The Art of Foley – An Inside Look at Sound Effects in Film

T H E   A R T   O F   F O L E Y –
An Inside Look at Sound Effects in Film

Sound Effects are a driving force behind every film that can steer the audience’s emotions and expectations. An image of a door could be shown but the audience would know the emotional tone whether they heard the sounds of wine glasses clinking with plates and silverware milling about , or alternatively bone cracking and chainsaws revving. In one instance the audience is invited into a feast and the other they want to run in horror. The senses follow the sounds. Creating high quality sounds to use in one’s films is an undertaking and an art form in itself. In one instance there is a vast array of high quality sounds already available to you at AudioMicro.com, but sometimes you just want that personal touch and feel the drive to create your own sound effects. In this post we will be taking a look at what exactly goes into making a custom high quality sound effect and a brief history of how it all came to be.

Creating Sound Effects for Film

One of the great unsung heroes of any movie is easily the Foley Artist. These artists are the ones who create all the sound effects you hear throughout the film by using everyday objects in unexpected ways to generate unique sounds. Think banging a couple of coconut shells together to create the sound of a horse galloping like in Monty Python’s Holy Grail; that is a prime example of foley sound.

While on location of a film, modern day audio equipment is optimized for picking up the actors voice while cancelling out all the surrounding and background sounds that would breath life into the scene. This could be something subtle like the actor’s footsteps, opening a door, or even just scratching his own face, to the more in your face fighting scenes, scuffling, clashing swords, etc. It is these artists’ job to find out how to recreate any sound imaginable for any given scene and convince the audience it’s the real thing. Some examples of this would be something like stepping on VHS tape to create the sound of walking through autumn leaves. You can then pick up the same VHS tape and shake it to give the sense of bushes rustling in the wind. Another example would be stepping on a bag full of corn starch to create that sound of fresh snow crunching and compressing as its walked on. Even snapping or twisting a bunch of celery can sound like bones cracking or breaking. At the end of the day if the foley artist did his job right you will never know he did anything at all.

The Origin of Foley Sound Effects in Film

Before this method of foley sound became mainstream in film it was common practice for the time to have sound effects added into broadcasted radio plays to help paint a richer picture of what is happening for the audience. This is what helped pave the way for post sound effects to emerge into film.

The term Foley Artists comes from its creator, Jack Donovan Foley, who as a Universal employee developed the method of performing sound effects in sync with the film’s moving picture in post production back in the early mid 1900s. Jack and his team would have the movie projected in front of them and perform all the post sounds needed in one go and record it on one single track. Nowadays with the invention of computers and development of Non Linear Editing there are infinite amounts of tracks sounds can be recorded, retimed, and adjusted on that simply did not exist back then. At the time this method of creating post sound was called ‘Direct to Picture,’ and it wasn’t until years later that it became known as foley.

Modern Recording Practices of Foley Sound Effects

Today the common set up for post sound is 2 foley artists and 1 sound mixer on the mixing stage. The two artists will work in tandem to create the sound and will work from visual markers and cues projected on the film supplied by the mixer to help them match timing. However, these days it’s less critical if an artist misses the timing as this can be adjusted by the mixer, but making sure the feel of the sound matches perfectly is more of what’s necessary. These specialized mixing stages the foley artists work on will commonly have special sectioned floors with various textures and materials to step on to create various sounds. Along with having an ever expanding warehouse full of props and everyday items they have catalogued and can use at any given moment.

In the instance that you might need to add some foley sound to one of your own projects you can always go simple and experiment with a basic audio mic recording various sounds like footsteps, slamming doors, breaking celery and then test it out by cutting and remixing the sound back into your edit.

If you need something more robust and professional sounding, or you simply don’t quite know how to get that exact perfect sound effect you’re looking for – audiomicro.com has you covered! Just head to the website, select sound effects, and search for anything you need! There are literally 1000s of professional high quality sound effects to choose from that you can remix and cut back into your projects with confidence.

Meet A&R Manager – Joshua Priest

T E A M   M E M B E R   P R O F I L E :
AN INTERVIEW WITH AUDIOMICRO’S A&R MANAGER:

At AudioMicro, we’ve got a commitment to the high quality of music we provide, and our A&R Manager is at the heart of this mission.  Meet the man, behind the man, behind the man, Joshua Priest.

– Thanks, Josh, for interviewing with me today.  So you are the resident music expert and A&R manager for AudioMicro!  How long have you been working with the company?

