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Old April 23rd, 2010, 02:56 AM   #1
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foley for the poor

I'm at that stage in my animated short where I need to create the soundtrack. I have a friend helping search for some FX, and I have a few CDs, but chances are some of the stuff is so specific and weird I will have to record the FX myself.


That being said, any tips on low budget foley?

My weapons available are an ME66 or 64, AKG blueline CK93 (or 91. . .whichever is the hyper), and a shure SM57. Oh, and a Sennheiser G2 with the stock lav, if for some bizzarre reason one of you recommends it. Which I'm sure you won't.

The story takes place in a house, so I will likely be recording everything in my cottage apartment.

I'm curious about mic distance from source of sound, if I'm not trying to give it any special presence but just to make it sound real or natural. What I mean is, I'm sure if I wanted booming ominous footsteps I would record them super close and maybe do some other things, but what if I just want footsteps without any special drama too them?

Also, I have C stands and light stands and furnie pads and can build a sound booth if that's recommended, or do I want the open air?

Any recommended level (in dB) to record at? -10? 0? Depends on the sound?

Thanks.
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Old April 23rd, 2010, 09:49 AM   #2
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You mentioned microphones, but not what you are recording ON? Is it portable or fixed?

And what kinds of SFX are you needing to record? Have you tried online sources like Download Sound Effects | SoundDogs.com I have found all the SFX that I needed (and some music cues, also) on their website. Do you really need things that are performed in sync with the picture, or just asynchronous SFX?

Have you tried just recording a few SFX to see how it goes? Depending on what you need, some of your questions may or may not be relevant. I would be inclined to try a few to see whether the results are what you are looking for. It almost seems like you are overthinking this?

As for recording footsteps, remember that you can get a nice clean close-sounding recording, but you don't use it "full strength" in the mix. Good SFX are used like seasoning, just the right touch without overpowering the stew.
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Old April 23rd, 2010, 11:52 AM   #3
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It's a mix of very practical, grounded-in-reality stuff (footsteps, clothing rustle, etc.) and stuff that is literally unrecordable: magical projectiles flying through air, magical auras etc.

I'll be running whichever mic I use into an apogee duet and recording into Logic.
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Old April 23rd, 2010, 12:26 PM   #4
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I think you can be successful using all your mics, especially the ME64, the Blue Line hypercardioid and the SM57. I could even envision using the wireless for some effects that will require moving about some distance, but you will need to be aware of dropouts.
Remember two ideas about foley effects, the real thing often doesn't sound right especially when recorded close-up, and a little goes a long way. So keep many of these effects at a very low level and/or record them from a few feet further away than you might first think (if your ambient noise level and room reverb allows it).
It will definitely be up to you to experiment, there are just too many variables to give more than general advice.
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Old April 23rd, 2010, 12:52 PM   #5
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Post effects are as important for sound design as the original recording. Having command of layering, playback speeds, EQ, compression, and reverb goes a long way. You can still record things dry and up close, if you have the chops to place them in a space in post.
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Old April 23rd, 2010, 05:29 PM   #6
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Josh it might be worth contacting a local production house or audio school and enquire whether there's a specialist or even an assistant who's willing to contribute some time to get you started.

If so I'd make a list of the more difficult fx and have the relevant video ready to play.

Cheers.
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Old April 23rd, 2010, 05:55 PM   #7
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You're going to have fun making the sounds. Get creative. I did a short recently where I put my $250 mic in a couple of trash bags and splashed it around in the tub for underwater sounds, flopped a pillow hard on the ground for another effect, dirt from a shovel for another. My windsurf sail sounds just like thunder when it's flexing which I'll use sometime in the future. You've probably seen films of the old radio show productions where they would have props ready for sound, like cups for horse hooves, boots and hollow stairs for footsteps.

Here's a quote from Randy Thom:
What's the trick to mix the foley so that it won't sound so dry? (for interior scenes)
"The room you record your foley in should either be acoustically dead, or its acoustics should be variable. One of the most important techniques to make foley sound "real" is to mic it fairly distantly (typically three to eight feet from mic to subject). You can try to deaden the room by covering the walls and ceiling with some kind of acoustically absorbent material."
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Old April 24th, 2010, 01:13 AM   #8
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My youngest son did the sound design for our recent short. While I composed the music with 100% library sounds, he recorded 100% of the foley and fx himself. He was also our boom op.

My favorite effect is the static when the edit does the fast forward. He created the sound by recording a blanket being dragged across carpet and speeding it up. After that, it was just a matter of EQ to get it just right.

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Old April 24th, 2010, 03:15 AM   #9
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I have a friend I already asked about find me Sound FX, who works in production, and I know quite a few other people who work in sound locally who should have access to stuff. There may be apple loops or elements that came with Logic that I can also use.

As for the more practical effects, I completely forgot, when I posted this, that I have Jay Rose's book that answers many of my questions.

I built a "sound booth" out of four furnie pads with an egg crate roof, and stuck my AKG SE300/CK93 in there, and have started the process.

I'm recording "dead" and will add ambience later, if necessary. Animation doesn't seem to get as anal about this stuff as live action (in live action, for instance, you might here more reverb/less "presence" on sounds/voice in a wide shot than in a CU, I don't really notice this when watching Family Guy. . .unless the situation is really pronounced and they're walking through a cavern or something).
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