Foley sound is added to film and TV shows to make them seem more realistic and to attain certain effects and intentions. It can be used for a number of different reasons such as making a situation seem funny and to add a comedic effect, or it can be used to add suspense. Almost any emotion can be emphasised by the use of foley sound which is why it is a technique that is used in all aspects of media. Although used to change the feel of a shot, the main focus of this technique is to ensure that what is being shown sounds realistic and isn’t a distraction to the audience. As foley sound is used in all films and TV shows there are many iconic examples that have changed the way foley is used in many different productions.
What I am going to research?
Since foley sound is used in both film and TV there are many examples of famous uses that have changed the way that films and TV shows are perceived and made. For this task I am going to be carrying out primary and secondary research looking for famous uses of foley sound. I’m also going to thinking about why they have worked so well and why they would have been used in that particular way. As well as this I am going to be looking at when the films or TV shows were made and how this might have effected the success of the uses of foley.
What I found?
For the primary research I watched some famous scenes and analysed them, picking out what I thought was foley sound and how it had been used effectively to persuade the audience that it was the actual sound that would be made. When watching I listened closely to the sounds that were being played and then comparing them to what that action or movement would have made in real life. This is a good way to figure out what the thought process would have been behind the sound team during post production and what they would have like to accomplished by changing the audio.
Firstly I watched one of the scenes from The Shawshank Redemption. One of my favourite scenes from the film is when Andy locks himself in the office and plays the opera music over the tannoy. Not only is it a great scene, but it also has a many uses of foley sound.
Just within the first few seconds there are many uses of foley sound. As Andy moves each record disc folder you can hear the covers of each one being lifted and placed from there original positions. This shows that the sound team wanted to express how old each record disc was and how little attention they had been shown. As the scene progresses you can hear things like the machinery and the keys rattling as the officer walks to the window, showing that the sound team were also focused on what would have been able to be heard if you as the viewer were actually there. Including these kind of sounds works very effectively as it allows the audience to become more immersed in the story and how it progresses. Also the music was included in almost every shot and then changed in volume, depending on where the camera was on location. This would have been purposely done to make the situation seem more realistic and believable which was clearly one of the main intentions with the techniques used in the scene.
Next I watched a very different scene from Star Wars VII The Force Awakens. This is very different from the Shawshank Redemption scene as the foley sound that was included was meant to convey very different effects and emotions to the audience.
This scene is one of the most important in the entire film. It shows a duel between Rey, the heroine of the film taking on the villain in an intense battle. At the start of the scene there is a very effective use of foley sound, at the moment that Rey is using her powers to pull her weapon through the air. To emphasise the importance of the weapon and make it clear to the audience that she has her powers the sound team added very futuristic sound effects. The sound effects are then followed by the traditional Star Wars music which also suggests that it is an important moment in the film. Throughout the scene there are also several moments where trees and been damaged and evidently fallen down. As the trees fall you can hear the tree falling and the impact as they hit the ground. This could have been done to emphasise the severity of the situation and the power that the two characters had.
These two films are very different in the sense that they were produced several years apart and had very dissimilar backgrounds. The Shawshank Redemption is a film that was released in 1995 and had a budget of 25 million usd (IMDB, 1995) which is particularly low when compared to the amount of money that is spent on some films in the modern day. Star Wars VII The Force Awakens for example had a huge budget (IMDB, 2015) of an estimated 306 million usd. With this in mind, the sound team who worked on The Shawshank Redemption would have had a significantly different quality of equipment as what the sound team had for the Star Wars film due to limited money and lack of technology.
To conclude I believe that the time of production and resources available is a factor of how good the quality will be of a final production, however I do also think that it is more than possible to maintain a good quality of work if the right skills and techniques are used in the process. This is because sound as an overall is very important in the film and TV sector as it is a huge part of how an audience watches a piece of content. Likewise, if professional high quality equipment is used it is still possible to have a low quality of work if the right techniques and skills are considered.
qlazer (2011) (HD) the Shawshank redemption (Mozart opera scene). Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bjqmg_7J53s (Accessed: 8 October 2016).
Orlok425 (2016) Star Wars VII the force awakens- Rey vs Kylo Ren Lightsaber fight scene. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWF0f183tSA (Accessed: 8 October 2016).
IMDB (1995) Available at: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0111161/ (Accessed: 8 October 2016).
IMDB (2015) Available at: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2488496/?ref_=nv_sr_1 (Accessed: 8 October 2016).