When you watch a movie, sound just comes with the film. But do you ever wonder how that sound got there? It may not be as traditionally as you think. An art that I personally believe is at the very furthest edge of the scale is something called “foley” and it takes years and years to master. Gary Hecker is a veteran foley artist and one of the best in his field. Personally, I always thought these sounds were just made in filming and tuned in a studio to be a little louder or were put in with computers; but in the video link you can see it’s much more complicated than that.
With images, no audio, the audience is free to interpret whatever they want from the way the images are displayed. It’s not quite like that for film. We are given the final product and what is laid before us is how we portray it. But, this isn’t the case for the foley artists who work on these films. They are free to interpret, with guidance from directors I’m sure, on how they think background things should sound and therefore leaving us feeling a certain way.
These jobs were created for the soul purpose of enhancement, but do we as viewers actually realize footsteps in gravel? Or is it just sound to fill an empty space? Of course if we were to take these small details out now we would definitely be able to tell that something was a little off but if we were to go back in time, and never see a movie where we could distinctly hear shoe to pavement, would it really make a difference in the movies we watch?
It’s amazing what humans can think of and can make a living off of doing. Being a foley artist seems like one of the coolest jobs in the world, but will there always be a need for foley artists? With advances in technology and foley being such a time consuming and expensive way to put finishing touches on a film, I guess only time will tell.