This week I got to be a Foley artist! Foley is all about reproducing the sound that objects make to help create a sense of reality and immersion within a scene. This is achieved by using objects we think would match what we see in the image on screen. For instance, a character in my animated short uses a toothbrush, so I had to perform and record myself brushing my teeth while matching the character’s actions in real-time.
I began with collecting the sounds that I needed to record with a visit to the dollar store. I was there for a long time, searching for sounds by feeling, plucking and flicking a lot of items—I looked a little silly to other shoppers, but it was so much fun and I found the sounds I needed. It was very much like being in a music store, trying out all the different instruments and listening to the sounds that they created.
A very important aspect of Foley is reproducing the footsteps that occur on screen. It can be pretty difficult to match the performance of the characters. This year in class, we learned that one of the best tricks is to watch the shoulders of the character, instead of their feet, in order to get the best footstep sync. I found it interesting that performing footsteps felt very similar to playing the drums since there was a rhythm that the characters used. Overall, footsteps seem really simple, but can be quite tricky to nail and can make or break a scene.
Here’s a really great video of Foley artist, Gary Heckler performing with various objects and syncing them to film on screen. Check it out and enjoy.