5 Essential Sites to DIY Your Own Iconic Film Scores

Film scores are vital to the success of films as they help the shots to flow seamlessly together while emphasising the story taking place. Unfortunately, most indie filmmakers don’t have a big enough budget to have someone create a score for their specific film or scene. They therefore miss out on having their own specialised music that fits perfectly to what is happening in the plot. However, with these 5 websites even indie filmmakers can have phenomenal scores to accompany their films.

1. Xhail 

Xhail is an online music generator which is free, easy and quick to use. It creates original scores based on what the user types out such as a genre, idea, mood, etc. What makes Xhail stand out compared to other film score websites is its ability to manipulate the music so that it fits to the action in the shots. For example the filmmaker wants the pitch to rise when an explosion happens, Xhail can do this by adding in high pitched instruments like the piccolo. The only downside to Xhail is that in the end the tracks created may sound very similar, as they use music already composed and blended them together to create unique tracks.

2. Pump Audio (Getty Images music devision)

Pump Audio is a place for filmmakers to get real authentic music which is created by talented yet unknown artists instead of digitally made music which is now being over used. The tracks cost because they have to be licensed for filmmakers to be able to use them, as they themselves haven’t composed the tracks, the musicians have but they are low costing. Pump Audio exists to bring musicians and filmmakers together to create the most appealing film scores.

3. Jukedeck

Jukedeck uses artificial intelligence that is trained to compose and adapt music to a professional standard. It gives filmmakers personalised music that can dynamically fit their needs/wants. This personalisation of music is possible due to the tools that Jukedeck offer on their website. But if you are looking for a score with real instruments used on it then this isn't the place for you as all the sounds for the scores are made digitally.


4. ccMixer

ccMixer creates royalty free music that filmmakers can sample or they can use it to create mashups so that they have specialised music specifically created for their film. Their music falls under the Creative Commons (“cc”) license, this means the website can give their customers the right to use, share and edit the music on the website. ccMixer is a community site as anyone can upload their original music samples from musicians to singers, then anyone can create remixes from these uploads but they have to give credit to the source somewhere in the film.


5. Soundation

Soundation is an online music studio with professional features like recording, effects, virtual instruments and over 700 free loops and sounds. But you have to pay to get more loops and sounds that can be used to create a film score, however you are able to listen to them before you purchase them. Soundation allows customers to either edit their sounds on Chrome Studio which has enhanced performance and workflow, or you can edit with up to 9 people through Google’s Hangout service.


By Carenza Mitchell 


Artswork Media is off to Cannes!

How do you get your film into Cannes? Bath Spa University's Creative Media Practice student Poppy Baines has the answer! Poppy discusses the creative process of making Touch at Artswork Media this year. We're delighted to announce Touch will be screening at Cannes Film Festival on 23rd May, 2017! 


1. Can you explain your inspiration and drive for making your short film Touch?

I have always been interested in how sensitive the human body is and how different people react to touch, it is such a personal feeling that is unique to every individual. Much of my work is inspired by conceptual artwork that explores femininity. I am constantly inspired and empowered by the strong creative network of friends that I have, and wanted to make a piece of work that explores a strong personal desire for a woman to touch. I wanted to push boundaries by showing the female with both feminine and masculine traits, which is something that isn’t seen in Hollywood films still. 


2. Why did you choose Super 8 as your film medium for the film?

I love reminiscing about the past and watching old family VHS tapes of my childhood, its much more authentic. 

Due to my love of the vintage and retro style, I was very keen to shoot on film. Super 8 was a medium that I had never experimented with before but I had an old Nikon 8mm camera picking up dust in my bedroom, then when I met Jamie (cinematographer) and we spoke about celluloid and he was interested in working on my project, the decision was made! The Straight 8 competition (that I highly recommend entering) also helped me choose Super 8. 

Theres something special about film, you cherish it much more and it involves a different version of film making that you are taught. 

3. What's the most important lesson you've learning while making this film?

I ended up loosing 2 of my iPhones on the beach during the recce and the shoot, so for next time I will make sure to either not bring my phone with me or to make sure its in a safe place away from the Welsh stormy weather and the fast tide!


