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What is Foley? Award-Winning Foley Artist Gary Hecker Takes Us Inside The Craft

11.10.12 @ 11:49AM Tags : , ,

What is Foley? What does it take to be a Foley Artist? Many of you might be very familiar with the craft, or maybe you have only heard the word in passing, but Foley is one of the many sound elements that helps bring a film together. It’s arguably one of the more important parts of sound design, because many of the important sounds that really add to the character of the film are all created in post on a Foley stage. SoundWorks Collection, who has given us quite a few tremendous videos, takes a look at the art of Foley with Gary Hecker, who has worked on films like The Empire Strikes Back and Robin Hood.

Gary Hecker for SoundWorks Collection (thanks to FilmmakerIQ for the link):


From “The Empire Strikes Back” to “Robin Hood”, award-winning Foley artist Gary Hecker of Todd-AO says it takes “timing and a huge creative mind” to be the man behind the sound. Here, he shares tips and tricks he’s learned during a career that has spanned more than 200 films.

Hecker also recently joined CSS Studios’ Todd-AO in late 2009. One of the most accomplished Foley artists in Hollywood. Among his recent credits are 2012, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, Angel & Demons, Watchmen and the Spiderman trilogy.

I’m often talking about the importance of sound design in my posts about short films, and to me, that’s usually one of the factors that separates a good film from a great film (though I don’t think sound design can make a bad film into a good film). Getting those small sound details really helps to complete the film, and put you in the moment with the characters. If you’re on set, you’re usually focused on recording dialogue, since that’s one of the hardest things to recreate in post with the same type of energy and performance — and also make it sound natural.

As Gary shows above, Foley is really an art, and the people that do it are artists just as anyone else involved with a film would be. It’s clear that it takes a lot of creative thinking to do this work, as you must be able to problem-solve and think way outside of the box when it comes to creating certain sounds.

What do you guys think? Have you done any Foley work on your own films? How was that process for you?

Link: SoundWorks Collection: Gary Hecker – Veteran Foley Artist — Vimeo

[via FilmmakerIQ]

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  • Haha! Strangely enough I just wrapped Foley on a short of mine today. It’s always exciting, and inspiring, to see the scene come alive with all those little recorded movements and actions. More often than not, if there’s no dialogue in a scene, I just shoot MOS all the time – so Foley is important to me.

  • What is a good microphone for recording foley sfx?

    • It looks like he’s using a single small diaphragm condenser mic. Schoeps or Neumann if you can afford them, but there are lots of cheaper alternatives.

  • Another great foley artists: Human Giant

  • john jeffreys on 11.10.12 @ 3:52PM

    Everytime i think of foley i think of the guys in monty python and the holy grail hitting the two coconuts together to make a horse galloping sound

  • Love this part of post production. You are right about good post sound work making the difference in an Indie production. Posts/videos like this help a lot.

  • Great video, I like how he makes the horse snuffling sounds and the wind noises :)

  • I’d love to get in that studio and just make sound for some big Hollywood films, just to play around with it.

  • Brilliant and this what really separate low budget movie and high quality movie….THE SOUND!!!!

  • I got my start in Hong Kong films working as an assistant to Bill Oliver. We pulled a lot of sounds out of his collection of sounds and recorded regularly just about every kind of sound made but most of it was natural sound. I’ve never had the change to do foley.

  • Looks like foley is also a good upper body workout.

  • Loved the video, the first time I’ve ever noticed that the sounds in movies is not real is when they used a slr’s shutter sound on a view camera, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, such a big mistake (don’t remember which movie it was, but it’s a famous one).

  • Really no matter if someone doesn’t understand afterward its up to other users that they will help, so here it happens.

  • I was wondering if you ever considered changing the layout of
    your website? Its very well written; I love what youve got
    to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could
    connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or
    2 pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

  • This foley artist is probably the best in the world. He has close to 300 credits for amazing films. It’s perplexing to me why there isn’t a category for foley artists at The Academy awards, etc.