For many decades, creatives have been telling stories with sound. But yet, from the early days of performing sounds to picture, right through to today, the dark art of creating sound effects and in particular foley effects has been hidden away. With most people unaware that a vast majority of the sound you hear when watching a film has been added in post-production.
Thankfully, more recently, the process of recording foley is becoming much more well known and more and more people are now able to dip their toes into this world.
However when a budding foley artist decides to take on the challenge of building a prop collection, it can easily become overwhelming when trying to decide where to start. So in this article, we'll share with you what we look for when hunting for props.
As a Foley Artist, you'll be recording A LOT of footsteps, so a good variety of shoes is really important.
To start, try building up a collection of one of each type of shoe:
- Dress Shoes
- Flip Flops
Heeled Shoes can be the most difficult to get right on a project, so a variety of thick, thin, square, round, wedged, tall and short heels will be really useful. Once you have a nice variety of footwear, you can then start looking at building a range of each type of shoe, as one shoe can give you a different tone and character from the next.
Cloth recording, though often subtle, is still a hugely important texture within a mix, it's one of those sounds that you won't notice until it's gone, but when it is gone scenes can be oddly empty.
Like with shoes, it's great to have a variety of different fabrics to choose from, the types of cloth you might want are:
These can come in the form of shirts, jackets, trousers, jeans and coats, and in a range of styles and varying thicknesses of material.
The range of props you will need will drastically vary from project to project, for instance in an office scene you may need:
- Computer Keyboards and Mice
- Various Phones
- Stationary (Pens, Paper, Notepads...)
- Cardboard Boxes, Packaging
- Leather Rolling Chairs
Prop collecting can easily get out of hand, so depending on how much storage space you have it's probably best to acquire some props as and when you need them.
But some classic props that you can collect are:
- A bag of Cornflour, this is great for that squeaky snow sound
- Celery, for bones breaking
- VHS Tape, for foliage
- Deadbolts and Hinges
- Wooden Pallets
- Coconuts, for horse hooves
- Gloves with Paper Clips attached, for Cat and Dog footsteps
- A plastic pool for water sounds
- And my favourite a Chamois, which is great for anything goopy or viscous
Depending on what you will need for your specific projects, prop collecting can be a mammoth task and your library will be ever-growing. But, hopefully this article has been useful in getting you started on your prop hunting journey.
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If you would like to learn more about foley, there are also articles about building foley surfaces here:
If you enjoyed this post please check out our ultimate guide to audio post-production: https://www.344audio.com/post/the-ultimate-guide-to-audio-post-production-sound-design
344 Audio is an Audio Post Production studio in Manchester.
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