Where Do I Get Music and Special Effects?
M.E.E.T and the Northwest High School Film Festival always aims to be professional and legal when it comes to student productions. But we don't expect every student filmmaker to be a music composer, graphic designer or audio technician and we acknowledge that copyright law can be pretty confusing at times. So to help, here are various people and places you can go to for help in making your production the best it can be — legally.
CREATIVE COMMONS — https://creativecommons.org
CC is a great idea where artists of all types can meet and share their work. You’ll find music, photography, graphics, media and more available. You need to pick and choose and the quality runs from grandpa singing in his kitchen to full-blown orchestrated movie scores. Each artist submits material and sets a “price” which may be $$$, donation, simple attribution in your credits, or nothing at all. There are several services to search through. You can also be a contributor.
INCOMPETECH (KEVIN MCCLEOD) — http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free
You will hear Kevin McCleod’s music all over. It’s no wonder. It’s great stuff and he gives it away. He does ask for donations and deserves them, but if you need music fast and cheep, he’s your guy. Pieces are easy to audition and access
FREEPLAY MUSIC — http://freeplaymusic.com
15,000 songs they say. Licensing rates are on a sliding scale depending upon what you plan to do with your production. The cost for personal and in-class films is free but you still need to register. For student productions entered in film festivals the cost is 99 cents for a year of legal use.
FOOTAGE CRATE — www.footagecrate.com
Music, sound effects and visual effects. Free membership entitles you to five downloads per day of many selected items. A “Pro” membership opens the entire library and costs $39 per year.
AUDIO NETWORK — www.audionetwork.com
Very large library of music in all styles. Easily searchable. Cost is on a sliding scale from about $10 per track for student films to $100 for professional productions. Nothing free.
AUDIONAUTIX — http://audionautix.com
Jason Shaw offers his own compositions free of charge. There’s good selection in a variety of styles and you can audition before downloading. He asks for donations so give if you can.
BENSOUND — www.bensound.com
Student films can be cleared for free under a Creative Commons license for some of the music. Other options and more selection is available for a fee of $129 for a year of access.
STEVEN O’BRIEN — https://soundcloud.com/stevenobrien
When asked if you can use his music in your production, Steve says, “Yes YES YES.” He asks only that you give him credit but doesn’t even demand that. Nice guy.
DANOSONGS — www.danosongs.com
Dan-O has a library of 77 original songs. You can “donate” $10 each or buy all 77 cuts for $50.
A.J. CHURCHILL — www.ajchurchill.com/student-films.html
A.J. has a small but good library of music and he offers it ONLY to student filmmakers for free.
MOBY GRATIS — http://www.mobygratis.com
The artist formerly and currently known as Moby has made a selection of over 150 tracks from his huge catalog of music available to license for free, via a simple online application system.
FILMSTRO — www.filmstro.com
A standalone app that allows you to create your own music. A monthly subscription of about $15 entitles you to five new soundtracks per week plus access to the entire library. Works on both Mac and PC.
SONGFREEDOM — www.songfreedom.com
An unusual site because in addition to original works, you can also license some popular songs from artists like Frank Sinatra, Etta James, The Jackson Five, Marvin Gaye and Imagine Dragons. Prices vary but tend to peak at about $60 for student films.
FREE MUSIC ARCHIVE — http://freemusicarchive.org
Some of the oddest music around but lots of good stuff too, including antique recordings, Joplin rags, foreign artists, classical and even spoken word. Much of it covered by Creative Commons Attribution licensing.
AUDIO SOCKET — www.audiosocket.com
Nice library offering music for student films for $5 each or five pieces for $21.
JEWELBEAT — www.jewelbeat.com
$2.99 per track or the whole library of 35,000 tracks for $299. Wide variety of styles, mostly electronic instrumentation.
FREE SOUND — www.freesound.org
Sound effects for free. ZOWIE! POP! WHOOSH!
FREE SFX — www.freesfx.co.uk
More sounds to punctuate your productions.
FCP.CO — www.fcp.co
An international site for Final Cut Pro users. Many submit free plugins for FCP. There are also tutorials, forums and news features.
IZZY VIDEO — www.izzyvideo.com
Another site for Final Cut users. Izzy makes tutorials and offers advice, free plugins and even a little music for download.
ENVATO MARKET/VIDEO HIVE — http://market.envato.com
Similar to Creative Commons where many artists can exhibit and sell their works. You can find music, graphics, photography, 3D modeling, Web site templates, code scripts, motion backgrounds, After Effect project files, stock footage and more. Each file has its own price and you can search by style, platform, price, artist or keyword. There is also a yearly subscription service with unlimited downloads called Envato Elements.
MOTION ARRAY — https://motionarray.com
Video templates mostly for Premiere Pro and After Effects. Register for free downloads.
DETONATION FILMS — www.detonationfilms.com
The name says it all. If you’re looking for mayhem in your video effects you’ve come to the right place. Explosions, fire, blood, bullets, dust, debris and breaking glass. All this and more. Some is free for download or you can purchase packs for even more destruction.
ADOBE AUDITION DOWNLOADS — https://offers.adobe.com/en/na/audition/offers/audition_dlc.html
Do you use Adobe products in your production? If so, then your license covers this library of 10,000 sound effects and thousands of music loops and beds you can download and install.
MITCH MARTINEZ — http://mitchmartinez.com/free-4k-red-epic-stock-footage
Mr. Martinez shoots a lot of very nice stock footage and makes it available for free download. There is background footage for titles, special effects and overlays, nature, smoke, water, snow, the moon and more. If you don’t want to download, you can buy bundles.
AA VFX — http://director-editor.coi.co.il/AA-VFX.htm
High-quality animated motion backgrounds for free. You can pay a lot for such backgrounds elsewhere but why? Amitai Angor makes his work available for download saying, “Use my art for what it is meant to be - as a tool for helping video editors to find high-end animations and effects for 'Fair Use' productions as backgrounds for your original material, as transitions or matte keyed for your filmed footage.” You can donate, which he deserves, or you can subscribe to his YouTube channel for updates — www.youtube.com/channel/UCilPIl-SwFbtsoH8WLnvlfA
LIGHT LEAK LOVE — https://lightleaklove.com/products/light-free
Light leak effects can be fun and can make cool transitions. Here are a few free ones for easy download.
CUTE STOCK FOOTAGE — www.cutestockfootage.com
Video and audio effects. Not all of them are cute — some are quite bloody — but they’re free and several are green-screened for keying.
FOOTAGE ISLAND — www.youtube.com/user/footageisland
YouTube-based site for free visual effects in many styles and often set up for keying.
TOMMY VIDEO — www.youtube.com/user/freemotionbacks
More animated video backgrounds. Provide links and attribution in your credits and they’re yours.
MOVIE VOICE PACK — http://finalcutking.com/movie-voice-free-trailer-voices
A unique collection of classic movie trailer lines spoken by various announcers. Fun and free.
If you have other suggestions please send them to us in an e-mail.