A few days ago, Moviestorm, the free 3D animated moviemaking software, released several new packs, but they’re NOT the usual sort - clothes, sets, props and the like. No, in an absolutely BRILLIANT move, these packs contain royalty-free music and sound effects. I’ve got an interview and product review request into Moviestorm’s Matt Kelland, so stay tuned for additional details on that front.
In the mean time, let me explain why this is such a smart offering. Many people who make films, be it machinima or home videos, they look for music and sound effects, and often they just take anything they find that sounds good, including copyright materials to which they do not have the rights. It’s actually a very serious problem. Some people don’t think that there’s anything wrong with doing that, but of course there is. There’s the doctrine of ‘fair use’ that many people like to cite, and also, many people think that if they are not making a profit, they can just use something that belongs to someone else. That’s not the case.
And besides all the legal issues, there’s also a problem if someone has made something good enough to sell. If they haven’t acquired the music and effects rights, their work can’t get clearance, and it can’t be sold. Even if they’re not looking to make any money, and would rather just have recognition, they can be subjected to takedown notices and letters. If they’ve uploaded it a site like YouTube, they can end up with their movie removed, or the audio rendered silent.
A number of well-known machinima directors and producers have written extensively on this subject, including Strange Company’s Hugh Hancock, director of Bloodspell and co-
author of Machinima for Dummies (with Moviestorm’s Johnnie Ingram): Had your Machinima piece taken off YouTube? The Electronic Frontier Foundation want to help (February 04, 2009), Grrrraarrrrgh! Takedowns kill first-in-engine Machinima (January 31, 2009) and YouTube taking down Machinima using copyrighted music (January 28, 2009). Contained in these three posts are lists of downed movies and a number of helpful links.
Of course, there’s a number of places to get music and sound effects legally, and sometimes even for free. For Vox Populi Terra Pax, my award-winning animated film, I licensed “Flying Foxes” for the soundtrack from the recording artist Moby for free. And there’s lots of places to buy audio files, but that can be time-consuming, annoying and expensive.
What the people at Moviestorm have done is make getting music and sound effects simple and easy at a reasonable price. The music was created by the fabulous award-winning ‘Bob & Barn‘ team aka Paul ‘Bob’ Arnold and Andrew ‘Barn’ Barnabas.
If you’re new to the whole ‘Bob & Barn experience’, I wouldn’t be surprised if your first question was ‘just who the hell are Bob & Barn’ and maybe the second would be ‘just what kind of name of a company IS Bob & Barn’.
Well, let me answer these 2 important issues. Bob & Barn are the nicknames of Paul ‘Bob’ Arnold and Andrew ‘Barn’ Barnabas, a couple of affable chaps who’ve been writing music professionally and involved in all manner of sound related paraphernalia since 1990.
Formerly heads of audio, music directors etc. of various emminent institutions - Sony being one of them, they left the convenience of corporations and formed a ‘sound company for the new millennium’ in 2001. With a heady combination of passion, single mindedness in increasing recognition and importance of video game soundtracks, tech savvy, business acumen and a keen sense of fun and “not taking ourselves too seriously” they’ve managed to carve an egg shaped niche into the heart of the media world.
The four music packs - Accents and Idents (£5.99), Action Themes (£14.99), Contemporary, Ethnic and Retro Grooves (£14.99) & Epic Adventure Themes (£14.99) - commissioned from Bob & Barn contain 275+ fully licensed royalty-free tracks.
In the last year, Moviestorm has successfully marketed bundles and had a number of very popular specials; after all, everyone likes a bargain. In this case, all four music packs can be bought togther for only £39.99 - or 15p per track - that’s a discount of more 20% which translates to a saving of more than £10 over buying them indivually. Purchases can be made in different currencies. Details are available on the buy page.