4. How has making the film at Bath Spa University's production company Artswork Media helped you? 

Over the past year at Artswork Media, I have learned enterprising and creative skills in every area of media production which has massively helped me realise my true passion for conceptual art films. The brilliant Artswork Media team (Dr. Ruth Farrar, Rob Brown and Jamie Harding) have helped me develop as a filmmaker. The year has been very full on. It's encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone which means I've now successfully obtained a huge portfolio of industry projects I have worked on here at Artswork Media. 

In particular, Jamie has been amazing in every aspect of the production here at Artswork Media and I doubt my film would be going to Cannes without his and Artswork Media's help! 

5. Finally, what advice would you give to Bath Spa University students who would like to get their student films into film festivals such as Cannes?

Share your film idea on social media and with the creative community at Bath Spa. If I didn’t push my film and talk about it every second (literally) for months I wouldn’t be going to Cannes next week. I ended up raising over £800 through crowdfunding. Part of the money for the film also came from Bath Spa's Enterprise Showcase Fund, which is money donated by alumni of the University through its Development Office - who stepped up again to pay for my film's crew to travel to Cannes for the screening.....and bought them business cards!' I am very grateful for their help. I needed every penny of it because shooting on Super 8 is very expensive!

I would also advise students to make sure you are certain on your idea and really research into similar films/styles. This helped me with art direction of the film and to cater the film for a specific audience. I believe that making a successful film is all about the pre production. So PLAN, PLAN PLAN! (Oh and make a detailed schedule!)

And…finally enter your film into as many festivals as you can and step out of your comfort zone! Believe in yourself. Good Luck! 

Awesome Adventure Photography Shoot with The Mute Collective


This month, some of our crew have been collaborating with The Mute Collective, a Bristol-based clothing company, to produce promotion material for their latest adventure clothing range. Mute Collective’s clothing is made to be durable through the journeys its taken on, whilst also being sustainable to the environment by reducing un-necessary landfill waste in the clothing’s production. Looking to make a positive change to the environment, The Mute Collective are also members of 1% For The Planet, donating 1% of their annual sales towards protecting the environment.

Two of our Artswork Media crew, Beth Newman and Holly Lewis, were given the opportunity to collaborate with The Mute Collective on their adventure clothing collection, travelling to Wales to shoot with Sian Lewis a.ka. The Girl Outdoors, who was modelling the clothing. Sian is an award-winning adventure blogger/journalist who actively travels the globe using her blog to document her travels as well as reviews kit she uses to capture her adventures. Having someone as immersed in adventuring as Sian is within her day-to-day life really made the shoot all the more authentic.  

On the day of the shoot, the crew first reached the River Wye in Symmonds Yat. Here the plan was to capture Sian canoeing in the river. Having only dabbled in sport photography, Beth and Holly both took on the challenge to take on this new style of photography for the both of them. Not wanting to miss any moment of the shoot, they settled on using a high shutter speed and keeping both cameras they had brought to the shoot on high speed continuous shooting. This allowed them to capture even the smallest candid moments and not miss a thing.

Setting out on this journey, the aim was to really capture the essence and thrill for adventure within the photos – having the photos tell a story of Sian’s day in the outdoors. The location was completely immersed in nature, no urban scenery around, and therefore gave a great opportunity of capturing the experience of being in this breath-taking environment.

Wanting to achieve the best photographs, finding a suitable location for the next part of the shoot proved difficult. Trying to find the perfect coastal location required having a bit of an adventure it itself! It was essential to find somewhere that everyone felt was right for the look of the photographs. Even though it took time to find this backdrop, the crew felt it was completely worth it in the end, being able to find a beach with some truly stunning coastal views whilst enjoying their location scouting experience. The location meant that Holly and Beth could have access to capture some aesthetic shots of Sian and Emma on top of the van with the stunning views behind them.

Being on a shoot where you don’t have the opportunity to scout locations beforehand, as well as being thrown completely out of your normal comfort zone, can be rather daunting. However, Beth and Holly managed to handle the challenge and solve any problems that emerged on the day to pull through for the client. When taking their photos on the beach, it became apparent they couldn’t have both Sian and the background perfectly together as the sea became over-exposed when Sian was perfectly exposed. Who’d of thought having good weather on a shoot could have its drawbacks?! Beth however managed to quickly come up with the solution of taking one photograph of Sian exposed and then another of the sea exposed. That way in the post-edit the photos could be blended together to create a perfect image. Being able to quickly adapt to their environment was definitely a great learning experience the crew were able to take away with them from this shoot and added to the satisfaction of the images that they were left with by the end of the day and the client was super happy with the results too. 


