15 Free Ambient Background Tracks
Add depth and real-world atmosphere to every scene with these 100% FREE ambient background noise tracks!
Of all the “secrets of the trade” found within the filmmaking bag of tricks, there are few tools more handy than the often-overlooked ambient audio background track. Dropping one into your timeline can immediately add a level of rich, real-world atmosphere to your video projects. Additionally, you can use them to cover up audio blemishes like hums, hisses, and pops.
While it will always be best practice to record room tone and ambient audio on location, it’s a step that can easily be overlooked or forgotten. No worries—your pals here at PremiumBeat have got you covered with fifteen 100% FREE ambient background tracks! (SPOILER ALERT: They’re at the bottom of the article.)
Now, let’s look at the hows, whys, whens, wheres, and wows of working with ambient audio.
When to Use Ambient Background Audio
The question: When is the “right” time to use an ambient background track? The answer: Most of the time.
When deployed thoughtfully, ambient audio makes an on-screen world deeper, richer, and more true to life. Here are a few content types that can benefit from ambient background tracks:
- Narrative shorts and features: Ambient background tracks give most scenes and settings a more diverse, dynamic backdrop that, in turn, places your characters (and pulls your audience) into a more fully realized world.
- Documentary projects: Ambient background tracks for documentary work can be kind of controversial, as you’ll always want to use true audio recorded in the moment when possible. However, there are instances when scene creation is needed, and these tracks can help provide a sense of realism.
- Commercial projects: It might surprise you to learn that many commercials (even broadcast ones that you see on TV) use ambient background tracks and audio to quickly root scenes in their specific reality.
- Corporate projects: Similarly, corporate videos and projects use ambient noises and sound effects to make mundane office settings feel bustling, as though real work is being done in the background.
- Digital content: Finally, using ambient audio and sound effects is a fast, easy way to make TikToks, Instagram Stories, and other digital creations feel “bigger.”
Tips for Using Ambient Background Tracks
Here are five quick tips to keep in mind when working with ambient background tracks like the TOTALLY FREE ambient background tracks at the bottom of this article.
1. Download and Review
Okay, obviously you have to find the tracks, download them, and listen to them. Give them a quick play-through to get an idea of their quality and potential use cases, and make sure the tracks don’t have any noisy blemishes, odd sounds, or audio tags/watermarks.
2. Find Your Favorite Stretch
Open the files in your video editing software (or audio editor) of choice, and find your favorite stretch. That might be a five-second clip or a fifty-second one, depending on your needs. With your favorite part identified, now it’s time to—
3. Create Your Own Loops
It’s time to start cutting. If you want to use the background audio over an extended period of time—say, anything over two or three minutes—then you’ll probably want to loop the audio. Using your favorite section, just copy and duplicate that stretch over and over, using cross fades to link everything together.
4. Match to Your Video
Once your background audio is ready to go, be sure to (of course) match it up with your video. Ideally, you’ve already done all your video editing and are at picture lock. You’ll obviously only want your background audio to be heard when appropriate, corresponding to what’s on screen.
5. Adjust Levels and Effects
Finally, once everything is laid out and set, you can go in and make your final level adjustments. Unless a scene or project calls for any background audio to be super noticeable, you really want the audio levels to be quite low, creating a soft hum in the background which simply adds to the ambiance.
You can also try out some other effects—like high-pass or low-pass filters—to make the audio feel either closer by or further away, but most of the time simply adjusting the levels should be fine.
Where to Find Ambient Background Tracks
Now, let’s move on to where to find ambient background audio and tracks online—for FREE! I recommend searching for tracks in the super-robust PremiumBeat music library, but we’ll get you started with the freebies below.
Here’s what you’ll get when you download this collection of FREE ambient background tracks:
- Bird ambience
- Busy city street
- Car interior
- Coffee shop
- Electric hum
- Forest 1
- Forest 2
- Ocean waves
- Street traffic
- Windy desert
To download the ambient background sound pack, simply click the download button below! These sound effects are free to use in any personal or commercial projects. By downloading, you agree not to resell or redistribute these free assets.
For more freebies, audio tips and tricks, and related filmmaking resources, check out these articles:
Cover image via Marmolejos.
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