Answer: I’ve been with the company for four years, and I’ve been managing A&R and the ingest contracts for artists for the past two years.

– Very nice. What’s your background with music?

Answer: Well, I’ve been playing guitar for 14 years. And I’ve always been into music ever since I was a kid.  I mean, basically, music has just been a big part of the journey in my life. Because, you know, when you play an instrument, you’re forever learning and struggling with things that you don’t know. Your music within itself is a language, so you’re always kind of learning, every single day. And it’s great. I deal with other people’s music every day as well.  I get to kind of get a snapshot of their musical journey as well.

– So it’s almost like music is a teacher in a way.  And what’s your background before working in the music industry for AudioMicro?

Answer:  I used to work in TV, for  G4 TV, which is now defunct, unfortunately, and I also worked for a year with NBC. I started off as a production assistant for about a year and half, then became a producer myself.

– Ok, so you have a background in music and in producing. With that experience under your belt, what are some top things that you’re looking for as far as the quality of the tracks that you’re ingesting for AudioMicro’s library?

Answer: Well I definitely want to listen to how things are mixed.  We want to provide top-quality music so mixing is very important.I also want to listen to how the melodies fit into the genre that they’re trying to achieve.

Then I also like to listen to the quality of their plugins. Say with a song that has flute, you can basically tell when they have a really good plugin because you can’t tell the difference between a real flute and a really good plugin of the flute.

Sometimes I hear a film score, and I can’t tell if the artist recorded an orchestra or just on his computer doing this?  Either way, it doesn’t matter because it sounds amazing.

I can hear their level of professionalism and effort within the first 30 seconds.

And then there’s timing.  Sometimes people will upload tracks, and you can just hear that the drums are off, or the rhythm guitar is going at a certain beat per minute. But then, the lead guitar is playing way too quick, or way too slow compared to it. And you can tell that it’s not something that they’re actually trying to achieve.

And, one more thing I’d like to add. When you listen to someone’s music, if you can close your eyes, and you can see the song that they’re making being used in some sort of production, like I can see this being in a movie, or I can see this being the background of a blog on YouTube or something like that, then you know that you’ve got something good.

– So the way that it’s mixed, the melody fitting the genre, the quality of the sounds and plugins, and the timing, those are some of the things that you look for when you’re rating.  And, because of your background and TV and music, you need to imagine where it could be used, and it may need to evoke some emotion in you?

Answer: Yeah. Actually, I won’t lie. There’ve been a few times I’ve uploaded contracts to AudioMicro and I was going through a new artist’s music that were just very sad songs. And I felt a very strong reaction, my heartstrings were getting pulled, and I was like, “Oh, I better stop listening to this. I don’t want to start crying at my desk!”

Some of these artists they are really good at what they do. And if I can listen to music and feel emotional, that’s a winner right there.

– I think a lot of video production is telling a story; and that could be a happy story or a sad story, or many times to inspire, right?  Especially motivational videos on YouTube, they’re definitely telling a story, but also evoking some positive, motivational, or inspirational feelings, right?

Answer: You’re absolutely right, because when it comes down to it at the end of the day, if you have a video with audio, the audio is 50% of your video’s impact. If you have a video with audio that doesn’t match what you’re watching, it takes you out of the experience- 100%.  But if you have audio that matches what you’re watching, it can make the impact of the video 100 times better.

– It’s almost as if the measure of a well produced movie or video is that when you’re so involved in the story, that you don’t even notice the music, because it just corresponds so well, it all goes together.

Answer: Yeah, that’s what we hope for at AudioMicro. Content creators for YouTube,  production film houses, or for people that do podcasts. We’re here to help provide music to compliment your visual aspect to make your production the best it can be.  To Complement and Enhance your project.

– Do you ever get requests to help people find music or suggest music for their production?

Answer: Yes, I’m always more than happy to help our customers if they need assistance.  They can just write in to us with info like, “Hey, we’re doing like a little podcast about history and science, that we kind of want something that’s mellow acoustic.” I’ll point them in the right direction or put together 5 or 10 tracks of things that I think they might like.

– It’s great to know you all are there to help!  So, what’s something about AudioMicro that people probably don’t know.

