Due: 09/10/2016

In this assignment, I was asked to make a research plan about Sound Foley, and then present the information found by analysing and discussing what I had learnt.

To begin, I plan to research exactly what Foley is, where it came from and how it is used. Examples of movies that are popular for their use of film Foley will also be found out.  I will research the history of it, and compare the way it was used when it first came out, in older movies, to how it is used and done in more modern movies. Furthermore, I am going to find out what type of equipment is used to record sound Foley, and how different types are used to achieve different things.

Primary Research

Primary Research included watching various films and film clips and  taking notes of all the times I noticed a Foley sound being used. This was usually recognised when what would usually be a very small and insignificant sound was made dramatic and overly noticeable to the audience.  Films I watched and analysed included Robin Hood (2010) and A Knights Tale (2001). While watching these movies, I took note of the most noticeable sound Folly added. Lastly, I experimented with creating my own Foley sound, which was meant to mimic the sound of a spaceship.

This audio clip showcases my attempt to create the sound that a spaceship might make. To do this,  I recoreded the opening and closing of a pair of automatic doors. However, when when listening back, it sounded more like a distant scream or the screeching of bats! I decided that together with visuals of a spaceship, it may be able to pass for that too. – spaceship


Secondary Research

Secondary research included:

  • Watching many clips of how Foley artists physically created the sounds they make.
  • Articles about film Foley and analysis’ of how they are created in different productions
  •  Books that analysed all the different aspects of sound and Foley within a film.
  • Watching the Film The Hunger Games (2012), and being conscious of all the times Foley was used

Below, are some of the clips I watched to learn about Sound Foley, and referred to in my analysis of Sound Foley.

(Sound Ideas Canada 2011)

(Giray Bayer 2014)



(Hear No Evil Productions 2014)


To begin, Foley can be defined as sounds that are created after the filming of a movie, to match with the live action that was filmed within it. It involves recreating sounds that may have already been present while filming, as well as sounds that weren’t present, or don’t actually exist but were added for a dramatic effect.  For example, in an action film where two characters are in a physical fight, shoving each other into chairs and through doors, this would definitely make a sound. However, a Foley artist would recreate this sound separately, instead of using the sound recorded while filming in order to make the sound more dramatic and more precise to what they want it to sound like. Also, creating the sound separately gives the Foley artist more control over the sound levels. If it was recorded at the same time it was filled, no one would be able to adjust the volume when it overpowers the dialog, or other important sounds. They wouldn’t be able to increase the sound levels when a more dramatic effect is desired either. In addition, sounds such as the ‘pow’ of a punch don’t actually occur in real life, but in order to make a fight scene for example more gripping and intense, a Foley of this sound is created.

The term ‘Foley’ originated from a man named Jack Foley, who worked at the universal studios in Florida. He is the mastermind behind these carefully thought out, creative and precise sound recordings. He began his career, in the Silent Movie era, and his first job within the entertainment industry was writing theatrical articles in a local Newspaper in Los Angeles. It eventually led to him writing numerous film scripts that were bought by Universal, as well as working on the film set, preparing props, models and graphics. The adding of sound to a film is frequently described as having happened overnight. Before long, Jack was being hired to create the sounds within movies.  George Pal, someone Foley used to work with commented, ” Jack’s technique was to record all the effects for a reel at one time, he added the footsteps, movement, and the sound of various props all in one track.” Pal went on to say that with the use of a cane, Jack could make the footsteps of two or three people. He also kept a large cloth in his pocket which he would use to simulate movement. This, was the beginning of the now huge creative career of a Foley Artist.

Image result for sound Foley
(Kaamos Sounds 2013)

One key thing that I learnt while conducting research on Foley is that nearly every single sound in a film besides the dialog is created separately after film production and the source of the noise is most likely not what one would think it was. I decided to watch an action film from start to finish during and note all the times sound Foley was most likely used. I chose this genre of film as I suspected that a lot of artificial sound would be created in order to make a scene more dramatic. In A Knight’s Tale’, the first scene of the movie opened with the loud sound of a horse galloping. I immediately picked this up as sound Foley, together with other sounds throughout the movie such as, the banging of the metal armor against it’s self, the sound of the extras clapping, singing and shouting in the background of a scene, the loud sound of water splashing when the main actor, Heath Ledger was pushed into a river, the crackling of an outside fire and the ringing of church bells. When a Foley artist created most of these sounds, for example the crackling of a fire, he definitely did not record the sound an actual fire makes, but instead substituted it for an enhanced and exaggerated version of something that sounds like it, like the crumpling up of paper. A sound effects specialist under the YouTube name ‘HearNoEvilProductions’ used a combination of bubble wrap, cellophane and an old packet of crisps to create the sound of fire, before adding digital white noise. He then added the sound of a Low pass Filter, which is a digital filter which only allows the low end of the a signal to pass through. In addition, when filming a scene in A Knights Tale, where one of the actors rides a horse into a Cathedral, the sound used to imitate the horse’s hooves onto the floor was made by hitting coconuts onto a garage floor. This shows how much thought goes into making the sounds for a film, something that can quite easily be forgotten when watching it.

