I have made a short timelapse of some nature phenomena. I would like to add ambient-like background music to it with Ableton Live. Both the timelapse and the music are (going to be) made by me, the problem is that I can not decide on what to "fix" first.
Should I make a final cut of the timelapse first and adjust the music to it? Or should I create the ambient track and cut the video to match it?

  • are you going to have the audio going along perfectly with the video, or is going to kind of be free-form and just for background ambiance?
    – Travis Dtfsu Crum
    Sep 19, 2012 at 15:24
  • I think I will try to make it as perfect as possible. I tried the free-form thing, but it looks/sounds quite shabby. Sep 19, 2012 at 15:26
  • was my answer adequate for your question?
    – Travis Dtfsu Crum
    Sep 25, 2012 at 15:02
  • Yes, but I hoped someone else would have something to say about the subject as well. I haven't started the music making yet, when I finish I will mark your answer as accepted. Sep 25, 2012 at 15:07
  • ok sounds good (/^_^)/
    – Travis Dtfsu Crum
    Oct 8, 2012 at 20:52

1 Answer 1


Technically you could do this either way, but you know your own style while I don't so you should have the final say.

Since you are creating the audio yourself it will probably be easier to finish the video editing and arranging first and completely so that you can write your song around the flow of the video. Since you are going with an ambient feel, it is a good idea to have a simple metronome playing along while editing the video just to make sure you stay on beat and tempo.

I have done this both ways and would say that if you're using a song that is already composed, it is generally easier to edit the video around the audio. But in the case where you're creating the audio specifically for the video, it might be easier to edit the video completely ahead of time and then write the song accordingly. Making the song second might also inspire you to be much more creative and end up with something way cooler than just editing the video alone.

Just make sure to PLAN AHEAD. Have a general idea of how the song will be laid out so that you can edit the video accordingly. For example, I made a concert video for my class that was composed of live clips from the band Explosions in the Sky's live performances. I used their song Birth and Death of the Day and in the song there is a breakdown right before a "drop" where the bass, kick drum, and multiple crashes all hit in a cool pattern. I edited the video so that every time these hit in sync with the pattern, it would switch to a different slow motion clip with the very last one doing a fade out before the fast part kicks in for the rest of the video. In this situation it was much easier to edit the video to fit the song then to edit the song to fit the video.

Its only a toss up to your personal preference but I hope this helps you decide what to do.

  • 1
    I ended up fixing the sound first, and then editing the timelapse cuts around it. The final result can be found here: vimeo.com/51826155 Oct 20, 2012 at 20:39

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