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One Mans Trash is Another Mans Treasure

Never have I ever had this statement ring truer than when working in Foley. Just take a look at this one scene recreation:

In what other context do the following items go together well:

  • A Wine Glass

  • A Box of Cassette Tape

  • Old Papers

  • A Leather Jacket

  • A Pair of Trousers

  • A Broom Stick

Apart from a really strange adult film, these items aren't typically used together in any other context apart from Foley work and I think it's a particularly interesting topic of discussion. When I was doing some research on post-production houses for my post-production intensive, post, my live sound intensive (sorry couldn't resist) I noticed that a lot of these places have large rooms dedicated to the art of Foley. Most of these rooms look a lot like they're straight out of an episode of hoarders:

Which is which?

One day I hope to have my very own post-production studio complete with Foley room, although I want to try my darnedest to give it some semblance of order. This quest for order is the point of this blog post, I want to come up with some different ways I can create order in the chaos that is a Foley room.

Short answer from Google: Nobody knows or cares...

Although I couldn't find anything explicit, like a guide on how to organised your Foley room. I did find some interesting information in a few videos about working in sound design.

In this video we get a tour of Pinewood studios which I think is one of the most well constructed Foley studios I've ever seen. They have a large "empty" space in the center of the room dedicated to different floor textures for creating footsteps and the walls are fitted with various doors and gates. I think this is an excellent use of space, especially when the rest of the area can be filled with various props to be used either alone or in conjunction with these surfaces. Another thing I noticed is that all of the various objects in the room are visible. This is important because if they were working through a scene it would be easy for them to look around and spot the object they might need for a particular sound.

The Warner brothers studio as shown above has a similar sense of chaotic order as the Pinewood studio however they've taken things a step further and put a lot of their smaller items in labeled boxes. These boxes seem to be grouped by texture rather than by object, for example there was a box labeled "gun stuff; grenades" which seemed to contain objects that sound like gun parts or have something to do with guns etc. Instead of having a box labelled "bullets" and a box labelled "bits of plastic" like you would if the boxes contents needed to make literally sense, they instead have labels that identify their creative uses which I think is a great way to order Foley items.

These are just a few ideas I'll hopefully be able to use one day when designing and operating my own post-production studio. Once I've done some experimenting with my own space you can all expect a detailed guide on how to manage the beautiful chaos that is a Foley room.

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