Jun 22, 2009

Soungle-Royalty Free Sound Effects Library

The other day I was putting together a video in Windows Movie Maker and getting it ready to upload to YouTube. I recorded the video with a compact digital camera, and as is the case of most of my videos recorded in this manner, the background noise and wind was amplified. It is distracting and annoying but I can't do much about it without better equipment.

Or so I thought.

I remembered this tweet by Ron Wolford and visited Soungle, a royalty free sound effects library, in search of something to make the video better. The video I was going to upload to YouTube was of a beehive I spotted near the Hull-House Heirloom Farm on a recent visit. I didn't like the sound in the video because it sounded windy and was too loud. So I searched Soungle for audio clips of bees and download a couple that I added to the soundtrack of the video I took. You may want to turn down your speakers a little because the sound may be LOUD.

That is the result of the sound the camera recorded and the sound clips of the bees I added to the video. Not a great job of mixing but the bees do sound louder. After I was done and uploaded the video I started to feel guilty about adding the sound clips of the bees because it wasn't an honest representation of what was recorded.

Ever since I started dabbling in Photoshop I've made sure that photos I use for my garden blogs are as "honest" as photos can be in our digital age. Sure--I crop, sharpen, boost colors and contrast in photos, but I don't go beyond what can be achieved using traditional film techniques. This has been a conscious choice of mine and something I've wrestled with for a few years and I'm pleased with how ethically I've used the medium of digital photography. In part, I've set up rules for myself because I'm always disappointed, and a little mad, when I buy a plant because of a photo and it looks nothing like the photo.

I took photographs at the beehive and it wouldn't have occurred to me to add more bees to the picture to make it better. Few people will ever see the video, even fewer will notice and less will care--but it bothers me that I crossed a line I wouldn't have crossed in a photograph.

Do you make videos for your garden blog? Do you or would you enhance them beyond adding a musical soundtrack or narration?


  1. I appreciate your ethics in how you present your work on the web. I agree with you whole-heartedly about keeping our photos true, and love the comparison to buying plants which never meet the image that came in the pot. I can understand digital art where photos are enhanced in color or even adding more of the subject matter, when one is not proposing to represent any said truth. This seems very different from our purpose of sharing our gardens.. which are our works of art... well along with nature of course. Adding the sound as you did to your video does not bother me or seem unethical. I might have enjoyed hearing the wind as it was that day, but you would know best if it was too much to deter from enjoying watching the bees. I would have loved to have had sound the day I sighted and documented the swam in my gardens! Well I was not shooting a video! I admire your thoughts on this topic ... many might not even consider the issues your raise.

  2. Hi Carol,

    Thanks for adding your thoughts.

  3. Anonymous6/25/2009

    Lovely sharing there. Thanks. And honestly, this Soungle resource is incredibly useful. An oasis in the middle of the desert! Regards,

  4. Hi Chris,

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Appreciate it.

  5. Nice video soungle or not. Very visually descriptive of the comings and goings of bees.

  6. Hi Chicago Honey Co-Op,

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Been wanting to visit the Co-Op to take some vids like this.


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