Answer:  It’s a really great working environment at AudioMicro – We all have each other’s backs.  We’re all very chill & casual with each other- I could go talk to my supervisor or CEO and could talk about work or I could talk about something personal.  When you have a work environment where everyone meshes together so well, the productivity and the company morale becomes so high that it feels like the sky’s the limit.

We also have a room that is dedicated to chilling and taking a break.  We have an acoustic bass, a piano, bean bags and couches, and a PlayStation 4 for people want to play video games.  Throughout all hours of the day, you can hear someone in there either banging on the piano, plucking on a guitar, or playing a video game.

I think that is the best way to blow off some steam and clear your head, like if you’re working on something and you kind of hit a brick wall. You can go in there for 10 or 15 minutes, noodle around on the guitar to get some creative juices flowing, and then before you know it, you might be in the middle of playing a song and you go, “Oh, I got it!”  And go back to what you were working on.

– That’s perfect, because they say human beings can only focus efficiently for so long, and then they actually need to take a break and shift into something else.  So last question Joshua, what kind of music are you into right now?

Answer: Right now I’ve really been into Lo Fi Hip Hop to work to.  It’s kind of jazzy, there are a lot of samples from old jazz musicians and they tweak them to create some interesting sounds, and then I’m also really into classical rock and bands I grew up with like the Beatles, the Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd .

And also, I normally don’t tell people this, but I have a guilty pleasure… I like to listen to Korean Pop Music or K Pop.  My best friend from elementary and middle school was Korean so I’d always be at his house and that’s what him and his sister listened to all the time. So I learned about it back in 1997 and have been listening to it off and on for a long time, but more recently I’ve kind of gotten back into it.

I’m really digging this girl group called Black Pink.  They’ve been around for a couple of years but recently put out a new album and their sound is pretty different.. It’s like Korean girl rap trap music. Here’s the link to my favorite video.

Awesome Joshua, thanks for your time!

 

T O D A Y ‘S   T A K E A W A Y S

Takeaway 1:  Joshua’s A&R rating is based on track mixing, the melody fitting the genre, the quality of the sounds and plugins, the timing, and if the sounds help to evoke emotion or could help tell a story.

Takeaway 2:  It’s essential to find background or production music that matches your creative project in order to complement and enhance its impact!

Takeaway 3: Joshua and the team at AudioMicro are there to help if you need assistance in finding the right sounds for your production project.  Just write in Here.

Takeaway 4: AudioMicro promotes a work environment that is friendly, supportive, and honors their employees need to express creativity and take breaks!

Takeaway 5: Joshua secretly loves K-Pop! 😉

 

 

AudioMicro Royalty Free Licenses 101

A U D I O M I C R O   M U S I C   L I C E N S E S   1 0 1

 

 

 

 

 

Want to know more about what our Standard License for Music Track covers?
Let us give you the 411.

We’ll cover all the music licensing types in this article, but will focus on our tried and true- The Standard License for our Royalty Free Music Tracks.

We’re stoked to offer you the most affordable Standard License price in the industry, not to mention our HUGE library of HIGH QUALITY tracks, all for just $34.95 per song.  Woot!

So where can you utilize these tracks?  Let us count the ways…

  • In any free apps, podcasts, software, and games, utilized on iPhone, iPad, Android, & Facebook.  As long as it’s free, you’re free to use these songs as many times as you’d like!  Score!
  • In any non-downloadable casual games played exclusively via a web browser, both free and paid.  Live Games = Game on!
  • In any creative project videos that are non-advertisements, for TV, Radio, Wedding Videos, and Corporate Videos.  No Ads = No Problem!
  • ANYWHERE on the world wide web (we like to call it the Interwebs), including on YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Websites, Web Videos, & Slideshows.  That’s right, anywhere on YouTube land – so create away!
  • In any Film Festivals projects, both student and professional.  We love making big screen debuts!

And what about Reproduction?

The Fine Print :: The Standard License includes the reproduction of up to 1,000 copies of your project in physical, tangible products like CD’s, DVD’s, VHS tapes, Blu-rays, toys, and console games.

So, in sum, the Standard License is all you need, unless of course, you are using the music in the following scenarios. ::

  • For Ads- In an Advertisement to be run on Television or Radio
  • For Films Not at Film Festivals – In a commercial film release or theatrical presentation (excluding film festival screenings)
  • For large-scale Paid Games- In a paid (i.e. not free) iPhone/iPad/Android app, podcast, or downloadable software/game where more than 1,000 copies will be downloaded. Notice: Apps and games that offer “in-app” purchasing by the user are considering paid (i.e. not free) and require the Mass Reproduction License if more than 1,000 will be distributed.
  • For large-scale Reproduction- In over 1,000 physical/tangible reproductions of a product like CD’s, DVD’s, Blu-rays, toys, and console games.

