What is Foley?
Foley first came around in the 1900’s as Jack Foley is known as the inventor of the Art of Foley with him being a pioneer for film sound effects. Foley requires great timing, patience and a great imagination as it is used to create sound effects in films using everyday items or you can even use items that other people wouldn’t imagine (that’s why you need to be imaginative). Foley is used in games and films; this post is going to be about how sound (including Foley) can effect the game/film atmosphere.
Foley in Films
Every film studio has a Foley department to create amazing and unique sound effects. Animated films or films that feature something that doesn’t exist in reality are usually more fun to create Foley for as trying to make your own sound effect for something that doesn’t exist seems like quite the challenge. Although with films getting more realistic with CGI (Computer Generated Images) the sounds have to be way more realistic. When you compare an old film to an new film you can tell the difference between the sound quality as over the years sound equipment and technology has improved dramatically.
Star Wars is great for Foley as nothing from this film actually exists really. Light sabers, alien technology, robots and anything in relation to space have all had sounds to be designed in a very unique way as these don’t exist so Ben Burtt (Sound Designer at Lucas Films) was very imaginative about the way in which to use everyday objects in films as a sound effect. At Lucas Film Studios there is a sound library with over 5000 sound effects from previous films just in case they need to be used again, some of these tapes have been there since 1975. Each sound designer is always looking out for sounds in their everyday life, their job is almost a part of their whole life.Most sounds from Star Wars are remastered to be more syfy/space sounding as an example they used a biplane as the sound for a spaceship and digitally edited that sound.
Most of this film is made of Foley and music, the main aim for this film was to have the characters communicate with the least amount of words as possible. Again the sounds were made by Ben Burtt and the film was a huge success. Each sound has so much emphasis and meaning so everything had to be done really well. To create the blast sound from eve’s gun Ben Burtt used a stretched slinky to create a sound that goes from a low frequency to a high frequency; I find it incredible that something so random can create such a unique noise.
For the Transformers films many sounds were recreated using the actual object itself, for example to record military helicopters they recorded actual military helicopters and to record explosives they recorded explosives. The film had a lot of car noises and robotic noises so a lot was film outside with cars or inside garages.
Music in Films
I love the music from films as when a here a certain track from a film I will recognize it straight away. Most films have incredible film composers such as Danny Elfman, Hans Zimmer, Randy Newman and there are so many more. Most people buy film soundtracks because if you are a big fan of the film it is nice to listen to some of the great scores written by some of the great composers. Also the music advertises the film just as much as a logo because if you hear that theme tune on a television advertisement you instantly watch it just as much as if you see the logo you get all excited.
This is in my top ten of movie soundtracks. I love this music as it is so fast and catchy that it becomes a memorable soundtrack. Also I like the way in which the movie soundtrack and the TV Series soundtrack sounded quite similar but yet had their differences as the Television show was released in 1989 and the Film was released in 1988. When you visit Universal Studios in Florida, Orlando I like to listen to the music as the park subtly plays some of the greatest movie soundtracks and The BeetleJuice Soundtrack is one of them. (Link to Universal music is at the bottom of this blog post in the ‘Interesting Links and Videos’ Section).
Back to the Future
This is a song by Huey Lewis and the News used to introduce the character ‘Marty McFly’ to the film. Again it shows you what the town looks like, however it doesn’t have the opening credits on this section. I like this opening scene as it is a brief way of showing us what this character is like, what era the film is set in and what the town people look like. This is quite a popular film so again this song is now known as the song from Back to the Future rather than the song by Huey Lewis and the News.
When this film was released in 1993 it was an instant hit. The sound effects were great the CGI was amazing and the music is still phenomenal to this day. This theme tune is easily recognized as there is more than one film and each film uses this tune, even the most recent Jurassic World film used the theme tune but changed it slightly.
So everyone knows the words to this as it must be one of the most catchy film theme tunes ever. In fact I bet you are singing it in your head at this moment in time. However, they have just announced a GhostBusters 2 with a female cast (not many people are looking forward to it). With the first GhostBusters being released in 1984 the music was very ‘old school’ now seen as retro but the tune is still awesome and everyone likes it whereas now that GhostBusters 2 has kept the tune but altered it to suit this era of music and is now Dubstep (again not many people are happy with this).
This opening scene has been used in almost every Star Wars film to introduce the story via a scrolling title of words. Again another popular theme tune used in many ways, sometimes in shows and comedies as with the film being very popular.
Through most popular films you will notice that the theme tune is consistent throughout, the Harry Potter music is the same throughout the whole series (with slight changes to some).
Films that are consistent throughout are usually really good films or easy to recognize as the tune is easy to remember and with it being in every movie of the series you can relate that sound to the logo and then it just becomes apparent. If I was to write the word ‘Film’ in the Harry Potter typeface you would instantly know that it was Harry Potter font; well it is the same with sound/music as you can recognize the tune without any images.
Interesting Links and Videos
Disney’s Brother Bear Foley Video
Disney Pixar’s Toy Story Foley Video
Universal Studios Orlando Entrance Melody
To follow a link to a video to the users YouTube channel right click on the video, click on the video URL and then like and subscribe to these YouTubers.
Information Source from: http://www.mediacollege.com/employment/film/foley-artist.html