Friday, June 29, 2012

Foley anyone?

I don't remember how the conversation started, but i had a talk with a co worker about Foley Sound, and how it makes up movies. Growing up, I didn't know anything about Foley, and most people don't when they watch movies that all use these methods.

For those that might not know, Foley recording is a method used to record sound to supplement the audio of movies. Typically when filming a movie the main goal of the recording is to capture the dialog, and often the environmental noises are left out...foot steps, children playing in the background, gun shots, punches, closing doors. You get the picture. If we only had the dialog, and not the sound of the surroundings, the scene would not be believable. 

When i was at audio school, one of my final projects was to record Foley sounds for a 5 minute action fight scene. We had 2'x2' boxes filled with different materials: concrete, stone, asphalt, tile, wood. based on where the characters were, we would jump from box to box, and try to match out feet making sound with the movements on the screen.  We also had different materials to hit and strike to make the noise of impact of the characters fighting. I can tell you it was hard work, and hysterical. It took several hours to just nail the 5 minutes we needed to get. We recorded onto a 24 track ADAT, didn't do any splice type editing, or lining up the audio. All we got to do is mix levels, and adjust panning.  It was a lot of fun, and it was a great experience. It was even more fun to overdub comical dialogue and sound effects that didn't match.  A slide whistle to me is still funny no matter what!

Searching on Wikipedia about Foley is pretty interesting. I suggest you take a look to find out about it's history, and some of the more interesting materials they use to get sounds. 

Next time your'e watching a movie, pay attention to the sound effects that set the aural scene around the  main dialoge and action. Imagine the work that went into it.  If you're feeling adventurous, record a short clip with camera on your iPhone, import it to iMove, and try recording Foley type sounds in Garageband.  I guarantee you'll have a lot of fun making it all work. I'd love to see and hear your results. Have fun everyone.

1 comment:

  1. Super article! I'm just getting ready to delve into Foley a little myself. I'm actually going to try to capture a good deal of surround information on location though so there's less to try and make up afterward.

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