Foley sound effects are custom sounds made in post-production.
Why does Foley exist?
Most SFX captured during production (called “production sound effects” or PFX) aren’t on par with the quality of Foley sound. In addition, Foley needs to happen for one simple reason: A unique track of SFX is necessary when a film is translated into another language, as that allows the sound editors to lay the SFX track on top of the foreign dialogue. This is the main reason Foley artists record a distinct set of sounds for a film, apart from the sounds attached to the dialogue track.
Why not use prerecorded sound effects?
“Because like electronic music, it can sound great, but there might not be any soul,” says Roesch. Ambient sounds, like the murmurs or shuffling of a crowd, can be cut from a library. But other sounds are custom-recorded, not just to imitate a pencil being picked up or a book being set down, but to imitate that specific book or pencil being handled by that specific character in that specific moment. “Excellent Foley artists bring the exact emotion to every cue,” says Barbanell. “Foley brings the human element.”
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