Duringmy communications with Kate I began to understand the real process of Foley andwhat it brings to the overall quality of the viewing experience. Foley is addedto convey an enhanced sense of reality to the shot and this would not bepossible in the normal natural environment. Even the most gorgeous footage and brilliant camera work can lose power when unaccompaniedby sound. A wildlife scene from the BBC series Planet Earth features polar bear cubs taking their first steps into a world of rapidlythawing ice in the artic.
If the sound is hollow and vacant the beautiful shotswould not have the same desired effect. For maximum emotional impact, Foleysound can match the actions in the video that was filmed and bring a completebigger picture to the audience. Foley allows the sound recordiststo control the sound effects so they don’t obscure any of the dialogue. Another wildlifescene from Planet Earth features thejourney of emperor penguinsto their breeding grounds before the onset of winter. It was much easier forthe post production companies to have the Foley artists do the sounds of theemperor penguins walking in the snow then to record each movement of thepenguins by itself. After speaking with a number of dubbing mixerswho have provided the Foley sounds on a number of BBC documents that have wonawards in the industry, I noticed how Foley artists do not want their work tostand out.
A Foley artist work exists entirely to convince you that a film’ssound effects were captured on location. You are not supposed to realise thatwhat you are hearing is often something completely different to what you areseeing. The works of a Foley artist is to maintain the illusion of what ishappening on-screen, and to make the audience completely unaware of theirpresence.
If you notice the Foley work in a film, it’s because it was not donewell enough. This is why the Foley artist will always be the unsung hero of thefilm.