Footstep in sand

What is Foley?

Foley is one of our biggest categories with a massive selection of different free sound effects to choose from. It ranges from clothing right through to metal and everything in between.

A Foley artist is someone who creates and adds the sound live in post production for a film, TV programme etc. They use tools and props to recreate the sound on screen by performing those sounds in post production. This could be by walking on cornstarch to recreate the sound of the on-screen character walking on snow, or the sound of a fishing boat being pushed into the water using an old baby bath in a child’s paddling pool. These sounds and actions are recorded live in sync to what’s happening on screen and then mixed to provide the audio track to the film or programme.

It’s a really interesting subject and one that many people don’t know much about. When I recently asked some friends how they thought the sound for a film was added, they all said it was recorded on set. While this may be true of some sounds, or for some lower budget films, most of the high budget movies employ Foley artists in post production. Here is a really nice short video showing the role of a Foley artist and how creative they need to be when working on a project.

Recently one of our members asked us why we have such a category. He stated that Foley is the art of performing live sound effects to picture in post production, something you can’t do with audio picked straight out of a library. This got us thinking that maybe some members might not be as aware as us about what it actually means and why we have this category.

When we came to build our category system on zapsplat.com, we found ourselves scratching our heads as to where certain sound effects should go. For example, we have an impacts category which has many sub categories, such as metal impacts. This is the perfect place for metal hits. However what about the sound of a metal pole rolling on the ground. This isn’t an impact. Where should it be placed? We could have created just a single metal category and put them all in there, however considering how many different types of sounds we have, keeping the categories as simple as possible is very important for user experience. This is one of the reasons we have both category and keyword search.

Building a large library of sound effects is a difficult task, but one we love to do. We always welcome feedback and if you have any, let us know.

By Alan