April 5, 2014

Find out How to Create Cheap Backyard Foley from 'Last of Us' Sound Designer Rob Krekel

Film Riot SoundIf you're just starting out as a filmmaker, or more specifically, a sound designer, you might be looking for a little guidance on how to create foley. In this video from Film Riot, sound designer Rob Krekel, who helped create the sound for The Last of Us, walks us through the basics of capturing (cheap) foley, like setting up your recording devices, arranging your mics, and choosing the materials that will give you some great sounds.

Most of us aren't going to be able to design sounds in a huge studio fitted with all sorts of expensive bells and whistles like award-winning folly artist Gary Hecker -- but then again, we don't necessarily need to. We can make sounds anywhere -- and inexpensively. In fact, Krekel sets up shop in someone's backyard to show us how to create fight scene foley with all of the hits, slaps, bangs, whooshes, and bone breaks one would expect from excellent on-screen violence.

Firstly, investing a big chunk of change for good sound recording tools is something that needs to happen some point in your filmmaking career (hopefully sooner rather than later). But if you're just getting your feet wet, getting ahold of a good handheld recorder, like a Zoom H4n, which is super easy to use and great for beginners, would probably be a better move than trying to figure out a preamp on your first shoot. Handheld recorders are helpful, because most of them not only have XLR ports to hook up your external mics, but they have onboard mics to record -- okay sound.

Krekel shares a few other great tips about recording foley, including recording a complete sound palette, so you can go into post confident that you'll have all of the sounds you need. Check out the video below:

Do you have any sound recording tips? What are a few things to keep in mind as you go about design ing sound? Let us know in the comments below.

[via Film Riot]

Your Comment

18 Comments

Oh those glorious days where I spent my time hitting my pillow for the sake of action.

I recommend their guns sound pack. Really nice.

April 5, 2014 at 11:11AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Edgar

The one tip I can give for foley is to overperform it. Realistic sound is not loud or present enough, foley requires a certain amount of percussiveness to cut through. Overperform your footsteps so it all sounds cheesy. You can dial it back later with volume, etc, and in fact, when I worked at NBC on the Law and Order franchise, our foley was often barely perceptible in the final mix. We recorded our steps and props with gusto, they were REALLY percussive, but taken down to just a murmur it was juuuuust enough to lay it in nicely. In addition, even if the movement in steps is shuffly and not very discrete, perform it more like it's specific steps instead of shuffly murmur. You don't want your steps to blend into mush.

The other reason foley is treated this way is for international release, it's good to get a robust foley blanket for dubbing in other languages. You want to be able to remove the production track and still have great atmosphere.

Also don't forget a clothing rustle track and a hand pats track. On L&O we would do 4 step tracks, 2-4 prop tracks, 1 cloth track, 1 pats track.

April 5, 2014 at 11:17AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Marcelo

Would you be interested in writing for NFS? More info and experience in 1 paragraph than a whole month of ad filled sensational -still entertaining- blogging.

April 5, 2014 at 5:00PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Michael

+1

also it would be content written by the authors, not pulled from film riot every other week.

April 5, 2014 at 8:02PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Tyler

Good info, thanks.

April 5, 2014 at 7:33PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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nate

+1
Great tip.

April 7, 2014 at 11:03AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Finally, something actually useful.

April 5, 2014 at 12:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Cosmin Gurau

+1

April 5, 2014 at 12:26PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Alex

... so where can we purchase the audio from this session?

April 5, 2014 at 12:34PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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greg

April 5, 2014 at 12:51PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Edgar

thanks!

April 6, 2014 at 1:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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greg

so I went to that site and its still not listed for sale. Anyone know where I can purchase this??

May 6, 2014 at 1:45PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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greg

Cool, thanks for the video! I enjoy working this way myself but it should be mentioned that the exterior ambiance will need to be removed in most cases which can greatly degrade the audio. Without heavy use of noise reduction you end up with competing background sound that can be challanging once it is cut into the existing location sound. This is why a more controlled studio atmosphere is often prefered. That being said, I have found that exterior foley and SFX can greatly enhance some scenes and add a degree realism that is very hard to produce in a foley studio.

April 6, 2014 at 9:07AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Foley looks so fun, great video

April 7, 2014 at 12:43AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Stephen Herron

One should keep in mind that it is pointless to record whooshes in a noisy yard especially with the M/S setup proposed in the video.
Also, in the introduction the guy says it would cost "a little" money: We're talking about a Sound Devices recorder and 2 Schoeps microphones. These 3 items alone cost around 6000 US$ together.

April 9, 2014 at 10:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jurgen

My GOD - who is this desperately needy Guy acting as Host ? Even when the man is Talking in the Video trying to impart some knowledge ,way out there ,in the background ,is the "Funny Man" trying to grab attention and distracting from the Talk. It reminds me of our old Family Videos when I was a Kid - always there in the background - there I was ,waving my hands "Oh ,look -Look at me....Please..."
Even the Cuts & Graphics & Music (?) are needlessly irritating & Bombastic.
Unless you need the Ambiance outdoors ,you would always do this activity Indoors ,in a Controlled Environment.

April 10, 2014 at 10:17AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dheep'

That, my friend, is a buffoon as seen in the wild.

There's a time and a place for comedy (although I wouldn't classify that as comedy), and inserting clownish behavior that acts as a distraction rather than an enhancement is the sure sign of someone that ultimately is an amateur at whatever they do. That's why I generally avoid Film Riot videos - it's 25% buffoonery.

Rant over.

May 3, 2014 at 2:14PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Yieks, Guys get it right. The video is very good and the sound guy doing it would agree that your description is really uninformed. This is NOT a video about recording Foley, it's a video about recording sound FX. Go out and borrow or buy a copy of "The Foley Grail" fi you want to know what Foley is about.

The video though is very good and never calls what he is doing Foley because he knows and says he is recording sound FX NOT Foley.

And if you are going to use the word at least spell it correctly. It's Foley, always capitalized (it's a proper name).

January 6, 2015 at 6:25PM

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Scott Koue
Sound editor, designer, rerecording mixer
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