Have The Right Effect: A Beginner's Guide To Recording Effective Foleys

There are many components to producing films. It comes in three stages namely, pre-production, production, and post-production. Pre-production involves writing the screenplay, conducting castings, budget planning, scouting locations, getting the right video and audio equipment and anything that includes the initial stages and preparations.

Meanwhile, production is the actual execution of the film from directing the actors right down to shooting the final pages of the screenplay. Post-production is when everything comes to full circle. Raw videos are edited, colors are corrected, and this is where the production team finds out if there is any need for a reshoot. 

Finally, post-production involves the art of Foley. 

What is Foley?

For starters, Foley is the art of recreating and recording ambient sound effects during post-production to be used for media productions such as film. The term is derived from sound effects artist, Jack Foley.  

The use of Foley started with the broadcast of radio soap operas during the 1920s, everyday objects were used to reproduce sound effects and then performed live or recorded. The art has then improved with the emergence of better audio equipment and utilized to provide sound effects for video.  

Recording would last at least 2 weeks for a feature-film and could last as long as a month for sound-heavy and composite films. 

Establish a Good Soundstage

Setting up a soundstage is essential in recording quality sounds. The soundstage is a soundproof room used for film and tv productions, it is designed to provide good acoustics to record sound with dimension- meaning having excellent sonic width, height, and depth.

In constructing your soundstage, make enough room for your audio equipment. There are several ways to improve acoustics in your soundstage if you decide to build one at your own place such as pyramid style sound diffusers and echo absorbers. 

Choose The Right Equipment

Choosing the proper audio equipment to record your audio determines the quality of foley you produce. Using quality microphones and sound mixers is important to record clear, crisp and high-quality audio.

Condenser microphones are best when recording ambient sounds. Having proper audio accessories is important as well, especially if you’re recording from every corner of your soundstage. The position of your microphone will give you the depth your recording may need. 


Gather Your Objects For Foley

When you have your soundstage constructed properly and your audio equipment set up, it's now time to gather the objects you can use for recording.

Foley artists use a variety of random objects to replicate ambient sounds. For instance, coconuts are used to mimic a horse’s steps and celery is used for bone fractures, even frying bacon can be recorded to copy the sound of rain.

You have to be creative in gathering your objects to record for your foley. It shouldn’t be complicated, even the simplest household item can be used for recording.


With everything in place, you can now proceed with recording. It is important to study the video material first and then preparing all the necessary materials for your foley. Break down each scene in detail to determine which kind of SFX is needed. 

Often, foley artists improvise when recording. You might discover better sounds and consider changing plans midway- this is fairly common. You have to be flexible and creative in the recording.

Whether you’re an amateur or a professional in the field, the sounds in your film ( SFX and bgm) is fundamental in setting your storytelling in motion. Recording foleys are integral in producing any kind of film. If you’re an independent filmmaker living in the UAE, consider investing in the proper audio equipment in Dubai.