Words by our resident blogger Chloe Treasure

Images by Beth Newman and Holly Lewis


Research Reflection: Beth Newman on Tour Photography for Musicians

Recently each Artswork Media team member was tasked with researching jobs in a field they are passionate about. This resulted in a diverse range of job roles brought to the table demonstrating just how many possible avenues there are within the Creative Media industries.

Beth Newman is an aspiring tour photographer, currently photographing local bands and club events at smaller venues in hopes to expand her portfolio and break into the industry by getting her name out there. Having carried out this research, Beth has given an insight into just what she’s taken away from this task.


What Is a Tour Photographer?

A band's tour photographer is someone who travels with them to capture their life on tour, on and off of the stage. As well as shooting live concerts, a tour photographer will also shoot the band's promotional photos and portraits for use by media outlets or the band themselves.

What Inspired You to Research into This Field? - Is There Any Experience You've Had or Any People in This Role That Have Inspired You?

I decided to research into this field, because I want to be a tour photographer. I currently do a lot music photography in small venues, but after listening to a talk at the Photo Show 2016 by Conor McDonnell I was inspired to take my passion forward and to turn it into a career. Until that talk I didn’t think it was possible to make a career out of band photography, I thought it would always be more of a ‘hobby’.

What industry experts did you contact?

During my research I spoke to a few different people in the industry, so I could get a broad range of information and experiences.

One of the first people I interviewed was Josh Partridge, who is a videographer for different bands such as New Found Glory and Don Broco. Although he wasn’t a photographer, some of his experiences in this industry were similar to that of a tour photographer.

Josh was full of really helpful advice, and told me the key thing is to make sure I have my own style and to stick with it. He said he sees a lot of great photographers but their photos all have the same grade or preset so no one really stands out, and you need to stand out for a band to notice you.

I also spoke to Lucy Kingsford, a concert photographer based in the UK who’s photographed the likes of The 1975 and You Me at Six. She told me that one of the biggest problems with getting a photo pass is not having a magazine that you're shooting for, and to over come this she actually started up her own blog, offering to write reviews in return for a photo pass.             

The most inspiring thing for me throughout this research wasn’t something one particular person said to me, but instead it was how these people got to where they are today through hard work and determination.

Hearing their stories definitely gives me the motivation to keep pushing forward with my goals to become a tour photographer.

Carrying out your research, what did you find out that surprised you the most?

While I was interviewing Josh Partridge, something that surprised me was when he told me to prepare for rejection and that it will still happen even when you’ve established your name in your field of work.  As surprising as I found this, I also found it encouraging to know that even big photographers, that work with bands I could only dream of working with still have to face the same kind of rejection that I face.

How has your research into this field influenced your plan of action, and inspired you further to get into the industry? - Do you have anything lined up?

At the moment I’m focusing on getting my portfolio up together and on my very own website here which is currently under construction. I’m following the advice of my industry peers by getting my name out there on social media and concentrating on smaller venues.


Research Reflection: Laura Gardner on Travel Filmmaking

My name is Laura Gardner and I am a producer at Artswork Media. I am really interested in travel filmmaking so I decided to research into the industry and look into how new producers can produce their first short film abroad. Travel films are usually documentary style and highlight a certain country or region. Often adventure filmmaking is incorporated as it explores new experiences within a different or exciting place. I researched into this topic from a producer perspective and examined what is necessary when producing a short film abroad for the first time.

What inspired you to research into this field? - is there any experience you've had or any people in that role that have inspired you?

I have always been interested in travel & adventure filmmaking as it encourages people to do something extraordinary or go beyond their comfort zone, and of course it can document some of the most beautiful and exciting places in the world, but what inspired me to conduct this research was my own personal project. I recently went on a trip to Romania to create a short film for the Amicii Dog Rescue charity which was my first short film production abroad. I wanted to prepare myself before my trip by researching multiple areas and getting expert opinions.

