Foley artist

From Academic Kids

The foley artist on a film crew is the person who creates and records many of the sound effects. Foley artists, editors, and supervisors are highly specialized and are essential for producing a professional-sounding soundtrack suitable for distribution and exhibition.

Sound effects are rarely recorded at the same time as dialogue and action, since the sound mix is so difficult to balance; the foley artist listens to the dialogue track for the (usually quite faint) sounds of, for instance, footsteps, a door slam, etc. and records them onto a new track in synch with the action onscreen. Other sound effects are drawn from recorded libraries, but many directors prefer the direct involvement of the foley artist.

The foley artist also adds sounds that may not exist at all on the original track: for instance, thumping watermelons or cracking bamboo to create the sounds of a fight. Many foley artists take pride in constructing their own sound effects apparatus, frequently using simple, common materials. Some of the "making-of" features show foley artists at work. The contrast between the action on the screen and the down-home effects is striking.

The name comes from one of the original and well-known Hollywood practitioners of this art, Jack Foley, who got his start in the film business as a stand-in and screenwriter during the silent era and later helped Universal make the transition to sound.

How Effects are Sometimes Made


How It Is Sometimes Made

Horses' Hooves

Banging empty coconut shells together


Kissing back of hand

Punching someone

Thumping watermelons

High heels

Artist walks in high heels on wooden platform

Bonebreaking blow

Breaking celery or bamboo

Footsteps in snow

Squeezing a box of corn starch

Star-Wars sliding doors

Sheet of paper pulled out of envelope

Bird flapping its wings

Pair of gloves

Grass or leaves crunching

Balled up 1/4" audio tape

See Also

Sound effects, Mellotron, Audio signal processing, Old-time radio

External links


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