Foley (Eng)

A videogame company contacted to do Foley, although I have always been aligned with the following phrase «music for hire» in videogames and short films, I accepted the challenge. For this, I decided to work with one of my students, who works with the Foley team of a respected film company in Latin America.

After accepting the budget, they sent us their requirements and I began to organize the work. It is very important for me to keep everything in order considering Gantt chart, plans that consider unexpected cases, management schedules, execution, edition and revision (to do something again if the client needs it). I will write the following part of the story numerically, as a log.

April 1st: The budget is approved, they send me a sound proposal, I convert it into an excel mentioning every doubt regarding the spatiality, material and other details that are important to know about what kind of sound they really want. Finally, they send me a video with a sample of the program, a series of images, and also the same excel with notes on each question. Approximately 2 working hours

April 2: I meet twice (one in person and another by Zoom) with my partner to create a Gantt chart. I decided to organize the time first because having many freelance jobs, at the same time, require a clear schedule which is a priority to maintain the daily happiness regarding things you do, as well as, maintaining the momentum with the people with whom you work in other areas. Once the dates are set, we determine materials, microphones, interfaces, even recording studios, an engineer and a list of logistics tasks with specific dates are managed. We also set dates to record corrections after reviews. Approximately 2 working hours

April 7: I learned that there are two types of Foley, Foley Recorder and also Foley Artist. It is official, we are creating Foley, we use plastic boxes, cardboard, tools, and what is more, we drill part of my house, it was worth everything. One of the most interesting things was the analogous synthesis that we used through the technique that I knew about instrumentation, and also Daniel from the Foley knowledge. 2 tones together renounce to be each one and become a new one; this is how we create the sound of the hammer, mixing the sound of a blow on my piano case, knife on a metal key, a real hammer hitting in different areas, superimposed, it sounded like the required hammer. The superposition of elements was a very useful tool to create the sounds, as well as, the pitch transposition to be able to reach high samples and lower the pitch a little (and thus, to give volume to the objects). 4 working hours

April 12: We managed to gather several composition students and friends to help us in the recording of the «Wala wala», (the company required it) in other words, the people who talk in the background of a movie scene and nobody knows what they say. So, we had to make it real. However, they should not say «wala wala» but talk and after that, we process the sound in order that it seems they do not say anything in particular. We tested with pairs talking with their hand over their mouths and also other shots but with people without the hand over their mouths. Finally, we shot a long meeting of 4 characters who were improvising in real time using key words taken from the concept sent by the client. It was a wonderful, entertaining and very educational experience. I have 3 different shots with 3 variations each (Clean, EQ (muted), and all that I already mentioned with -30dB).  It is needed to review the other editions of the first part and then, it will be sent. 4 working hours

April 13: One of my students did not attend the class and I could not wait to check the material. I was preparing the editions and improving the sound. I uploaded the material to the cloud to send it on Monday. 1 working hour

April 15: I contacted the director of the company because we need certain answers to determine what strategies we will use for the next sounds. We also send the material. We will be waiting the feedback.

April 16: Possible sounds were investigated to record a specific alarm sound; a planning is generated for my partner could record it.

On the other hand, we recorded almost everything that it was missing; we made from 3 to 5 extra sounds (in some cases), to make sure that the client was satisfied. This is not required but when it is possible I like to do it (as far as possible) to exceed the expectations of the client. 4 working hours

April 19: My dear student found – captured and sent the sound material to my recording studio, I edited 5 versions of the sound and updated the folder (in the cloud) that is ready for the client. We will wait for feedback. 2 working hours

April 22: We have received some corrections regarding some misunderstandings (in spite of the fact that we were meticulous this is something expected, the human error is practically inevitable in my experience). We have one week in advance (as planned) there is time to check and accomplish with everything that the client requires. I start working on the corrections and some missing editions to update the report and the documents in the folder. 4 working hours

April 26: We were contacted, everything is OK. The client is happy; we have finished a couple of days before the deadline. The work took 21 hours between implementation and edition, not to mention that we had 3 unofficial meetings (team and client) which last one hour approximately and obviously, the investment in hardware and the necessary studies to achieve the sounds and the proper recording for them. There were officially 16 sounds and we delivered 46 sounds (generating many versions for each one with different objects and technologies) plus one extra sound called roomtone (to generate the sensation of space).

Note: Regarding our assignment, what this company wanted did not exactly “Foley” (what I knew about it was that Foley implies movement and sound) the sounds request has the same function within a unity system designated for a virtual reality.

Note 2: I hope this information could be useful for someone who has never faced these assignments, or who wants to know about these recordings.

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