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Manchester Based Audio Studio. Sound Design | Voice Over/ADR | Foley | 5.1 Mixing | Pro Tools | Education | Sound Effects Libraries
Manchester Based Audio Studio. Sound Design | Voice Over/ADR | Foley | 5.1 Mixing | Pro Tools | Education | Sound Effects Libraries

ARTICLE: How Foley Artists Work with the Sound Department.

The majority of a film’s sound is added during audio post-production sessions. This article by The New Yorker points out how Foley effects, in particular, are tailored to a film. They’re also typically synchronised to the movements of characters, which can include the sound of someone dancing, eating, or rolling over in bed. Traditionally, Foley Artists are tasked to record these kinds of sounds. Although Foley Artists remain steadfast in analogue techniques, like using physical props, The New Yorker article stated that technology had altered the process of recording, editing, and engineering sounds.

Now, interestingly, in her 2020 interview with the Royal Television Society, British Foley Artist Ruth Sullivan explained that, with this profession, “You need to be able to adapt: to working on different types of programmes, which make different demands of you; to the people you work with; and to the facilities available.”

All that considered, it’s clear that producing great and detailed Foley effects requires Foley Artists to collaborate with various professionals from the sound department. In this article, we’ll expound on which roles can help enhance Foley effects.

Supervising Sound Editor.

As our post outlines, the supervising sound editor has a vital role during audio post-production session preparation. To consolidate a film’s audio requirements—such as the sound effects, dialogue, and Foley—the Supervising Sound Editor will need to create a DAW master template that can house all the necessary audio tracks. These templates can be created using software like Ableton, Logic, or Pro Tools. For instance, in Pro Tools, the Supervising Sound Editor will need to have monitor mixes routed and the inputs/outputs trimmed down. This helps them locate files, such as the ones that contain Foley effects, efficiently.

Apart from that, this professional will need to organise intensive editing sessions with Foley Artists to get the best results for Spot Effects—which are used to cover obvious sounds on screen, like vehicles and doors. Spot Effects are most prominent in action films, as these movies may entail a lot of gunshots and fist punches. As such, a Supervising Sound Editor and Foley Artist must work side-by-side to improve the sounds captured on the production tracks.

Re-Recording Mixer.

In her interview with the Royal Television Society, Ruth shared that a Re-Recording Mixer decides if a Foley effect's required to accentuate a movement or sound. Primarily, Re-Recording Mixers balance the audio as it’s recorded. As a result, they can help Foley Artists identify and address issues like background noise, distortion, or echo when trying to generate simple sound effects. That said, utilising the right sound equipment, like a reliable microphone, is essential for these collaborative sessions.

As this guide by Shout4Music discusses, the characteristics of a great microphone include a balanced audio response and sensitivity. For increased convenience, the item should also come with its own pop filter and shock mount. These features will enable Foley Artists and Mixers to get up close with the source. In other instances, Foley Artist Barnaby Smith shared on this feature by The Guardian that he once held a microphone in his mouth as he hit himself in the stomach—allowing him to capture realistic sounding punches. Finally, having a trusty equaliser is ideal if the Mixer and Foley Artists agree that a certain Foley effect needs to be emphasised. This equipment can cut out any unnecessary cracklings or rumbles—all so the sound is clearer.

Sound Designer.

According to the dBS Institute of Sound and Digital Technologies, smaller-scale film productions can combine the role of Foley Artist and Sound Designer. However, for companies working with a higher budget, the aforementioned roles can be undertaken by two separate individuals. Now, as discussed by the IPR College of Creative Arts, prior to choosing Foley props, Sound Designers will assess the film’s footage and produce a list of sound effects needed. Because these professionals usually know which sounds will enhance a movie best, Foley Artists need to consult with them to properly create and execute the required sounds. For instance, to generate a creaking sound, Sound Designers can recommend props such as an old chair for Foley Artists to leverage. Ultimately, this kind of feedback is crucial to achieving great outputs.

By closely collaborating with the sound department, Foley Artists can produce detailed and sharp sound effects that can enhance a film’s overall quality.


If you enjoyed this post please check out our ultimate guide to audio post-production:

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