The creak of a floorboard makes every hair on the back of your neck stand up and you sleep with the lights on for a week. When you watch a movie, whether a horror flick or a war epic, the sound effects can make or break it, regardless of how the plot progresses. What you don’t know is that a Foley artist
made that specific sound in a recording studio with one of hundreds, even thousands, of props.
Jack Foley is the man behind the art. He created new sound effect techniques in 1927 while working for Universal Studios at the end of the silent movie era. Despite numerous technological advances, the art of Foley is still broken into three specific categories: feet, moves, and specifics.
“Feet” is exactly what it sounds like: the sounds of the actors and actresses walking around. A Foley artist will have samples of multiple types of flooring and shoes to recreate that perfect, ambient sound.
“Moves” goes hand in hand with the “feet” category, as it recreates the
sounds clothing makes when in motion.
The “specifics” category encompasses the sounds of everything from
gunfire to broken glass to a squeaky door.
In a way, the Foley artist is the person you always hear about, but never get to meet. What an odd job!