“Foley takes timing and a huge creative mind”. These are the words of the very successful and critically acclaimed Foley artist, Gary Hecker. He produced the Foley sound for video games as well as movies such as 2012 (2009) Angels and Demons (2009) The Hunger Games (2012) Robin Hood (2010) and War of the Worlds (2005) the latter for which he won a Golden Reel Award. His Foley studio consisted of all types of equipment and materials that he had acquired over the years, from a sand pit to mimic the sound of horse hooves on a dirt floor to metal scraps that bang against each other, creating the sound of a car scraping off the ramp of an airplane. For this particular scene, Hecker combined the different sounds made from hitting different types of metal, forming a very realistic yet dramatic noise of the car sliding off of the metal ramp. He then used boxing gloves to rub against sand to create the sound of the car landing onto a snowy ground.  Inside his studio also contained rooms full of shoes, knives, guns, chains, mattresses, fabrics and pretty much anything that one can think of. But the creation of Foley sounds ranged further than the use of these materials. Hecker also used the sound of his own voice to mimic the breathing of a horse in Robin Hood (2010) as well as the sound of the wind. “The main thing about Foley” says Hecker, “is a certain energy and performance, and this is what I try to [achieve] when doing Foley”.

Image result for gary hecker(Brian Slack 2014)

Moreover, aside from the physical creating skills of a Foley artist, it is crucial for them to not clutter a film with sound Foley and effects, but instead know how much is necessary and how much is overpowering. It is not simply about creating sounds for every footstep, creaking of a door and chirping of a bird that would occur in real life. The Foley artist must also have the creative ability to add sound at the right places and at the right time in order to create a particular effect. The main goal is never to make the sounds realistic to how they would appear in real life as we have discovered, but instead let them become a creative segment of the story that a film turns out to be. Many times, there are complaints that there is too much Foley, as the artist tries to fill in as many sounds in the movie as possible. Vanessa Theme Ament, the author of The Foley Grail: The Art of Performing Sound for Film, Games and Animation (2014) rightfully commented ‘The ear can only discern a limited number of sounds. It is a much better strategy,’ she continues, ‘to make specific decisions regarding which sounds should be heard rather than make noise for everything that moves’. The Foley artist must ask themselves what they would want to hear in a film, rather than what they should here.



Brian Slack (2014) maxresdefault Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OONaPcZ4EAs. (Accessed 25/10/16)

Creative Deviants, (2016) Gary Hecker- Top Foley Artist. Available at : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQs0UyK8958 (Accessed 07/10/16Theme Ament, V. (2009)The Foley Grail: The Art of Performing Sound for Film, Games and Animation. Focal Press

Diply (no date) 12 Behind-The-Scenes Facts About The Making Of ‘A Knight’s Tale’ Available at: https://diply.com/perfection/article/knights-tale-facts/3 (Accessed 07/10/16)

FilmSound.org Your Space For Film Sound Design  (no date) . The Story Of Jack Foley Available at: http://filmsound.org/foley/unsung-hero.htm. (Accessed: 06/10/16)

HearNoEvilProductions (2014) How to Make Fire Sound Effects Tutorial (as featured in Gang Beasts) Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mi8JaHA9xFw (Accessed 07/10/16)

IMBD.com, inc. (2016)  Gary A. Hecker: Awards. Available at: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0373036/awards?ref_=nm_awd (Accessed 07/10/2016)

IMBD.com, inc. (2016)  Gary A. Hecker: Awards. Available at: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0373036/awards?ref_=nm_awd (Accessed 07/10/2016)

Kaamos Sounds (2013) foley_bottles Available at: http://kaamossound.com/. (Accessed (25/10/16)

Marine, J. (2016) What is Foley? Award Winning Foley Artist Gary Hecker Takes Us Inside The Craft. Available at http://nofilmschool.com/2012/11/foley-artist-gary-hecker. (Accessed 07/10/16)

Movie Make Magazine, (2016) The Sound and the Foley: Gary Hecker on Robin Hood. Available at: http://www.moviemaker.com/archives/moviemaking/producing/articles-producing/gary-hecker-todd-ao-foley-artist-robin-hood-20100510/ (Accessed 07/10/16)

The Art of Film Sound.org Film Sound Design, (no date). Foley. Available at : http://www.filmsound.org/terminology/foley.htm (Date Accessed: 06/10/16)

Sony Movie Channel (2011) Reel 6: A Knight’s Tale. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DKj_H0OyOQ   (Accessed 07/10/16)

Vimeo, Inc (2016) SoundWorks Collection: Gary Hecker- Veteran Foley Artist. Available at: https://vimeo.com/11436985 (Accessed 06/10/16)

Wired, (2012) How Lucasfilm’s Master Foley Artist Perfected the Sounds in Your Favorite Movies. Available at: https://www.wired.com/2016/04/skywalker-sound-foley-artist/. (Accessed: 06/10/16)







Television Academy (2015) Crew Call: ‘Back To The Future’ Foley Artist Joe Sabella On Creating Sounds.  Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0E0yXp4tEo  (Accessed 07/10/16)