The Art of Foley

As the films move into the post production stage, I’ve been finding myself more and more interested in the world of the Foley artist. Having done some for a couple of films prior to this project, I had a little experience but this time around I wanted to make sure that I was heading into the Foley booth as prepared as possible, with a proper understanding of what is required as a Foley artist.

‘A Foley Artist ‘recreates’ sound effects for film, television and radio productions on a Foley Stage in a Post Production Studio.’

Simply put, that’s Foley.

If we go deeper into the art of Foley, it is so much more than that. And it doesn’t just have to take place in a bespoke studio. When on location it is absolutely essential to capture the dialogue, and if possible, nothing else. This means that footsteps, clothing movements, the sounds of objects being picked up or put down are often missed. Therefore, as a Foley artist you need to record these sounds separately to make the picture as believable as possible. This however doesn’t just mean any old footsteps will do. Matching the shoes, the surface, the walking style is absolutely critical in making it sound real. If the character wears heels and stumbles a lot, then turning up in trainers won’t cut it.

This is something I’ve been very mindful whilst working on the post production for these films. Whilst Remember has hardly any footsteps in it at all, Feel Good, for example has a lot. Making sure that these characters movements are accurate is all part of the job.

The same goes for objects.

What I really enjoy about Foley however is the detail needed. Subtle things like clothing movements, the sloshing of water in a glass, the dripping of a tap, it all adds to the atmosphere, and it all makes the film seem real.

Foley is not to be confused with SFX. Things like explosions, or car noises, can be created in a Foley studio, but the sounds recorded would need to be manipulated so much that it would be taken well beyond what Foley actually entails.

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