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Foley Art, Sound Effects and Dialogue/Narrative. This was originally purposed for my first year project on sound design. I thought I'd share it with the public to show what I've discussed. Sources and references are include

Daniel Willis, Blogger

January 25, 2014

4 Min Read


Foley Art
Since the 1930’s Foley art has been a major contribution to the sound used in multimedia products. Foley art is used in almost every multi-media production as a common method of creating sound to fit to the screenplay. “Foley artists are musicians of sorts, but instead of using traditional instruments, they use common household items and materials typically found in a junkyard to create their art”  .In “James bond – Casino Royale ”, as an audience we are able to distinguish separate characters due to the sounds which the Foley artist have assigned. The Foley artist has created footstep sounds on different surfaces such as sand, grass and concrete making it clear as to which character is being focused through the screenplay. The simplicity of footsteps with the correct sound creates a large impact on how the audience visualises and hears the scene. In most action/thriller movies the Foley art is overpowered by sound effects however, the Foley art which is primarily heard is usually very realistic. Through the use of real guns for gun shots and using different objects to resemble fight scenes, the Foley art resembles what is expected to be heard from the objects and movement used onscreen or even off-screen. This is good sound design.


Sound Effects
Sound effects used in action/thriller are usually stereotyped as Hollywood sound effects. This is because of the high budget put into the creation of sound, using high definition and editing effects in great depth. “Effects that are impossible to record naturally are designed, typically through a DAW, to produce the desired effect”.  Some companies who cannot afford Foley sets commonly use a sound effects library.  In prestige there is a scene in which a non-diegetic sound is played alongside a sound effect to create drama and tension in the scene. This use of sound effect also creates an un-nerving prospective to what is being visualised on screen. The sound effects used in “Inception”  suit typically to the stereotype. Richard king talks about how the sound engineers edited sounds such as “whale noises” to get the right sound effects for a frightening scene. They used real guns to record the gun shots, which is a common method in most action/thrillers in order to create realistic sound effects. “Some sound designers go to extreme lengths to record realistic source material for bullet impacts.”  In action/thriller movies, the sounds are usually bold and charismatic, giving energy to the movie. These bold and highly edited sound effects immerse the audience into believing that the unreal is real while watching the film. Again in Inception, the physics involved onscreen are completely unreal, however the sounds help engage the audience to believe that it’s possible.


Dialogue, Narrative and Speech

The speech used in action/thrillers is generally crisp and clean, using high tech microphones such as shotgun microphones in order to hear the dialogue over the sound effects and music used. It is important that the dialogue has a meaning in a film. However, sometimes sound designers prefer using silence or less dialogue than necessary to focus on the visuals of the film. “David Sonnenschein also argues that pauses and delivery of lines can create as much meaning as the words themselves.”  Quentin Tarantino’s movie, “Pulp Fiction ” primarily focuses on dialogue. Quentin Tarantino entertains the audience through words more than action as well as using almost every sentence to progress the story. The dialogue and use of speech throughout the film creates the illusion of a stronger set of characters than the characters on screen. All of the speech and dialogue overpowers each scene plays more of an important role than what is visualised. Speech, narrative and dialogue play an important role in action/thrillers as they alone tell the story of the film without needing the images.



  Ric Viers (2008). The Sound Effects Bible. America: Michael Wiese productions. page 122.

  Casino Royale (16 November 2006(UK)), Martin Campbell , [Film] , Columbia Pictures. 

  Ric Viers (2008). The Sound Effects Bible. America: Michael Wiese productions. page 6.

  Christopher Nolan & Richard King. (2012). Sound Works Collection: The Sound of Inception. Available: http://soundworkscollection.com/inception. Last accessed 18/11/2012.

  Ric Viers (2008). The Sound Effects Bible. America: Michael Wiese productions. page 273.

   WordPress. (2001). Words Speak Louder Than Action. Available: http://wordsspeaklouderthanaction.wordpress.com/. Last accessed 11/08/2012.
Quote from : David Sonnenschein, Sound Design: The Expressive Power of Music, Voice and Sound Effects in Cinema (Michael Wiesse Productions, 2001)

  Pulp Fiction (1994), Quentin Tarantino, [Film], Jersey Films.

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