The Surreal Sounds of Hollywood

How filmmakers use household items to create extreme sounds

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   The production of sounds in movies are typically made with different items than what is shown on screen. This process is called foley. Foley is the use of sound effects reproduced by everyday items that are added to film, video, and other media in post-production to enhance audio quality.

  Different techniques are used for different types of scenes in movies. For example horror movie scenes objects would most likely be different than a fight scene movie, or a regular everyday action.

  To create the sound of a zombie feasting on someone, squishing and eating a tomato can be used, while to imitate a skull crush sound, foley artists can crush a pepper. A hammer to a watermelon can be used to make a similar sound to a head smash.

  Punching a cooked chicken can mimic the sound of punching a person, while breaking celery sounds like the breaking of bones.

  The room where the sounds are created is important as well. For example a quiet room with sound absorbing materials produces something different than an empty parking garage does.

  The first scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark is very memorable partly due to the foley artists. While Indiana Jones is trying to dodge spares and tarantulas, he accidentally sets off a booby trap that triggers a giant boulder, which begins rolling straight for him. The boulder was made of fiberglass to appear real, but to sell an audience on its authenticity, the foley artists used the sound of a car set in neutral, coasting down a gravel road.

Foley not only has the ability to mimic extraordinary sounds with the use of ordinary products, but it also adds to the great quality of a movie.

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