Why is Sound On Screen a thing?
If you’ve ever edited or dubbed a contemporary TV drama, comedy or a movie, you’ve probably hit the molasses when a character is watching something we don’t ever see on TV, or playing a game on a phone. Licencing the real thing is almost always out of the question, and it’s painstaking work to source music, sound design and maybe even some dialogue to sound like something convincing. With Sound On Screen, it’s all done for you.
Julie Hill from Media Script Checks, a UK company specialising in clearing content for film and television, comments:
We are often asked to clear footage or audio for scenes where a character is watching TV / channel hopping / listening to the radio or playing video / computer games. This can prove expensive or very difficult and protracted to clear due to the rights involved and when time is of the essence or due to budgetary constraints, simply not an option.
Sound on Screen is a one stop shop, which offers a fantastic range of audio and licensing for Film and TV is fast, straightforward and the same as for regular Production Music.
We will definitely be recommending you to our clients!
Sound On Screen launched in February 2020, and has already been used in high profile UK programmes including the BBC‘s continuing drama EastEnders.
Is it easy to use?
Yes! Simply log on to the website (it’s free), find your audio clip by using the drop down menus to search for genre, type, country or era. You can click any image to hear a short preview, and then click the name itself to go the product page for anything you wish to audition in more detail or download. On each page you’ll find a play bar and time codes for the action as it progresses so you can quickly and easily check out the full clip.
Once logged in, download links appear for the various mix and stems that are available on each product page, and full details for cue sheet logging purposes.
Licensing is exactly the same as regular production music – Sound On Screen is an MCPS / PRS Production Music library. There’s no other fees to pay or forms to fill in aside from these.
What mix or stem options are there?
It varies depending on what is most appropriate for a particular clip, but typically there are complete mixes, mixes with a TV effect already in place (or sometimes a tablet effect), and individual stems for maximum control. Typically, you might find:
Full Mix – a complete stereo mix with clear dialogue
Full Mix with quieter dialogue – a mix to counter the effect of dialogue being more pronounced when coming from a TV speaker
Mix For Use Under Dialogue – this has even quieter dialogue (if there is any in the particular clip), and a reduced dynamic range, designed for use when the clip has to stay right out of the way.
M+E – music and effects only (no dialogue)
Versions of the above are additionally available pre-treated with TV or tablet effects, that make the mix sound like its coming from a device in a domestic room.
Dialogue Stem – voices and narration
Music Stem – isolated music
SFX Stem – isolated sound effects
Please note – the sound effects stem is a layered mix of all effects in the clip, and only licensed when used alongside other stems.
A .csv file is available containing full logging information for your cue sheets.
A zip file which contains every mix and stem available for each clip is also available to download everything in one hit.
How much does it cost to download?
Downloads are always free, and there is no store at the Sound On Screen website. Money is earned when used in a commercial context, in the same way as library (or production) music. Please see Licensing for more information on this.
Are there any restrictions on use?
The clips here are good to use for all media and all territories when combined with the appropriate license.
You can re-balance and edit the elements as your needs require, but we do stipulate that the music stem is always used (at whatever level you like!)
Please note that Sound On Screen is not a source of clean sound effects, and the optional sound effects stem is supplied for balancing, editing and routing purposes alongside the other stems only. It is not licensed for any other purpose.