What Are Bumpers and Stingers?

December 8, 2017

What Are Bumpers and Stingers?

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Grab your headphones and get ready to amp up your audio vocabulary with two key terms in the world of production: bumpers and stingers. This post will tell you all there is to know about these wonderful sounds and how you can use them to make your projects even better. Already know what bumpers and stingers are? Then skip the exposition and discover the perfect sound from our library of royalty-free bumpers and stingers.

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Bumpers are short pieces of music usually lasting no longer than fifteen seconds and are used during intros, outros, and transitions. Often paired with voiceovers, many broadcast shows use bumpers to transition from show to commercial and vice versa. Think of the classic “We’ll be right back after these messages.” These cues help prevent any jarring cuts when ending a segment of a show. Here are a few more examples of bumpers:

Without bumper music, audiences may get confused when a show begins, ends, or cuts to commercial. If these cues didn’t exist, television would be a huge mess of random video segments and commercials. So it’s important to have a short jingle to subconsciously tell your audience “Hey, show’s over. Time for a commercial.” People like their television nice and neat, even if they don’t know it.

But bumpers aren’t limited to just broadcast television. They’re also great for YouTube videos and podcasts. When ever you go on your daily YouTube binge, you’re bound to run into a video with a bumper. That’s because they’re a sign of professionalism. A consistent bumper paired with a logo reveal or intro helps increase brand awareness and lets your audience know who’s video they’re about to watch.

Bumpers are perhaps the most useful in podcasts. Since podcasts lack that visual element, transitions can become even more confusing when cutting to commercial. The audience relies solely on these audio cues because of the missing visuals.

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Stingers are similar to bumpers, but have some slight differences. Stingers are shorter than bumpers, often lasting no more than five seconds. They can be a number of sounds from short music segments to a single sound effect. Like bumpers, stingers help keep things organized and provide a smooth flow to a story. They’re used to signal the end of a scene or a transition from one scene to another. You can find stingers all over sitcoms. A perfect example is the funky bass lines from Seinfeld. To get better feel for these useful sounds, listen to the tracks below:

Download this sweeper hit stinger.

Stingers can do wonders for filmmakers. Scene transitions are often overlooked and are accomplished with a simple cut without any audio cues. This really isn’t the most entertaining way of getting from one place to another in a film. These dry cuts may also ruin the tone of a film. These transitions can be difficult without the proper sound to accompany the visuals, but with the proper stinger, you can take your scene transitions to the next level. A loud hit can end a scene while keeping your audience at the edge of their seat. A nice musical piece can keep your foot tapping while the characters change locations. With stingers, the creative possibilities are endless.

Now that you know what bumpers and stingers are, you can make the most out of your transitions. If you want to add your own voiceover to a bumper, but don’t know how–check out our Beginner’s Guide to Vocals for Video Projects and you’ll be on your way to creating amazing bumpers in no time!

Christopher Petow

Freelance Writer

Chris is a freelance writer and filmmaker from Florida. A student in the University of Florida’s telecom program, he writes about film craft, After Effects hacks, and the best gear for filmmakers in the field.