This Incredible Video Might Just Inspire You to Become a Foley Artist

Every job in filmmaking requires an immense amount of creativity, but none are quite as entertainingly inventive as that of the foley artist.

Short of the Week has featured a fantastic and, naturally, entertaining video called The Secret World of Foley, directed by Daniel Jewel, in which foley artists Pete Burgis and Sue Harding demonstrate different techniques from their often mysterious line of work.

If you opt out of designing your own sound effects and decide instead to download them from online stock libraries, you're not alone. Most no-budget filmmakers aren't professional sound designers, nor do they have the money to hire one, so perusing stock sounds is not only easier, but also can be a whole lot less expensive.

However, like most things in filmmaking, if you want to give your film a more authentic and professional feel, putting the time and effort into obtaining the tools you need and then practicing how to use them yourself could eventually result in great quality sound effects. That's one major thing we can learn from this video: if you don't have the skills, practice until you do. If you don't have money for the tools, make them (or get cheap stuff). Creating foley requires artists to be imaginative and resourceful—not rich.

If you're interested in getting started on recording your own foley, we have plenty of resources for you, like how to capture backyard sound effects using an inexpensive Zoom H4n recorder, or how to use unusual things, like pickaxes and bathtubs, for your sound design.

What's the most creative foley you've ever devised?     

Your Comment

13 Comments

That video was brilliant!

June 16, 2016 at 11:39PM

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Erwin Hartsuiker
CineVideo-NL videographer
781

This video is lovely and mesmerizing.
But normally the magic of Foley is getting creative in what would make the same sound with other odd simpler objects. Like they have a lot of exactly the same objects than "on location" which is just recreating the sounds.
Still good.

June 17, 2016 at 2:36AM

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Fascinating video!

June 17, 2016 at 8:19AM

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Eric Buist
Producer | Creator
507

Sweet.

June 17, 2016 at 9:39AM

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MacDonald Kengaletswe
Writer, Filmmaker
67

I absolutely love creating my own foley and put it in every project I can. I know I've done good work when no one mentions it's presence, they just assume the sounds are right for the scene.
I needed a train sound for my CD :Night Train's Coming" so I created it using nat sounds from the local train station and a synth. Listen here http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/jimfiegen2

June 17, 2016 at 10:55AM

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jim fiegen
sound designer
81

Not sure why make foley for something that's non-fiction? Can anyone tell me if they do this for Survivor or Deadliest Catch?

June 17, 2016 at 1:03PM, Edited June 17, 1:03PM

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Cal Nguyen
Filmmaker/actor
74

Usually the focus on set is capturing dialog and thats it...adding other "world" sounds fills it all in.

June 19, 2016 at 10:16AM

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Kerrin McLean
Director / DP / Editor
162

Amazing & very inspiring !

June 17, 2016 at 10:41PM

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Kenzie Vanessa
Sound & VFX
98

With the exception of major productions, Foley for the most part today has been replaced, or supplemented, by "sound design", which in comparison is somewhat akin to what rappers and DJs do with samples. Not that I mean that in a negative fashion or that I'm against it, I do it myself for all my projects, but compared to traditional Foley, that's pretty much sound design in a nutshell. For small indie projects, sound design is a way to get unique sounds for your production from stock samples. However, sound design is NOT Foley, even if the samples are custom-made for a particular production instead of using stock sounds.

June 17, 2016 at 11:47PM, Edited June 18, 12:10AM

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Vidrazor
651

Look like blathering idiots but sounds wondrous!!!!! Love the craft

June 19, 2016 at 1:33AM

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Cam Glass
Film Student
120

Is it just me or are they not very good?

Around 3:50 when he's paddling around in his boat she's paddling around with him... but in a much smaller body of water. You can hear how soon the water is lapping up against the edges in her bucket and the sound of the paddling is much higher pitched because of that. Doesn't really match haha

June 19, 2016 at 10:05AM

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AJ Lodge
102

Once a mixer gets their hands on them and adds in other sounds you'd be surprised.

June 19, 2016 at 10:15AM

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Kerrin McLean
Director / DP / Editor
162

Cool video..."Incredible"?...this is one reason why I pretty much avoid V. Renee posts, if I ever get on this site anymore. Not a knock on the makers of this video. I enjoyed it, but there was nothing incredible, mind-blowing, or eye-opening about it. They simply recreated the sounds on a soundstage so that the project would be more immersive. Tada! Also to some of the other comments, their job isn't to create similar sounds using the most unexpected items, it's to create the most believable or compelling sounds. Nothing wrong with using a wooden object in water to recreate a "wooden boat in water" sound.

June 20, 2016 at 11:10AM

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Kyle Sanders
Editor
288