Review: Soundly, a cloud-based sound effects app that will improve your workflow
Video content is the new hot thing, which is funny because I was doing video content back in 2007. Anyway, as video content creation continues to increase and become a popular method of communication for everything from private individuals to businesses, using tools like Facebook Live, Periscope, or YouTube, one thing is absolutely clear: the competition for eyeballs is fierce.
When I first started doing video, I would literally record and then upload, I did very little (if any) post processing or editing. However, these days, it’s now crucial to produce the highest quality video possible in order to keep viewers engaged and loyal. While the actual video part of a video is obviously important, one of perhaps the most overlooked, yet critical, elements of video is sound. Sound can literally make or break a video. Whether that video be one on YouTube or even a full length feature film — sound is super important. In fact, the best use of sound in a video (aside from actual voice) is the sound that compliments the video so perfectly you don’t even realize it’s playing in the background while you are watching.
But herein lies the problem, as video creators find themselves editing dialog, sound effects, and music, for their video content, eventually buying all these different sound effect libraries becomes super expensive. That’s why when I heard about this new app/service for Mac and PC called Soundly, I knew I had to share it.
Soundly is a comprehensive, cloud-based library and a powerful tool that can edit, modify, and place a sound directly into a video in just a couple of clicks. Soundly can also index and search sounds that you already own as well, making it an ideal hub for any collection of sounds, wherever they are stored. The combination of library and workflow tool makes it completely unique and the fastest method to add sound to video that I’ve seen. And because Soundly’s core library is cloud-based, it means that the editor can work from virtually anywhere with an internet connection.
Once you have Soundly installed you can start browsing the default collection of sounds or even search for specific types of sound effects (e.g. thunder, lightning, horns, screaming, monster noises, etc). When you hear some you like you can favorite them, making the effects easy to find again for use. And then, when you’re ready to use one (or more) of the sounds in your video, it’s really very simple: drag the cursor across the waveform display to select the region you want to use or double-click the waveform to select the entire sound effect. As you drag across the waveform display, notice that the duration is shown at the top right of the selection window. If you want to increase the vertical resolution of the waveform display for quiet sounds, adjust the slider on the right. Tap the space bar to play only what you have selected. Once you are satisfied with your selection, click and drag from anywhere in the selected region and drag the sound into your editing application. And that’s it.
In addition to the Soundly default collection of sounds you can import your own and also import sounds from various other sources. For example, Soundly makes it super easy to access and use sounds from Freesound as well as other free and paid sound sources. All you need to do is “Add” whatever library of sounds you want into your Soundly library via the click of a button.
Another benefit of using Soundly is the ability to further process the sound. In order to more precisely match the requirements of your video in terms of mood or realism, the sound may need to be sped up or slowed down, possibly even reversed.
The control bar (seen above) above the waveform display offers some truly useful ways to tailor the sound before it is brought into the editing application. The volume slider on the top left is only for playback volume and does not affect the actual gain. The slider under it controls the pitch/speed of the sound and it does transfer the audio at the selected pitch/speed.
Soundly is a definitely must-have for those who spend a lot of time creating video content. I’d recommend checking it out. They have a free plan, a 24 hour plan for $9.99, and a pro plan for $14.99 per month.
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