The joy of watching Foley artists

What goes on behind the scenes in films has as much fascination for me as the story I see on the screen. And some of those people whom I find particularly fascinating are the Foley artists, who provide almost all the ambient sounds that we hear, such as footsteps, water flowing, doors opening, keys clicking, and pretty much everything other than the spoken words of the actors.

I have written about Foley artists previously and came across this video of a group of three people in the profession who walk us through the steps of how they do what they do, which involves collecting what looks like a whole lot of junk and having a sharp ear for the sources of sounds and then being able to exactly synchronize the sounds they create using this junk with the action they see on a screen.


  1. Ridana says

    While I’d known what a Foley artist was, I was positively giddy the first time I noticed a credit for “Footsteps Editor.” Wish I’d known about this career back when I was deciding on one.

  2. prl says

    But why do they still add typewriter sounds when stuff is displayed on a computer screen?

  3. says

    prl @2 -- Sometimes it’s to make things sound better for a movie experience instead of making them sound realistic. It’s why space battles are noisy.

  4. prl says

    OK, maybe, but the last time I used a computer device that made actual typing noises was in the 1970s or early 80s (probably some daisywheel printer).

    And I also think that noise from explosions in a vacuum is silly, unless the craft is actually affected by the blast. There’s even a well-known movie tagline about not being able to hear things in a vacuum.

  5. jenorafeuer says

    You can still buy relatively loud mechanical keyboards for computers. A number of folks prefer having more physical feedback to the keyboard, especially people who were originally trained as touch-typists.

    In the anime Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken (an anime about a high school animation club), one of the secondary characters was basically the foley artist. (And whose response on meeting the ‘director’ of the main trio was pretty much ‘Somebody who actually understands my fascination with sound!’)

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