The Art of Foley - A Repost

Foley - A seamless tapestry of sound.  But first! A a little interview with voice over actor, Don Lafontaine (August 26, 1940 – September 1, 2008)


When movies are filmed they are often in the field where ambient noises affect the audio.  Foley is the process of live recording of sound effects that are created by a Foley artist which are added in post production to enhance the quality of audio for films, television, video, video games and radio.

because there are no dialogue bubbles allowed in motion pictures

Watching a foley artist will include such sights as an adult playing in sand, people squishing melons, whacking celery with sticks and hammering on buckets.

The need for foley work arises from the fact that, very often, the original sounds captured during shooting are not loud enough or are not convincing enough to underscore the visual effect or action. 

What's the sound of a pulled punch?  Exactly.

For example, fist-fighting scenes in an action movie are usually staged by the stunt actors and therefore do not have the actual sounds of blows landing.  So fight scenes are pretty much unpopulated with bone crunching punch sounds because they're all staged. Yes. Now you know. Also you have scenes of colossal explosions that aren't actually there with the actors because they are CGI'd in after filming.

Yeah, I can't really hear anything above the sound of Shia's whining.

Crash and explosion special effects are generated by computer and are added or enhanced at the post-production stage. Foley adds back or creates sounds for things that did not actually happen in shooting. Sound editors have complete control over how each noise sounds, its quality, and the relative volume. Foley effects add depth and realism to the audio quality for multimedia sources, and they simplify the synchronizing of sounds that would otherwise be tedious or downright impossible to manage.

The Foley artist reviews the film as it runs to figure out what sounds are needed to achieve the desired sound and results. Once the material is gathered and prepared to be used, the Foley artist practices the sounds. When the desired sound is accomplished, it is the Foley artist's task to watch the film and add in the sound effects at the same time. This is similar to when actors have to add dialogue over the movement of the lips in filming. (known as dubbing or looping)

In a world where manly men run on the spot, badly coordinated in red high heels and greensweat pants...



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