Category Archives: Location foley

Location foley

Location foley

I had the forest to myself
I had the forest to myself

 

Have you ever done foley on location? I’m not talking about recording sound effects on location/field recording, but actually recording foley to picture on location. I feel that location foley can add something special to a project. I don’t do it for every project, but I like to do it from time to time.

I wrote about my very first location foley session in an old blog post. On that project we brought a laptop, an Mbox2 and a microphone and recorded straight to Pro Tools. The location was indoors and easily accessible, so recording to a laptop was easy. We had a power outlet nearby and we even had a table to set up the gear on. Not all locations are like this.

Currently I’m working on a short film with a lot of mountain hiking scenes. We decided to do some location foley for these scenes. I was not going to carry my laptop and audio interface for miles and miles and set it up in the forest, so I went for a lighter setup.

My weapons of choice are the Sound Devices 744T recorder with a Sennheiser MKH-60 to match the production sound.

 

Early morning. Getting ready to record after a long walk.
Early morning. Getting ready to record after a long walk.

 

On a project I worked on years back, we used an ipod touch to view the video while recording. This is a simple solution that works, to a certain degree, but you’ll spend a lot of time when you get back in the studio. Syncing the recorded sounds was a pain. I wanted to make this easier for myself this time.

Location foley video

My solution was to send the production sound from the video to a second track on my recorder. This way I had a guide for syncing when I got back to the studio. I used a wireless transmitter, but a wired connection will also work, of course. For this session I needed the freedom to move around while the recorder remained stationary, so wireless was my only option. Every time I hit record, I slated my actions as well as the time code shown on the screen. When I drop the recorded file into my session later, I can see where the production sound starts and place this at the slated time code location.

Below you see the waveform from one of the recorded files. Track one starts with my vocal slate. A few seconds later you can see the waveform of the production sound on track two.

Location foley waveform
(Click to enlarge)
Yeah, I carried several pairs of shoes with me..
Yeah, I carried several pairs of shoes with me..

I hope this will help some of you and save you a little time syncing your recordings. Check out Walter Murch’s metronome trick from The Godfather 2. It’s awesome.

Field recording Location foley

First field recording, bomb shelter door

I might as well start off this blog project with the first field recording I ever did. Two friends and I were working on a school project. It was a 5 minute short about two guys trapped in a bomb shelter. The whole short was filmed at the same location, so we brought our equipment there to record foley and effects. We figured it would be easier to record everything on location rather than recording in a studio and using EQ and reverb to make it work in the film.

We set up the equipment and tried to gather as much material as possible. This included slamming the shelter doors, manipulating the door handles and recording the ventilation system. Below is a sample of what we recorded.

Equipment used: Rode NT-2000 Large diaphragm condenser -> Mbox2 -> Mac Book Pro/Pro Tools

Shelter door by ThomasAlf