Carrying out your research, what did you find out that surprised you the most?

To carry out my research I set myself a question and clear goals: “How to successfully produce your first short film abroad & kick-start you career in travel filmmaking.”

From this research I wanted to understand what key things were essential for a film production abroad and what to expect if you have never produced a short film abroad before.

I used a range of sources including blogs, online articles, workshops and interviews with experts. This helped me create a structure for my presentation and allowed me to include reliable information to support my study. From this I found copious amounts of useful and interesting information and I struggled to keep my research presentation short and sweet! There were just so many tips that I felt were important for a new producer to know when filming abroad. Here are a few tips that I found most useful to my own personal project;

  • Using hand warmers to keep batteries warm when filming in cold weather – This was an incredibly useful tip for me as I would be travelling to Romania which was at the time between -5 and 3 degrees.

  • Taking plenty of snacks – This one seems obvious but it’s so easy to forget to eat something when youre busy filming. Make sure you pack safe foods that you know you like, as you don’t want to get ill or get hungry!

  • Don’t let the camera remove you from your experience – Don’t forget to enjoy yourself! See your trip through your own eyes and not just the lens. This tip came up quite a few times!


What industry experts did you contact?

I managed to get in touch and conduct an interview with Jacqui Doughty, a producer at Walk Tall Media who have produced films in South Africa, China, Germany and the Netherlands. Jacqui has worked as a director and producer at the BBC and has also earned two BAFTA nominations, and won two RTS (Royal Television Society) awards, so her advice on my first short film production abroad was definitely valued!

I also discovered Robin Waldman, Creator of Robin Creative Media when I found his blog article; Tips for filming abroad on video production projects which was perfect for my research. Robin has great experience with travel filmmaking; he has worked directly alongside the BBC, Channel 4, Discovery Channel and other top broadcasters in Cambodia. Robin has also worked as a production manager for Hanuman Films in South East Asia and oversaw large scale shoots around the globe. After I had read some of his useful and interesting articles I decided to try and get in touch with him to see if he was interested in helping me. He kindly agreed to take part in an interview which was incredibly valuable for my study.

Through contacting these industry experts, what insight did you gain that you don't think you could of learnt through searching on the internet or reading journals etc.?

Both of the experts that I contacted gave me such valuable information which I definitely would not have found out by searching the internet and reading journals alone. They were able to give me honest and personal responses to my specific questions, which were all relevant and useful to my study. They gave me advice on things such as how to find a trustworthy fixer, what to do if things go wrong and how creating a short film abroad can help new producers get into the industry.

How has your research into this field influenced your plan of action and inspired you further to get into the industry? - Do you have anything lined up? 

After I conducted my research into the industry, I was inspired to start planning more productions abroad. After my trip went successfully, I was so thankful of the advice that I was given because it really did help me throughout filming. Although it is a hard industry to get into as it is such a popular aspect within film, it hasn’t put me off trying to produce my own short films abroad and it hasn’t stopped me from planning my next adventure. If I can create a career from travel and adventure filmmaking, then that will be a great bonus to one of my growing hobbies.


Lovely London Light Installation: Photographic Review

Our team members Kerrie Norman and Lois Boyle recently ventured to London to experience a creative light installation:

At the weekend we visited PACE Gallery London, where teamLAB, a Japanese art collective, have just opened a new digital art exhibition. As we are a both interested in digital interactive media, we couldn't wait to get involved in this immersive experience. 

The exhibition, Transcending Boundaries, explores 'the role of digital technology in transcending the physical and conceptual boundaries that exist between different artworks.' 

The installations are displayed across three rooms using projections of various imagery. The main room shows a digital waterfall on the wall which when hits the floor, transforms into flowers and butterflies. Its interactive edge enables audiences to touch these butterflies so they fall to the ground. 

In another space waves are the main feature where the attention is detail is mind blowing.

These digital installations are well worth the visit, with their luminous colours and contemporary forms, that create a multi sensory experience.

The free exhibition takes place at Pace London, Burlington Gardens from the 25th Jan- 11 March 2017.


How To Get Yourself Organised for the New Year!

Start 2017 on the right foot. Take the new year as an opportunity to organise projects coming up as well as getting your work space(s) up to scratch. Here are a few ideas on just where to begin.  

