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Best way to capture foley sound from a distance?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Red face Best way to capture foley sound from a distance?

Hi...

I'll soon be attempting to record various sound effects for a small film I'm working on... I'm completely new to this process and I had a very basic question..

If my actor is (for example) 15-20 feet away from the camera walking through leaves, would I record the audio from 15-20 feet away as well or would I simply capture that audio much closer and then just bring the volume down in the mix?

I guess another way of asking this would be -- how would I record the sounds of walking through leaves up close and then make it sound further away in post?

Any advice appreciated!

T
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
Lives for gear
If you don't have a well treated and soundproof foley studio. then you want to record the sfx close. Otherwise you'll be faced with trying to match bg noise and verb with the dialog.

Assuming normal dialog recording: capture the foley close and at a good volume for your recorder. Edit it in place as full-volume, clean sound. Lower the level and add appropriate (mono) verb when you mix, and at the same time tweak the eq if it's needed for the action to match. If there's no talking at that moment, fill under the foley with roomtone that matches dialog.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
Gear Head
If possible record (fairly close) outside in the open air.
If there is dialog you may want foley sounds to match the presence of the dialog.

You may need a gentle high pass to make foley less intrusive to match more distant action.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Rose View Post
If there's no talking at that moment, fill under the foley with roomtone that matches dialog.
Is this a standard practice? I usually sync on top of PFX and treat the production sound edit as the de facto “room tone”.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
Lives for gear
My bad. I was assuming foley was replacing silence and there was no PFX, as in a shot with dialog replacement or MOS. If you're adding foley to a pause in dialog, of course you can let the actual tone show through. I'm not sure from your question whether you layer some foley over PFX, doubling short sounds like footsteps or prop handling...

... my preference is to use PFX when they're good, and treat them merely as a sync guide when they're not. In the latter case, I fill. Usually with manufactured matching roomtone from a convolver.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
Here for the gear
 

This is all super helpful stuff.. Thanks guys!

T
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Uncle Bob's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Rose View Post
If you don't have a well treated and soundproof Foley studio, then you want to record the SFX close.
As I am down in the weeds with you in the low/no/mini/micro-budget market I can tell you that this is great advice - and exactly what I do. My room is quite small and the natural ambient reverb almost never matches, so I close-mic.

Don't worry if it sounds too "big;" it will settle in nicely when you pull it back into the mix.

I have several pieces of 4'X4' wood - cheap plywood (which has nice creaks, etc.), a quality plywood (generic, but good sound) which also has linoleum glued on one side, and a piece of hardwood from an old barn door (solid sound). I lay them flat on the studio carpet or put them up on 2"X4" or 4"X4" for more resonance/hollowness plus a number of other personal "tricks." The Salvation Army Store and similar places have provided lots of footwear and props quite inexpensively (I just love the looks I get when picking out high heels).

My studio is in my basement, and the floor just outside the studio door is concrete, so my hard surfaces are covered. I just use a few homemade gobos to control excessive ambience. I also use those gobos in my garage to record really messy stuff - breaking glass and the like.

Once you've got the technical aspects worked out the tough part is actually performing the Foley. Don't get frustrated, it takes a while to get the techniques down and getting the timing right. On large projects instead of scene by scene I do each character all the way through, as I need to stay "in character." However, this means extremely detailed cue sheets.

If you haven't read "The Foley Grail" by Vanessa Ament I suggest that you get it right away. It's fun and inspiring as well as informative.
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