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Old December 28th, 2007, 03:54 PM   #1
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Foley Mics

Often it's easier and quicker to record your own Foley sounds than to try to find the right sound effects library, buy it, download/ship it, etc.

So, what mics are recommended?

I've been playing with these combinations:

1) For soft sounds, like eating, rubbing against something, and breathing, I prefer a large diaphragm condenser. The only issue is to record in a very quiet space. Get the mic close to the subject.

2) For foot steps, I prefer using a hypercardiod indoors and a shotgun outdoors. Just aim the mic at the feet as they run, jump or walk. Video mics work well because the distance from the mic is measured in feet - just like when recording dialog.

3) For percussive sounds like splintering wood, hitting your palm, smacking a baggie filled with water, a dynamic mic like an SM57 works well. My son plays in an Emo band (lots of double kicks) and recently got a Sennheiser e902 bass drum mic, which is all bass and treble with almost no mids. Recording percussive hits with the SM57 and e902 and mixing to taste gives amazing and flexible results. We're curious to take these mics to a shooting range to record some gunshots!

4) For recording an acoustic space or the noise of being outdoors, I prefer an omni. A cheap option is the Behringer ECM8000. It doesn't have much dynamic range, but it's a reference mic, so it's flat as a frozen lake. Expect to apply EQ to get the right contour.

Anybody else have suggestions for Foley mics and recording techniques? We've been having as much fun with sound design as filming these days. Knowing the actual sounds behind a punch or bone break can be a crack up!
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Old December 28th, 2007, 07:32 PM   #2
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From what I understand, a lot of foley artists also use contact mics when they want a huge, close sound. A contact mic on a head of lettuce as you break it open will sound bone-crunchingly brutal. :)

I recommend "the music of sound," a great blog from NZ sound designer Tim Prebble ( http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0695670/ )

Here are four posts about the foley for "Black Sheep," which have some really great details in terms of technique and gear:

http://substation.co.nz/blog/?p=39

http://substation.co.nz/blog/?p=40

http://substation.co.nz/blog/?p=41

http://substation.co.nz/blog/?p=42

Also, don't miss "Wooshes 101," his awesome post about the use and misuse of Wooshes:

http://substation.co.nz/blog/?p=179

Fun stuff :)
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Old December 30th, 2007, 01:36 AM   #3
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Thanks Ben!

Very fun stuff. The whooshes thing was especially good.

I've got some Radio Shack piezos already. I'll have to attach one to a head of lettuce and see what happens. (I built a MIDI drumset with piezos using a Pearl Rhythm Traveler drumset and an Alesis DM5 drum module, and I have some spare sensors. Never thought about recording them directly.)
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Old December 30th, 2007, 10:43 AM   #4
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I interviewed a foley guy who was doing work on movies and TV. He was using one Sennheiser 416 in his acoustically treated foley works. Sounded great.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old December 30th, 2007, 11:37 AM   #5
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Uh, same here. I sat in on a session, and they were using Neumann short shotgun on everything. Room treated really well, not dead sounding, but quiet with a bit of life.
Looked in the smaller room and it was a Senn MKH60.
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Old December 30th, 2007, 11:59 AM   #6
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Brooks,

The 81 or 82? I haven't heard them yet, but I have used the Neumann RSM 191. Man is that a sweet mic! We did some studio work with the RSM 191 and my pants were wet for weeks afterwards! (For our international readers who may not be familiar with American jargon; wet pants indicate an extreme positive response.)

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Ty Ford
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Old December 30th, 2007, 12:21 PM   #7
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It was the 81. And sounded fine. They were doing Men in Trees in Burbank
Just 2 guys and 1 mixer and a lot of junk! Had the TV monitors mounted in boxes to reduce the 15k sound. Very interesting what is actually used to make the sounds.

About the RSM191...... Is there some way I can justify the price, or get it home without anyone noticing?

"Hey, what's in the bag?" oh, nothing.
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Old December 30th, 2007, 01:03 PM   #8
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Yep, that 15,750 Hz can be annoying.

Justification for the RSM 191....tell 'em about wet pants. :)

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old December 30th, 2007, 04:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ty Ford View Post
I interviewed a foley guy who was doing work on movies and TV. He was using one Sennheiser 416 in his acoustically treated foley works. Sounded great.

Regards,

Ty Ford
Ty, you're freaking me out man. This is the second thread where I've seen you mention the 416 positively!

I don't know what to say.
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Old December 30th, 2007, 04:08 PM   #10
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Then my job here is done! :)

HNY,

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Old December 30th, 2007, 07:22 PM   #11
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How about gunshot recording? If you're using the 416, I assume that you'd want to keep some distance from the subject (and not in front either!).

Also, reverberation is critical for making things sound huge, so unless you're using a convolution reverb, I'd think that you'd want something with a wider pattern than a 416 for recording shots and explosions.
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Old December 30th, 2007, 08:47 PM   #12
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Huge sounding gunshots are the result of sound design, unless you own a Desert Eagle. (Ka-BOOOOOM)

I recorded a battery of German weaponry earlier this year with a cmc641 at about 4-8 feet. No problem, but you do have to have a few test shots to get you record levels right.

Regards,

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Old December 31st, 2007, 02:56 PM   #13
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Huge sounding gunshots are the result of sound design...
Sound design, as in combining many sounds, applying EQ, applying convolution reverb ...or all of the above and more. Do you have anything more specific?
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Old December 31st, 2007, 03:04 PM   #14
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Sound design, as in combining many sounds, applying EQ, applying convolution reverb ...or all of the above and more. Do you have anything more specific?
Yes... a real gunshot sounds pretty whimpy. We're so use to hearing these mini explosions when a gun is fired, but they sound more like pops when recorded. I was at a post production sound seminar with Kelley Baker, and he talked a bit about gunshots in particular and how he added all sorts of stuff to make a gunshot sound.

Wayne
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Old December 31st, 2007, 03:08 PM   #15
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Hello Jon,

What gunshots you hear on TV and in the movies are ALWAYS composited; EQ, thunder claps, howitzers, nuclear explosions and other assorted proprietary stuff people banged on to build up the sound.

The average 9 mm or .38, in reality, sounds like, pek, pek, pek or kek, kek, kek. Even mid bore rifles don't have a very big sound.

I see a lot of fascination attached to the word "convolution" as attached to reverb. YAWN! It's a buzz word that has captured the imagination of too many people. Sure there's a place for reverb, but I have two very nice reverb plugins that aren't "convolution" that work just fine.

Reverb doesn't make things sound bigger. It may make them sound as though they are in a bigger space, but in doing so, it makes them sound farther away, especially in a dense mix.

Regards,

Ty

PS: 1401!!!! Yayyy!
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