Organise Your Space

Tidy Your Desk

Now is the prime opportunity to make your work space somewhere you actually want to work. Sort through any paper, magazines or leaflets that is building up on your desk and don’t need to be there. Having a work space that is clean is going to make you more productive and focused on your work by limiting the amount of distractions in front of you. Prioritise the work currently on your desk and get in order, ready for when you return to your projects in the new year.

Clean Out Your Bag

Give all your bags a cleanout. Get rid of receipts, empty packets and million pens rolling around the bottom of all your bags. After re-discovering the bottom of your bag you haven’t seen in months, take the time to only put everything essential back in the bag. Not only will your bag have generally less weight to it, you’ll be able to find what you need a lot quicker and efficiently.


 Organise Your Planner

Clean Out and Sort Out Your Phone/Laptop Calendar

Remove any un-necessary notifications that do not need to be there and schedule anything that you know is coming up – get all future plans in order. This will allow you to account for anything you have coming up before making any new plans.

Delete the Notes You Don’t Need

Now is a great time to remove any notes from your phone, planner or your desk that you don’t need. If you’re looking back at your phone notes and you don’t know what half of them are for, chances are you do not need them.

If you’re the sort of person to write yourself a million different sticky notes around your desk, take this opportunity to throw out the irrelevant ones, and organise the ones you still need. Get your to-do in order so you know exactly where to pick back up.

Organise Your Email

Clear Out Your Junk Folder

Put a brave face on and go into your junk folder. There’s probably hundreds of emails stacking up in this folder that you simply do not need to be there. Freeing up this room will ensure no emails will bounce back if your inbox is getting close to full. Before you just hit ‘Select All’ and ‘Delete’, have a quick browse of the most recent emails sat in there – you don’t know what opportunities may have accidentally got caught up in the net.

Unsubscribe from Emails You Don’t Need

You may have subscribed to an email mailing list that you thought would be useful at the time – but now can’t stop appearing in your inbox at least four times a day. You need to accept that you probably no longer need this company to message you and unsubscribe. You’ll thank yourself later when you have six less emails to delete later.

Organise Emails into Folders

Organising client and colleague emails into folders will help you easily find emails that you need to go back and reference while working on a project. Flagging and/or pinning important emails will ensure you can easily re-find them when the time comes and that they won’t get lost in the depths of your inbox.

Organise Your Tech

Clean Your Phone

It’s easier said then done, but make some memory available on your phone. Back-up and remove any photos that are taking up room, delete apps you no longer use and remove music you no longer listen to. This will free up the clutter on your phone and giving you room to take a photo or write a note that may potentially inspire future projects rather than constantly ignore the notification that your phone is almost at full capacity. Your phone is the most to-hand piece of technically you’re going to have in regards to your organisation, you want to make sure everything is organised and in order.

Clear Your Desktop

You don’t need the twenty documents and thirty photos just sitting on your desktop. It clutters up the screen and takes the computer longer to load up. Decide what is still essential and what needs to go. If anything is staying, make sure there is a copy of it saved in your documents before throwing it in the recycling bin.   

The same goes for applications that have been pinned to your desktop. Any notifications that you’ve been letting build-up, clear them. Dedicate your day to updating anything that you’ve been putting off for the past few months and get rid of the million notifications. Lose the short-cuts to the applications you just never use from your desktop, not only is your desktop going to look cleaner but also so much more professional and organised.

Back Up All Your Work!

Don’t be that person that loses all their work and has to start all over again. If you haven’t so already, now is the best opportunity to back-up all your work. Have a back-up on a hard drive AND on an online storage site. Keep it up to date this time! You never know what might happen to your work in the future, it is much better to take the time to keep it safe rather than feel sorry for yourself when something does happen to it. 

Communication Skills EVERY Student Needs

Having effective communication is vital to the success of a project. The communication between yourself, your colleagues and your client needs to be able to carry out and deliver a final project to meet the initial brief set. Carrying out client projects during the autumn semester, the importance of communication has been really highlighted as being the foundation to an overall successful project.

