Foley: the art and craft of sound effects!

Foley: the art and craft of sound effects!

Foley, named after its originator Jack Foley, is the technique of making sound effects for movies by banging, scraping, tapping, shaking, brushing and rustling different materials and objects. In filmmaking, it is not always possible to record sounds as they happen so in those situations they have to be created by talented ‘Foley artists’ to sell the action we see on screen.

Foley artists use all kinds of surprising – and often readily available – materials in their work, and sometimes the weirdest things can make the most convincing sound-alikes! Need the sound of rain falling? Fry a slice of bacon! Need to create the sound of wind blowing through the treetops? Swoosh some sheets of crepe paper! Need the perfect Chewbacca sound? Well, there are several solutions for that! Check out this hilarious video of Chewbacca noises made from everyday objects to see what we mean.   

Making Foley sound effects at home is a fun and easy activity to keep the little ones occupied on a grey and dreary day. Just raid the cutlery drawer, recycling bin or fridge (dinner permitting) and a whole world of sound can suddenly present itself ready for its movie debut. 

What you’ll need:

  • A microphone. 
  • Recording software or app.
  • A quiet room.
  • A selection of everyday objects or ‘sound props’ to make your audio effects.
  • Some film footage, an animation, or a live performance idea, for which to create sounds.

Tip! If you have HUE Animation Studio, you can use your HUE HD camera as a microphone and record your sound effects directly into your animation projects. Click here to learn how.  

If you’d like to try making Foley sound effects at home, or with your students in the classroom, there are many ideas and resources available online. Renowned Foley artist Pete Burgis has some fabulous tips in this video, while Nancy Cartwright (a.k.a. Bart Simpson) has some fun ideas too!

And, because we are huge animation fans here at HUE, we had a go at making our very own sound effect claymation videos using common items found around the house. Which is your favorite?

Crackling campfire (potato chip bag)

Horse’s hooves (coconut shells or plastic cups)

Swishing sword (a stick or bamboo cane)

Bonus sound effect ideas:

  • Flap a pair of leather or rubber gloves to create the sound of bat, bird or dragon wings.
  • Slowly run your fingers over a pine cone to create the sound of ice cracking.
  • Scrunch a stick of celery to create the sound of a stiff neck.

If you don’t have time to create your own Foley sound effects but you would like some awesome audio for your film and animation projects, we have just the thing for you! HUE Animation Studio includes a hilarious selection of sound effects and digital resources in the kit and, if you need even more for your movie score, check out our list of free sound effect sources for filmmakers. 

Let us know in the comments if you try this project with your kids or students. We’d love to see your videos!

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