One of my least favorite steps in the production process is recording foley, sound effects, and ADR. After you’ve finished each strenuous step along the way, recording the necessary sounds and effects necessary for a final product can take more time than you might have for your project. No matter the genre or type of video you’re making, you can captures most of the sounds you need with even the smallest budget. Here are a few cheap and reliable pieces of recording equipment, as well as techniques to consider.
What is foley?
Recording foley isn’t the most glamorous job in the video production field, but the role is as crucial as any other. Capturing the sounds of standard everyday life from footsteps to leaves blowing to rain drops might sound tedious, but it immerses your audience in your project. More likely than not, you won’t have access to a sound stage while you’re recording foley, so you’ll find yourself standing in a field, alone, trying to capture an elusive sound.
Recording foley can be an annoying, frustrating, and tedious process, but is an absolute essential part of any legitimate production. Poor audio can easily ruin the viewing experience. As long as the sounds match the images, the hows and whats of each noise do not matter. Get creative!
Equipment to consider
A few of the best audio recording devices available won’t break the bank and are relatively small in size. A couple hyper-cardioid microphones worth investing in are the Sennheiser MKH416 or the Audix XCX1-HC. These prices might seem a little steep, but capturing good audio is priceless, and a piece of equipment like this will ensure quality audio on every project going forward.
For a portable recorder, you can’t go wrong with a TASCAM DR-40 or the ZOOM H4nSP. These won’t completely ruin your budget, and they are a must for anybody interested in capturing sounds on a moment’s notice. If you really want to step up your foley game, carrying around a little Zoom H1 is a good way to pick up any tiny sounds you might need — or you can use it to note the types of tones you need to come back and get later.
For a more in-depth look at recording foley and dialogue, try out PremiumBeat’s coverage here:
- Foley: The Art of Making Sound Effects
- Recording Foley and Sound Effects: The Fundamentals
- The Indie Filmmaker’s Guide to Recording Audio
- 9 Helpful Audio Tricks for Recording Documentary Interviews
When it comes time to actually record, make sure that no matter what you record, the goal is to imitate perceived sounds. So, consider proximity of objects to people when recording foley. That way, when it comes time to mix your sounds, the job is much easier.
The true beauty of recording foley is that as long as you get the right sound you’re looking for, who cares what object makes that sound. You don’t have to be around real animals, or real gun shots, or space ships. Don’t be afraid to try new things! Some of the most successful foley artists in the world have found that using unassuming household items is the perfect solution for finding the right sound.
The beauty of post-production elements like video packs, lower-thirds, sound effects, and songs is the time and money they can save you in the long run. Here are a few places to find all the audio you might need (excluding dialogue) for the post-production stage. Whether it’s monsters and creature sounds or your action adventure space opera, there are plenty of sound effects to sift through at PremiumBeat.
Top image via CBS Sunday Morning.