Foley: bizarre techniques for extraordinary sounds

Foley is an amazing technique of control, a sound designers attribute to emphasizing or oppressing intensity in a film. It’s an aspect unknown to many film audiences but an imperative, and personally, the most exciting, part of post production.

Foley is usually performed by a Foley artist using several Foley props, the props can be near enough anything as long as they make the sound required, or as close as possible. The technique is typically performed whilst watching the film itself so the FX’s can be recorded in time, a good example of this is the recording walking on different surface.

The inventive side of Foley enables artists to use uncharacteristic props for effects, for example, snapping celery for a broken bone, or slapping raw meat for, fist fights. But the creativity doesn’t end there; my colleges and I have sent numerous evening using various audio workstations reversing, EQing, stretching sounds to get that perfect Foley effect.

Foley is needed in most film and program making, whether it’s needed for emphasising a fall in a comedy or elaborating and explosion on a thriller. Even the most discrete sound like a leather coat squeaking with movement can demonstrate the intensity of the silence in the scene itself.

Here’s a fabulous short film regarding the sound design for Star Wars Episode II, with thanks to mdfilmmakingvideos.


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