So there are the In’s and Out’s of our Standard License, and all for $34.95!
Quite the steal, wouldn’t you say?  And just a reminder that your dollars are supporting the very deserving and talented musicians and artists who spend countless hours providing you with premium sounds!

Now remember, these deets cover our Music Tracks only.  Interested in Sound Effects SFX Licenses, click here.

Didn’t cover your intended use?  Keep reading for increased coverage.

Here’s a run-down of ALL the MUSIC LICENSE options – depending on your use:

B) MASS REPRODUCTION – $134.95 for up to 10,000 copies to $284.95 for unlimited.

This license is ONLY required if you wish to make over 1,000 physical/tangible reproductions of your product or utilize the music in a paid (i.e. not free) iPhone/iPad/Android/Facebook app, podcasts, software, and/or games where more than 1,000 copies will be downloaded.

Notice: The Standard License allows up to 1,000 downloads of both free and paid software/games as well as unlimited downloads of free (and not allowing in-app purchasing) iPhone/iPad/Android apps, podcasts, softwares, and games. Therefore, you do NOT need to purchase a mass duplication license unless you’re distributing over 1,000 physical/tangible reproductions of videos, softwares, games, toys within media such as CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes and the like OR using the music in paid (i.e. not free) iPhone/iPad/Android apps and podcasts to be downloaded more than 1,000 times.

Mass Reproduction license prices:

  • The standard license price of $34.95 plus $100 for up to 10,000 reproductions
  • The standard license price of $34.95 plus $250 for unlimited reproductions

 

C) TELEVISION/RADIO ADVERTISEMENT – $134.95 to $284.95.

This license is ONLY required if you are using the music in an Advertisement run on either Television or Radio.
Television / Radio Advertisement License prices:

  • For Music used in Local/Regional advertisements played on Television or Radio (with a range of 250 miles in all directions from the broadcast center), the price is the Standard License price of $34.95 plus $100 ($134.95)
  • For Music used in Nationwide/Worldwide advertisements played on Television or Radio, the price is the Standard License price of $34.95 plus $250 ($284.95 total)

 

D) THEATRICAL / COMMERCIAL FILM RELEASE – $284.95 for worldwide rights.

This license is ONLY required for commercial film releases and theatre presentations. Utilization of the music in non-commercial, educational, and editorial projects, like student films and contest submissions, is included in the Standard License. Please be sure to credit “Royalty Free Music by AudioMicro” in your project.

Theatrical/Commercial License Price:  The Standard License price of $34.95 plus $250 per track

Notice:
All of our licenses allow you use the music solely in your own projects. You cannot resell the music as a standalone product or create a derivative work that primarily contains just the music and the resell it as your own, such as a meditation CD with your voice running over the music. If you’d like to use the music in such a manner, please contact us for a special license arrangement.

Bonuses:
We offer a bonus of 20% on purchases over $500 and in the form of store credit to be used with your next purchase. Simply contact us after you have made your purchase and we’ll place the bonus into your account. We also offer bonuses for verified charities and nonprofits.

So that’s AUDIOMICRO’s Licensing 101 friends.

Let us know if you have any questions, and Go Forward and Create!

~The AudioMicro Team

Royalty Free Christmas Music to Add to your 2011 Christmas Playlist

Christmas Image Santa Claus

Now that December is in full swing, Christmas is right around the corner.  And with the holiday season comes the promise of cooler weather, hot chocolate, wish lists to Santa (hey, you’ve been good this year!), and of course…royalty free Christmas music.

So if you’re looking for the kind of royalty-free music for your store, office, phone lines, commercials, productions or presentations that is going to give all who hear it a jollier feeling than a mob of carolers on a candy cane rush…then consider the top ten best holiday classics to add to your playlist this year:

#1:  Christmas Song: This song is number one on the list because it has withstood the test of time and appeals to every generation.  It is commonly subtitled, “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” which is the opening line of the song and one to which we can all sing along.

