Foley to be wise

Foley artists have long been accustomed to putting sound effects on things which don’t make sounds. Examples ~

A standard one is when characters walk on grass. This is pretty well noiseless in reality, apart from conceivably a dull impact sound when the person walking is George Dzundza, but in Hollywood movies the action is accompanied by the soft scrunching of foley artists lightly treading on shredded paper, to suggest the leafy damage.

A more specific, and crazy example: in PREDATOR II, a group of characters move through a dark, misty interior, sweeping their flashlights to and fro. The beams of light cut through the icy condensation with an audible whooshing sound.

Or take THE EVIL DEAD — Sam Raimi puts his camera directly overhead, filming through the slats of the old shack’s ceiling, and travels with a character down below. As the slats blur past the lens, they make an appropriately woody voush sound — even though it’s our perspective that’s moving, not the slats.

In the same imaginative spirit, I would like to propose that every time a movie features a closeup of Leonardo DiCaprio frowning, we could have some rusty whirring and clanking noises. You know, just to really sell it.

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8 Responses to “Foley to be wise”

  1. David Boxwell Says:

    Sound on film is fighting image for attention in this day and age.

    Inappropriately beefed-up sound: the restoration of VERTIGO, including gunfire that sounds like WW2 on the rooftops of San Francisco.

    The decibel levels of cinemas here in the US of A are getting more and more painful. Everything is amped up to shattering levels.

  2. David Boxwell Says:

    Trailers add ear-splitting “whoosh!-bam!” effects every 6 seconds when a new excerpt from the film is introduced. Even for harmless romantic dramedies.

    “Hey you inattentive texting, yacking, popcorn-devouring slobs: lissenup!!!”

  3. The clue that the guys restoring Vertigo might not be too smart is heard in their audio commentary when they are heard to say “We never do find out how Jimmy Stewart gets down from that rooftop, do we?” I think Stewart’s cane and references to his surgical corset are meant to supply the answer.

    The first movie I saw with FX that actually hurt not by their duration but by sheer volume was the burglar alarm in the recent Insidious. Ow!

  4. How about the way that every computer key press, screen being maximised or minimised, or download bar reaching completion has to give off an electronic *bleep* sound.

  5. And my personal goofy favourite:

  6. God, Hackers looked embarrassing even then. The fact that they feel the need to explain the title in the trailer suggests a deep discomfort with their own choice of subject.

  7. If you were like me, you went to those movies for a laugh. They never got anything right. Even when they almost did, they invariably botched something for the sake of the plot. Sorta like how Speed would look to any bus driver.

  8. The inability of production designers to produce a search engine graphic that remotely resembled the real thing was a laughable area of incompetence that seemed to last a decade. It’s like nobody in Hollywood had ever seen an email.

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