Music and training videos can work well together, but they can also work against each other.

This blog will look at our latest videos and why we built them the way we did so as to avoid some of the common pitfalls.

Here are the four videos. These are the YouTube versions. You can see low resolution versions on our showreel page.

How Phishing Emails Get Through

How a Spear Phishing Attack Works

Reporting Phishing Emails and Why It’s Important

Data Breaches and Ransom (blackmail) Demands

Synchronising

The first thing we wanted to do was to match the music with what’s happening on screen. This means different music for the different sections of the video.

It also means syncing the smaller actions on screen with what’s happening in the music. This is a little trickier than you might think. It’s all about the music and the screens getting to the right place and the right time.

Sometimes you can see the peaks  in the audio wave file and match the action to them. When there’s something like a chord or change of music, then we  put a marker in the audio files so that we could see where and animation would need to take place on the video timeline.

We wanted the music to reflect the mood of the video. Therefore, if it’s talking about cybercriminals and stealing information, happy, corporate music won’t work. Something a bit more eerie and uneasy is needed.

Speed

Some will say it’s too fast and others will say it’s too slow. What can you do?

We now have an option in the YouTube and Vimeo players that can help with this – Playback Speed.

The playback speed can be adjusted to suit. This will of course, affect how the music sounds, but it can be muted.

speed controls

Inspiration

If the music in How a Spear Phishing Attack Works sounds familiar, it was inspired by Hans Zimmer’s You’re So Cool from the film True Romance, 1993 https://youtu.be/R8p0lUGhUrs

The first time I saw the film I loved the way the music was in complete contrast to the story, yet it seemed to fit so well. I later found out that Hans Zimmer had based it on Carl Orff’s Gassenhauer. Which in turn was based on apiece by Hans Neusiedler in 1536.

The music for How a Phishing Attacks Work came about in a completely different way – by experimenting with new software players. One is called chords and scales and allows you to create all sorts of interesting chords from one note. Although this may sound like cheating, it gives you a great deal of flexibility which is useful when you want the sequence to be a few seconds shorter or longer.

The drums also used a new sequencer which allows you to open up a virtual drum kit, create some drum patterns, then dial in variations by adding a probability setting on whether the sound gets triggered or not.

It may sound like cheating but you’re not really composing music in the usual way of things. A backing track should be a ‘bed’ for the video to sit on, complement the video and not work against it. To achieve this we needed structures which didn’t require eight bar phrases and could ‘turn on a sixpence’.

I’m sure I read somewhere, along time ago, that when people were surveyed about music in videos, the replies were usually about the same. 25% liked it, 50% were neutral, and 25% didn’t like it. I think that’s about right.

Whatever you do, it’s not going to please everyone. But again, we have the option of turning the music off. The important thing here is that the video ‘stands on its own’ without the music.

We have two more video which we will be releasing shortly, both with soundtracks. It’s an exciting new direction for us. There’s a lot of experimentation but the one thing that’s sticking out at the moment is that the music must match the action on the ‘stage’, and off the shelf soundtracks just can’t do that with the same flexibility.