Creating a Free Backing Track
I was looking to create some music as a backing track for my YouTube videos that were made up of images, or that had no real audio of their own. So what I wanted was something free that had no copyright attached and that I could use without running into any problems.
I found exactly this by using a few free programs that I found online. I thought it would be useful to share the way I did it (if for no other reason than to help me remember!).
You don't have to have any experience in creating music, being able to read music, or being able to use any kind of music software to be able to create your own music tracks. The music can be as simple or as complicated as you have the time and patience for!
When you first use the programs there is a degree of learning required but once you have the knack you can create quite a bit of different music.
1. Choose Your Loops and Effects
So when I first started doing this I came across a site called Soundation.com - it has a number of different plans available but it does have a great free plan with 700 sound effects available.
There are lots of actual live sound effects (e.g. the sound of a tractor engine) as well as some real music samples. You can use these effects one on top of each other and drag and drop them where you want them to go in the user interface.
The UI does take a bit of getting used to and it is recommended that you at least have a cursory look at the instructions if you are one of those people who jumps straight in. But once you have the idea of what you need to do, it is relatively easy.
To create a small sample just drag the sounds you want into the different channels. If the sounds have different tempos then the program will stretch them or pitch change them so that they match up, it really is very user friendly.
Once you have some sounds that seem to create a nice sample together you can export them as a .wav file and save them on your hard drive. If you open an account with Soundation you can also save samples on their site.
2. Use Your Samples to Create a Soundtrack
Once you have your samples you can use them consecutively (perhaps just repeating them for a longer track) to create your backing track.
For this bit I use a program called Audacity that you can also download for free. It is a great little program and once you open that up you can import the samples that you created in Soundation.
Open Audacity and import the samples, you can then create a loop or else use the tracks menu to align the tracks consecutively. You can also select the sample you have and choose to repeat it a certain number of times so that you have a longer track. It will also tell you how long the track will be which can be useful if you already have your video.
At the end of the track you can choose to fade the track out if you want to and there are numerous other effects that you can use.
There are many options on what you can do with the tracks in Audacity and to be honest I have barely scratched the surface! But using just the simplest parts has given me the ability to create a free audio track to use as a backing track.
3. Create Your .Wav File
You can save the audacity file in case you want to make some changes to it later but once you have what you think is your completed background music you can export that as a .wav file.
This can then be used to add to your video either while you are creating it.
The video below is one that I created and used my own audio on. I used Windows Movie Maker to add the audio track to the video before uploading it to YouTube.