What is Foley and Why Should You Care?

What is Foley and Why Should You Care?

Here's everything you need to know about Foley.

Foley effects are sound effects that are easier and more efficient to perform to picture. You project the movie in a studio and one or two people actually perform the sound effects to the picture. The sound effects are recorded live and are used in the final movie.

The most common Foley sound effects are foot steps and clothing rustle. Some specific effects are actually much easier to do in Foley than cutting them individually. In Finding Forrester, there were lots of scenes with basketballs. The main character was a high school basketball player. It was much easier for us to have the Foley artists do the basketball dribbling for the movie then to sync each basketball hit by itself.

Foley is used mostly when you have to deliver a foreign mix of your movie. You use Foley footsteps when you can't use the footsteps on the production recordings because you have to remove the dialog so that it can be dubbed into whatever language a particular country uses.

We had the basketball effects on the dialog (or production) tracks and they were in sync. If there was any conversation going on during any of the dribbling, then when it came time to deliver the foreign version of the sound mix, we couldn't use any of the production basketball effects. There was dialog on it.

In the case of Far From Heaven, the Todd Haynes film, Todd wanted us to do all of the Foley footsteps so they sounded like they came from a sound library that was put together in the 1950s. In fact, he wanted all of his sound to sound like it was from the 1950s and this was a studio picture. That was a challenge.

Any time you do a period film it's a challenge. I had to find telephone effects with bell ringers, typewriters, and real V8 automobile engines. Most sound libraries don't have these effects anymore. And finding the real thing can be tough.

As a sound designer, you learn to be resourceful trying to find some of these effects. We went out and recorded some old automobiles to get some realistic sounds of heavy old car doors closing. I mean, let's face it, a 55 Buick door certainly sounds a lot different from a Honda door.

But back to Foley. If you're doing a small independent movie, the odds are you're not going to use much Foley. With Kicking Bird, I did all of the Foley myself with two of the effects editors, and we recorded it straight into the Pro Tools. I watched the movie on a monitor and performed the effects right in the editing room. I knew exactly what I needed, so I just did the effects that were absolutely necessary.

I had decided all of the running sequences would be done to music so I didn't even worry about doing footsteps for the runners. That would have driven me crazy if I had to do all of that. I just figured out what I needed to get the job done and did exactly what I needed. Since I was going to be doing some of the mixing myself, and after 20 years of doing this, I knew what I needed and what I didn't.

– – from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming really soon)

Other stuff.

Internet Special!!!!
Go to http://www.angryfilmmaker.com and check out my films. Between now and August 10th, 2008 if you order any 2 of my DVDs I will send you my Sound Work Book for free! If you want to know about the three types of microphones or what the most important element in Sound Design is then you need this book. It is crammed full of tips on Sound for films. Order any 2 DVDs and you get my knowledge and sound tips for free. Two DVDs will set you back $20 + $10 shipping and handling and for that you get the Sound Work Book (a $10 value) for free. Now that’s a deal!

And just a reminder, I am available to consult on your films.

What do you get out of the deal? You get the best value and advice in making your film. No matter what stage you’re in. I’ve been in the business for 25 years, working on everything from animation to live action, Independent features, Real Independent features, Hollywood studio stuff, and documentaries. If you check out my bio and filmography (www.angryfilmmaker.com/who.htm) you’ll see I’ve worked on award winning films, and films that never got distribution.

I will look at your work honestly and objectively. If there are problems, I’ll point them out, in a constructive way. No one wants to hear, “This sucks!” My goal is to guide you through the process, so that you can see what the problems are, and we’ll come up with ways to fix them. Check out (www.angryfilmmaker.com/consulting.htm.)

As always, feel free to link to my site and you can subscribe to my blog. So what are you waiting for?

The Fall Tour is coming along great, so if you are interested in having me come to your college, university, media art center, or even to your house for dinner, drop me a line and let me know.

Talk later.

Kelley

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