Foley artist

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Foley is the reproduction of everyday sounds for use in filmmaking.[1] These reproduced sounds can be anything from the swishing of clothing and footsteps to squeaky doors and breaking glass. The best Foley art is so well integrated into a film that it goes unnoticed by the audience.[1] It helps to create a sense of reality within a scene. Without these crucial background noises, movies feel unnaturally quiet and uncomfortable.

Foley artists look to recreate the realistic ambient sounds that the film portrays. The props and sets of a film do not react the same way acoustically as their real life counterparts.[1] Foley sounds are used to enhance the auditory experience of the movie. Foley can also be used to cover up unwanted sounds captured on the set of a movie during filming that might take away from the scene at hand, such as overflying airplanes or passing traffic.[1]

Contents

History of Foley

Jack Foley began what is now known as Foley art in 1927.[2] He had started working with Universal Studios in 1914 during the silent movie era. When Warner studios released its first film to include sound, The Jazz Singer, Universal knew it needed to get on the band wagon and called for any employees who had radio experience to come forward.[2] Foley became part of the sound crew that would turn Universal’s then upcoming “silent” musical Show Boat into the vibrant musical we know it as today. Because the microphones used for filming could not pick up more than dialogue, other sounds had to be added in after the film was shot.[2] Foley and his small crew would project the film on a screen while recording a single track of audio that would capture their live sound effects in real time.[2] Their timing had to be perfect so that footsteps and closing doors would sync with the actors motions in the film. Jack Foley created sounds for films until his death in 1967.[2] His methods are still employed today.

Modern Foley art has progressed with the advancement of recording technology. Today, sounds do not have to be recorded live on a single track of audio. They can be captured separately on individual tracks and carefully synced with their visual counterpart.[3] Foley studios employ hundreds of props and digital effects to recreate the ambient sounds of their films.

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