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Ode to the Foley Artist

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

April 20, 2006

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Behind the scenes in audio production.


You might be wondering what a Foley Artist is and what they do.

Foley artists are members of a film crew responsible for making sound effects! Foley artists work behind the scenes, making soundtracks more realistic and professional. The Foley artist may work alone or amongst other Foley artists, depending on the film and project requirements.

Foley artists create all sorts of sounds. For instance, the squeaking of a wood floor or the rustling of leaves. Other sounds that we often take for granted in films include the sound of horses galloping, doors being knocked on, the slamming of doors, the clashing of swords, the striking of a match, and so on.

Did you know that the crunching of grass or leaves is created by the Foley artist using balled up audio tape?

The name Foley comes from the master Jack Foley, a great practioner of this art, and an instrumental person who helped Universal transition from Silent films to those with sound.

In some instances, voice talent are also called to be vocal Foley artists. A voice-over may require you to go beyond the normal boundaries of speech into a world of sound effects, created using your own voice but in a different manner.

Performing character voices or narrating an audio book are perfect examples of where the voice may phonate without words, that is to say, create specific sounds or utterances foreign to natural vocal production regarding speech.

Have you ever been a Foley artist?




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