Have you ever wondered how Hollywood movies get those rich and crisp sound effects? When you start to analyze film and think about sound, listen closely to each sound in a particular scene and count out how many different sounds you hear. If you listen close enough and pay attention to the details of a scene you will be surprised by how many different sounds and variations are happening all at once. What is even more interesting than the number of sounds, is the fact that most (if not all) of the sounds you hear are recorded entirely separately. I am talking about Foley as it is known in the film industry and it is the coolest job out there.

Have you ever wondered how Hollywood movies get those rich and crisp sound effects? When you start to analyze film and think about sound, listen closely to each sound in a particular scene and count out how many different sounds you hear. If you listen close enough and pay attention to the details of a scene you will be surprised by how many different sounds and variations are happening all at once. What is even more interesting than the number of sounds, is the fact that most (if not all) of the sounds you hear are recorded entirely separately. I am talking about Foley as it is known in the film industry and it is the coolest job out there.

Foley artists are a team of creatives that actually make the sounds you hear on screen better than you can actually record them. Take for instance a big blockbuster movie is filming a man walking in snow in the Alaskan wilderness. If the director wants to capture the footsteps as the man walks in the snow it may be almost impossible to do during the actual shoot. When you take into account the wind factor, background noise, other crew members rustling around, you start to realize that you may need a Foley crew to re create footsteps in snow. This is where the fun begins because the Foley team members do not simply find snow and bring it into their studio and step on it- it wouldn’t sound authentic and may not actually sound anything like snow at all. Instead, they find creative alternatives to make stepping in snow sound much better than actually stepping in snow so they smack a mound of flour with tennis rackets. Essentially, their job is to smack things with tennis rackets for fun how much better can a job be?

Doors creaking, ice clunking around in a glass, seatbelts fastening, punches to the face, rolling of a ball, all of these are done time and time again in post production by Foley artists and most everyone who watches film doesn’t even notice. For me, that has always been a reason I enjoy the industry I enjoy making things seem believable even when they are far from it. It is half art form and half following the rules but all fun.

As a fun project you can do on your own if you want to explore further into Foley is: Pick a scene from your favorite movie and count how many different sounds you hear. Then research that movie scene and find if there have been documented Foley sound for it. Compare the two to see how many sounds you pick up on, you may be surprised.

Foley artists are a team of creatives that actually make the sounds you hear on screen better than you can actually record them. Take for instance a big blockbuster movie is filming a man walking in snow in the Alaskan wilderness. If the director wants to capture the footsteps as the man walks in the snow it may be almost impossible to do during the actual shoot. When you take into account the wind factor, background noise, other crew members rustling around, you start to realize that you may need a Foley crew to re create footsteps in snow. This is where the fun begins because the Foley team members do not simply find snow and bring it into their studio and step on it- it wouldn’t sound authentic and may not actually sound anything like snow at all. Instead, they find creative alternatives to make stepping in snow sound much better than actually stepping in snow so they smack a mound of flour with tennis rackets. Essentially, their job is to smack things with tennis rackets for fun how much better can a job be?

Doors creaking, ice clunking around in a glass, seatbelts fastening, punches to the face, rolling of a ball, all of these are done time and time again in post production by Foley artists and most everyone who watches film doesn’t even notice. For me, that has always been a reason I enjoy the industry I enjoy making things seem believable even when they are far from it. It is half art form and half following the rules but all fun.

As a fun project you can do on your own if you want to explore further into Foley is: Pick a scene from your favorite movie and count how many different sounds you hear. Then research that movie scene and find if there have been documented Foley sound for it. Compare the two to see how many sounds you pick up on, you may be surprised.