Cool Video on The Magic of Making Sound on Film

The magic of making sound on film is called the art of Foley, and it’s pretty cool when you really look at how it happens. We take sound for granted way too much, and don’t seem to understand that in a film sound doesn’t always carry the way you would think it would. The Foley artists use a wide variety of items and techniques in order to bring the sound you expect to hear into the movies that we watch in the theater and on TV. Despite how impressive that is, and it really is, they’re just the first step in the process.

First they have to pick out and select the items they’re going to use for the sound effects and make certain that they’ll work. After that they have to watch the tracer line the goes across the screen they’re watching. Once the line gets to a certain point they’ll know just when they have to produce the effects. Their studios tend to look like a giant prop room with various things all lined up in shelves and bins just waiting to be used. Once they’ve got the materials they need they’ll produce the sounds when they need to and then wait for the mixer to tell them whether or not they got the desired sound or if they need to try something else. Foley is not an exact science since they tend to need to experiment from time to time with various sounds and try whatever they think will work to get the right sound. Because of this unexpected effects can come along and either provide a better sound or will require that they go back and try it all over again with something else.

Think about the movies and shows you watch. Imagine what they would sound like if these folks weren’t there doing their job. A lot of sound effects wouldn’t even come close to what they are now, as some would simply fall flat and others wouldn’t even be audible. Foley artists give further depth and life to a film by their craft and are able to enhance the picture to a degree that’s not possible on its own. Along with their mixer they breathe the kind of life into a production that the visuals can’t give on their own, especially since sound is such an important part of film now and has been for a long time. Back in the days of the silent films the Foley method was pretty much nonexistent since it came to be in the rise of the Talkies that swiftly took over the silent movie industry.

It’s not an easy job however as they do have to contend with music from time to time and other sound effects that might drown out what they’re attempting to do. They manage to make it work though and in many cases will layer their sound in an effort to make it sound more realistic. Their work is truly impressive and deserves a lot of credit.

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