For today we will be exploring the use of audio to tell story, by creating sound effects synchronized with a motion picture – better known as foley. In class we’re going to do a foley artist project ‘blitz,’ working together to perform live a soundtrack for Charlie Chaplin’s Lion’s Cage.
To introduce the art of foley let’s watch this great one minute video produced by the LA Times as well as legendary sound designer Ben Burtt (Star Wars, Indiana Jones) describe the history of foley art in early Walt Disney animation.
After that, the class will be divided into four groups and given 20 minutes to explore ways to create sound, allocate roles for performance, and do some quick rehearsing. We will do the performance in the makerspace to provide for more sound making options. But please feel free to pull things out of your pockets and comb the hallways of York College to find things to produce unique sounds – newspapers, keys, nylon backpacks, a tray from a planter, a doorstop weight, and more…
Each group will performin sequence 50 seconds of the soundtrack while I walked around the room recording with a microphone attached to my iPhone. After which I’ll quickly edit the result into the video so we can see how effective it was.
As an assignment, feel free to make your own piece of sound design via foley performance, alone or better yet with a partner. It’s probably best to focus on something relatively short so that you can work on scoring the performance with as many rich sound making devices as possible. Also consider watching on of the many resources that talk about examples of sound design. Pick one and write a blog post about something compelling about the process of sound design you discovered. Do some additional research into the film you covered and resource via links other insights.
UPDATE: He’s the in-class foley performance timed to picture. Hopefully the Youtube ContentID system will let it stay up!