Below are the 8 important communication skills we see as essential to students whilst carrying out team and client work:

Ability to use positive language

The way you choose to speak to your colleagues/team/clients makes all the difference. If you constantly choose to use negative language, chances are, people are going to find it extremely difficult to work along-side you. Sure at times you’re going to have to assertive, but make sure you don’t cross the line into being aggressive. This use of aggressive language will potentially put off any future collaboration between yourself and your client as well as your colleagues. No one wants to work with someone that’s going to be unpredictable and unproductive.  

Not only is positive language essential to communicating generally amongst your team, but it is a great aid to pitch ideas and express your opinions towards the final product. You want to persuade everyone that is collaborating on the project that you truly have an idea that is going to benefit everyone. At the end of the day you’re trying to sell your idea to your team, you’re not going to stand there and highlight all the negative factors. You want to talk about everything you think is great with the idea and the potential, positive results that could come from putting this idea into play.

Read before responding

Make sure to read every word before responding. Minimise any social media, turn your phone over and focus on what is in front of you. Feedback on projects may contradict previous feedback given to you, but gaining a full understanding as to what your client or colleague is asking you will minimise this on your part. Reading word-to-word will allow you to highlight the points you need to act on and respond to, as well as ensuring you’re still acting on everything the client wants their final product to have.

Though sending an email is an effective communication that does have its benefits, if you’re finding your responses delayed or perhaps non-existent it may be ideal to schedule a phone call, video-chat or face-to-face meeting to ensure everyone working on the project is up-to-date and the client is still happy the brief is being met. It allows all parties to ask up-front questions and clear up any grey areas that may have existed before.

The key is listening

Listen to and respect what others have to say. This doesn’t mean stare blankly at the wall behind them and zoning out, focus on their thoughts and ideas. Make eye-contact, nod along, anything that that demonstrates to the person talking that you’re being attentive to their thoughts and ideas. It’s not just being respectful to the person talking, but their thoughts and ideas may help develop your ideas, see things from their point of view. 

Photo credit: Billy Brandt

Photo credit: Billy Brandt


Having a routine for communication allows everyone in the process to stay within the loop on how the project is developing and track the development of a project. Updating the necessary people regarding the progress you’ve made on a project ensures everyone is kept in the loop and is aware of what you’ve achieved as well as the progression you’ve made.

Watch you body language

Physical signs that you are giving to the person you are communicating with, whether or not you are talking, are also picked up. This can easily affect the way that person is listening or how they interpret the point you are getting across. Therefore, when talking about an important matter, be sure to think about how what your saying is being perceived visually. Having the face-to-face communication is important with your colleague or client, you’re building their trust within you, so take full advantage of the opportunity. Not having eye-contact, looking un-interested and expressing closed body language speaks volumes to the person who may be speaking to you. Not only are demonstrating a lack of interest but also are essentially putting off any future clients that you may have the opportunity to work for again.

Open to becoming mindful

To be mindful is to pay attention within the moment in a particular way, becoming aware of thoughts and feelings without drawing an automatic assumption to the positive or negatives. By focusing on what’s happening in the moment, the encouragement of clarity and calm will help focus on what is happening in the present rather than everything there still is left to do. Only focusing on one thing at a time will help focus on the task at hand rather than looking at the project as a whole – reducing the stress levels of the project and increasing productivity on the task contributing to the overall project.

Right Questions

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Struggling through a project that you’re not sure could result in a complete misinterpretation of the client’s original brief, causing yourself more work and a potential un-happy client. Make sure you’re confident in what the client is asking of you, don’t just make assumptions if you’re unsure.

If you’re speaking to someone, ask them open-ended questions to ensure that they are on the same page as well as invite their contribution. This will hopefully invite the clear-up of any uncertainty there may be to ensure everyone is fully-informed and on the same page.

Keep the client informed

Keep clients and colleagues informed of your progress. If there’s anything you’re missing or may have misunderstood, it will give them a chance to re-direct you before you develop the project too far. Whether this is by email or over the phone, regardless of whether the client responds or not, the client has been kept up to date on your part. Try to actively seek the client’s feedback within your messages, it’s the client’s opinion that really matters at the end of the day so ensure that you know the project is heading in the right direction. Try to arrange a face-to-face meeting where it is possible, it gives you an opportunity to get the client up to date as well as settle any up-front questions either the client or yourself have.