-hyphenates are all the rage these days, but there still aren't very many writer-producer-director-composers out there. Don't limit yourself to having to choose between a composer and stock music when there's a clear middle ground. Sure, it would be great to get a composer to score your edit once it's ready—but if it's not in the budget, it's not in the budget. Plus, sometimes, it's just too hard to communicate your scene's mood. You don't have the "composer language." What is supposed to be a useful collaboration turns into an increasingly drawn out process of rounds and rounds of feedback, going nowhere.
The difference between a major and a minor chord, or a sad orchestral and a massively epic piece, could end up setting the tone for many different aspects of a scene. Filmstro gives you the reigns to that dynamic range in between. As a filmmaker, you're a storyteller and you know the emotional content for your scene; you should also be empowered to make that distinction. But how do you make it possible for filmmakers to have total control over the music of a scene if we have no actual musical background? We are visual people, not aural.
How to use Fimstro
Filmstro emulates editing programs. The result is an incredibly simple timeline, with three sliders that allow you to adjust "momentum," "depth," and "power"—the three basic fundamentals of music—and a real-time graph editor that allows you to choose the peaks and troughs of the score within your scene. Why three sliders? In creating the software, Sebastian Jaeger distilled music down to its fundamentals. "All music—regardless of genre—only changes in three ways: it's either fast or slow (momentum), high or low (depth), or soft or strong (power)," he said.
Once you've found the piece you want to use in Filmstro's Music Library, you can just drag it into the timeline and begin experimenting. The three sliders are fun to play around with and you can watch in real-time as they set the mood for your scene. As you slide them up, more instruments and complex phrases pop up, and you can gradually fade up into them with the help of keyframes exactly like the ones you'd find in traditional NLEs.
It's difficult to compare Filmstro's library to any other when discussing its volume. That's because a lot of libraries offer music with a variable production value and just look to fill out their catalog with random—sometimes not so great—music. Alternatively, Filmstro's library features music which contains variations within itself, so one song could suddenly become 1,000 songs depending on how you choose to set the sliders and graph. With two new themes added a week, the possibilities of different pieces of music become virtually unlimited.
The entry-level personal subscription starts at $9.99 per month for full access to the library and all new music releases and software updates. (Filmstro plans to offer a student discount in the near future.) You can download the desktop app for free here. It works for both Windows and Mac.