#2:  White Christmas: If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, it only adds to the magical theme in the air.  This holiday favorite is an Irving Berlin song reminiscing about an old-fashioned Christmas scene.  It became popular during WWII as the lyrics were heartfelt by soldiers and their families.  According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the version sung by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single of all time, selling over 50 million copies worldwide.

#3:  Silent Night. This classic was originally written in 1816 by an Austrian priest and it was first performed at the Church of St. Nicholas on Christmas Eve in 1818.  Ever since then it’s hard to imagine Christmas without it.

#4:  Jingle Bell Rock: Released by Bobby Helms in 1957, this festive tune is another oldie, but goodie.  When you hear the verse about “dancing and prancing in jingle bell square,” you can’t help but to get up and join in the Christmas spirit as you’re on your merry way!

#5:  Carol of the Bells. This song performed by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra has no words but is a necessity for any Christmas enthusiast.  With its dramatic buildup it is unlike any other tune of the season.

#6:  Oh Holy Night. Written in the 1800s by Placide Cappeau de Roquermaure, a wine merchant and poet, this is a song that reflects on the birth of Christ and the redemption of mankind…and it is powerful enough to bring tears to the eyes of listeners and take their breath away.

#7:  Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree: A more modern tune than many of the traditional sounds of Christmas, this number was made famous by Brenda Lee.  No Christmas event of any kind would be complete without this cheerful song…put it on and even the Grinch would be sure to get in the celebratory mood!

#8:  Feliz Navidad: This jam was written by a Puerto Rican singer-songwriter, Jose Feliciano, and has both a Spanish and an English version.  It is one of the top 25 most played Christmas songs around the globe and is another fun song to have you feeling holly-jolly.

#9:  Santa Clause is Coming to Town: It just wouldn’t be Christmas without this one—not only is it a favorite amongst the kiddos, but the adults love this little jingle as well.  Who isn’t excited about Santa coming to town?

#10:  Joy to the World. This popular Christmas carol came from the words of English hymn writer, Isaac Watts, based on Psalm 98 in the Bible.  It was written in 1700s to glorify Christ’s birth and still brings joy to us today.

Erica St. Claire is a guest post author sharing with us the top classic Christmas songs this year.  Erica is also a writer about online dating and you can find her work on Best Catholic Dating Sites.

 

 

Some General iTunes mp3 conversion instructions to prevent file corruption

Here are some general iTunes .mp3 conversion instructions to prevent file corruption.

Make sure that you are exporting your mix as an audio .aif file
at 44.1 and 16bit  (CD standard)

(Higher resolutions also work 24 bit 48khz for example and on up!)

after you obtain this file , open it in itunes and set the itunes
Preferences-Advanced-Importing (selection button )
to mp3 192 -stereo  (or higher to 320 stereo)
then press ok.

Preferences-Advanced-General show where the export file will be placed
and can be changed to a preferred location

Now, put the aif file in a new playlist (drag and drop)
and select/highlight the file in the playlist you wish to convert

and go to the Pull Down Menu ADVANCED and choose Convert to MP3

Your file will be in a user file folder from itunes.  I hope you find this tutorial helpful.

-Rick Keller, AudioMicro Music Supervisor

Micro Stock = The Future of Content Licensing

Rights Managed Licensing is on the decline. Royalty Free Licensing is stabilizing (aka “not growing”). Ad supported Licensing models (aka the YouTube way) are proving unmonetizable / unprofitable as well as distracting to viewers in addition to not providing royalties to the content creators / providers among other copyright infringement issues. A new buzz is around CPM / Pay Per Use Licensing. We like to call this new form of licensing “same product, different packaging, everybody gets screwed”. With CPM licensing, a user of content (let’s say a photography, video, or audio clips) pays a fee every time the content is viewed/heard. What ends up happening is that the publisher pays more for the content, the content creator gets a smaller royalty for their work (as the CPM facilitator takes a hefty cut of the action) and the customer is “eternally billed” and tracked for their usage of the content. The truth is that Micro Stock is the future of content licensing. Micro Stock creates entirely new content from new artists, the content is nearly identical to the high end “professional” rights managed content, it gives customers a simple, easy to understand, general use commercial license with no additional billings, and it pays a nice, healthy royalty to it’s content creators. Micro Stock is powerful, it’s taken down an entire $6 billion public company and made it into a $2 billion company. Micro stock is on pace to double in terms of it’s popularity / growth / quantity of content licensed in this manner, over the next 5 years. Micro Stock is here to stay!