Sound effects are rarely recorded at the same time as dialogue and action, since the sound mix is so difficult to balance; the foley artist listens to the dialogue track for the (usually quite faint) sounds of, for instance, footsteps, a door slam, etc. and records them onto a new track in synch with the action onscreen. Other sound effects are drawn from recorded libraries, but many directors prefer the direct involvement of the foley artist.
The foley artist also adds sounds that may not exist at all on the original track: for instance, thumping watermelons or cracking bamboo to create the sounds of a fight. Many foley artists take pride in constructing their own sound effects apparatus, frequently using simple, common materials. Some "the-making-of" features show foley artists at work. The contrast between the action on the screen and the down-home effects is striking.
The name comes from one of the original and well-known Hollywood practitioners of this art, Jack Foley, who got his start in the film business as a stand-in and screenwriter during the silent era and later helped Universal make the transition to sound.
|Effect||How It Is Sometimes Made|
|Crowd Sounds||Vocals (sometimes by a group of artists)|
|Horses' Hooves||Hands hitting shoes into box of sand|
|Kissing||Kissing back of hand|
|Punching someone||Thumping watermelons|
|High heels||Artist walks in high heels on wooden platform|
|Bonebreaking blow||Breaking celery or bamboo|
|Footsteps in snow||Squeezing a box of corn starch|
|Star-Wars sliding doors||Sheet of paper pulled out of envelope|
|(please add more)|