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How to Record Sound with a Foley

Mark covers the basics of recording foley sound.

Video Transcript

If you really want to enhance your next video production you’re gonna wanna add something called Foley Sound. Hi, I’m Mark Montgomery for Video Maker. So we’re gonna show you Foley Sound but before we get into it let’s talk about the history.

Foley was created or coined after a gentleman named Jack Donovan Foley and he was a Sound Editor from Universal Studios, and Foley, the highest sound artists have a huge studio at their disposal. We’re gonna be showing you how to do this with some simple tools, some tools you may already have. Let’s get into that right now.

One of those tools we’ve been using over and over again is a shotgun microphone, and you can use different microphones if you find a creative way to use it but a shotgun microphone with a boom pole is gonna be the most useful for us.

We’ve also got a little handy device here. It’s a video iPod and what we’re going to be doing is playing back our video that we’re actually recording sound effects to so we can actually time the sound effects with the video. If you don’t have that, you can have a TV or a projector but we’ll get into that later down the road.

You also need a source to record to; a camcorder, that’s what we’re using, or you could have a field audio recorder and naturally you’ll want some headphones because, what, you’ve gotta actually monitor your audio. So let’s get into the tips. First tip, know when to use Foley sound effects.

We just shot a short little video of me playing basketball and there’s a part where there’s a high impact shot and what we want to do is use sound effects to enhance that shot, that scene, so know when to do that. Let’s actually take a look at the video and see what it looks like without the Foley sound.

So it’s pretty obvious where your sound effects are gonna lie in this video but what we’re gonna do first; first step is to identify the sound effects you can easily knock out of the way. So after we’re done shooting this sequence what we do is we get a shotgun mic and our boom pole and we go out and we actually shoot the different sound effects that we know we can only record out there in the field. I can’t duplicate a slam dunk noise here in the studio very well, so we’ll capture the ball bouncing, we’ll capture separately the slam dunk of the hoop and other sound effects that we can later take and post, and really enhance that video.

So we just showed you how to get the real easy sound effects but now we’re in the studio and we want to do the magical ones, the ones where the magic really happens, and we’ve got a stalk of celery here that we can actually use to emphasize the ankle break with a little bit of a bone-crushing sound.

We’ll also use the iPod here to play back the video so I can time that crack and the actual, the double-crack as well. Now if you have a more complex sound effects scene going on like a punch fight scene or something where there’s multiple sound effects you’ll want maybe a bigger playback source like a television screen so you can see every nuance and time it perfectly.

So let’s actually do that right now. Let’s go ahead and get my ankle broken [Sound effect.] Okay, so now we’ve got our sound effects of the ankle break captured, we’re gonna go into post and we’re gonna put this all on my timeline, and we’re gonna put them on different layers, and we’re gonna sweeten them so our video has a great impact when the sound effects hit. Let’s take a look at the video with the sound effects now. [Sound effects.]

So there you have it, a real short and sweet video, and the sound effects add a lot of impact, so make sure you do that on your next video. I think it’s gonna be really great and the things to remember are identify when to use Foley Sound, so when you want to add that impact, do it. Make sure you also identify what sound effects are better used or captured in the field and get those out of the way and then, when you need that extra impact, come into the studio and get creative.

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