Last time Marcelo Cyro showed how time based effects in Pro Tools audio post production can help place the viewer inside the scene. In this article Marcelo is going to take a look at how foley can transform the film sound track. Over to you Marcelo....
Do you know what Foley is? Foley effects are sound effects added to the film during post production. They include sounds such as footsteps, clothes rustling, crockery clinking, paper folding, doors opening and slamming, punches hitting, glass breaking and a lot more.
The boom operator’s job is to record the dialogue as cleanly as possible, and to only the dialogue. Then all the footsteps, clothes, etc are performed by foley artists, and then edited and added to the movie. What this means is we have complete control over the timing, quality, and relative volume of the sound effects. Helping even more the story.
A Short History Of Foley
Foley art is actually named after this man, who was the first ever foley artist. Despite all the advancement in special effects, recording equipment, and technology, the same original process originated by Jack Foley is still in use today.
A few tricks of the trade include, squeezing cornstarch boxes for the sound of walking in snow. Old wooden chairs can make realistic sounds for creaky floors… hacking through watermelons for gruesome, gushing type sounds.. slapping leather gloves together to recreate the sounds of the flapping wings of pigeons… rubbing different fabrics together to create the sounds of clothing. You can also check out the articles on foley in the audio post production workflow.
Performing foley work, requires meticulous attention to detail and the subtle nuances of everyday events. The foley artist is a master of improvisation. Jack Donovan Foley was the developer of many sound effect techniques used in filmmaking. He is credited with inventing the process of adding sound effects, such as footsteps and environmental sounds, to films.
As a result he has given his name to this process as in this trade they are called “Foley Artists”. His crucial founding role in the development of Foley is documented in the 2009 book 'The Foley Grail'.
Instead of using pre-recorded, generic sounds, Foley’s process involved creating sounds in real time, synchronized to individual productions to give them a more realistic feel.
Today I am going to show you how we reconstruct the sound of a scene in the movie Chatô the King of Brazil. Below are 3 videos which demonstrate each stage of the process. The first is only the direct sound – captured on the film set, the second is just the foley recorded and edited, and the third the fully mixed film.