discusses Foley, one of the most important aspects of sound in film, and one that is often overlooked in production In dramas and character driven stories, Foley adds the subtle emotional cues to the characters on screen by mimicking the emotional context of the actors and actresses performance. Put simply, if the actor or actress […]
discusses Foley, one of the most important aspects of sound in film, and one that is often overlooked in production
In dramas and character driven stories, Foley adds the subtle emotional cues to the characters on screen by mimicking the emotional context of the actors and actresses performance. Put simply, if the actor or actress is raging in anger, the footsteps rage in anger. There is a fight between the underdog and the supreme champion, the underdogs punches may sound weak and build up to victory whilst the champion sounds menacing and powerful (a good example is the movie Fight Club with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. Listen to the first scuffle between the two lead actors; one sounds weak whilst the other sounds powerful!).
In fantasy and sci-fi, Foley brings to life futuristic monsters, aliens, guns, props and more, convincing the audience that they are indeed alive and possess immense power, or other worldly talents.
In animated and 3D CGI movies, Foley brings to life computer-driven zeros and ones. All of these cues, no matter how minute or large, add valuable emotional guidance to the audience.
To explain further, one of the bigger and most satisfying challenges in the sound world is to bring to life CGI/3D or animated films. In normal living, breathing characters, we always have a basis to add onto or accentuate in the postproduction process. In animated ventures, the postproduction sound team receives a silent movie with dialogue recorded by actors in a controlled studio environment.
The sound team has to recreate in detail the intricacies of the entire worlds soundscape, which often bends the physics of normal worlds. This often relies on heavy use of Foley. Otherwise, the experience would feel light or incomplete as a believable character. A good example of this is the movie Up made by Pixar; throughout the film, there are numerous intricate sound details truly bringing to life the film. In particular, the opening scenes of the film alternate between having lots of beautiful sound cues and music, which succeeds in creating a deeply emotional story connecting with the audience.
All too often, sound is underused and mistreated in terms of what possibilities lie within it and how it can be utilised to its fullest extent. Foley, in particular, is used extensively in films, television, documentaries, video games, and radio which brings to life the stunning visuals and stories.
Relating back to our natural acoustical environment on a day-to-day basis, we are very used to how things should sound and the emotional content of those sounds. In filmmaking, these emotional cues, although not readily noticeable, are picked up by our experience, adding numerous new emotional layers to the story and adding that further sense of realism and life.
Aspiring young filmmakers and media professionals should take into consideration the power of sound. Foley is just one tool that can add so much to diverse aspects of sound, culminating in larger-than-life movies that captivate and entertain, sometimes affecting our own lives.
John Kochanczyk is a sound designer specialised in audio for Film and Television and is presently the supervising sound editor at MILE Studios.