Last night I found my first active group of Wood Frogs, the males cackling excitedly from a small pond in a nearby wildlife management area. What’s more, females were laying eggs like crazy and I managed to get some decent video footage of the process:
Just in case you’re wondering, the entire sound track is contrived, built from other (genuine) recordings of Wood Frogs plus some “foley” work to create credible water sounds. Why did I do this? Well, because the peeps of Spring Peepers were overwhelming in loudness, totally blowing out the Wood Frog sounds and overloading my recorder. There really wasn’t any choice.
So tell me how well I did. Is the sound track believable? What about the water sounds, which I recorded by wiggling my fingers in water in the kitchen sink. Does it work?
Knowing how to add and/or replace the nature sounds is required in this kind of work. Heck, BBC, Geographic, and Animal Planet do it all the time, so why can’t I? Rarely (considerably less than half the time) is one able to get a usable, perfectly-synched recording when the video is actually made. Plus, there is often considerable variation in audio ambience between clips or scenes, making audio transitions much too abrupt when the final edit is created.
That’s why “massaging the sound track” is required. Understand?
It helps, of course, if there’s a different person manning the microphone and recorder. But I work alone a LOT, and that was certainly the case last night. Sure, there are ponds to be found where Wood Frogs breed but where there are no Spring Peepers, but this obviously wasn’t one of them. You have to work with the situation that presents itself.
So how did I do?
NOTE: I’ll soon be working up a NatureWatch profile for the Wood Frog. It will contain some great footage of “knots” … several males all wrapped around a female. Knots are exciting to look at, but not so great for the frogs! I’ll tell you more about Wood Frog knots when I finish the NatureWatch video, hopefully within the next week or so.