What is Foley

Foley is adding additional sounds to a film in post production. Foley is used in almost every film. It is heavily used in action films. Foley artists use a Foley stage to produce the effects. Sometimes they imitate what an actor is doing in order to produce the desired sound, for example, placing a mug on a table. But sometimes they use different props in order to get a better sound, for example, if there was a fire in the scene, crumpling up some paper would sound better than using an actual fire to create the effect.

Why use Foley

Foley is used for a variety of reasons. The main reason is microphone placement. If you had a scene where there was a lot of different noises going on, in order for you to pick up those noises, you would need a lot of microphones dotted around the set. Putting microphones around the set has its problems, like hiding them from the camera. If there was an action like someone placing a coffee cup on a table. If it happened in the centre of the shot it would be very hard to hide a microphone without getting spotted by the camera. One way of getting around this is to use a very sensitive microphone off camera. The only problem is the sound is quiet, meaning it would have to be very sensitive in order to pick it up. The trouble is that if you have an extremely sensitive microphone it easily picks up ambience like the wind or someone breathing. Punches sound different in real life than in films because if film companies were to use real punch sounds it would sound a lot less intense, for example, in most films, you can hear the noise of the fist travelling through the air before impact. In real life it would be so quiet you wouldn’t be able to hear the sound. When recording a fight scene the actors will try to minimalize the contact so they will not actually punch each other. This creates no sound what so ever, so that’s when Foley comes in. Foley artists don’t always imitate the sound exactly, for example, screwing up a piece of paper makes a better fire sound than actually having a fire. It is also easier to screw up some paper than it is to put a fire on.

This video shows Foley artists in action

SoundIdeasCanada. 2011. What is Foley Sound by Sound Ideas . [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.sound-ideas.com/Page/what-is-foley.aspx. [Accessed 6 October 2016].