Movies and television show have been a favorite past time for about a century now. When films were still relatively new, sound effects were extensive and a must for any creation. Today they are still important whether it be the sound of birds chirping or something falling, you truly feel that those things are really happening in order for the sound to be created. But the reality of sound effects, is that they involve common items to create those sounds. That bird you hear flying? It’s actually a feather duster being maneuvered by an experienced professional.
John Roesch is a foley artist, which is what they call those who create sound effects in games, shows and movies. He works for Skywalker Sound and has been in the industry for almost 40 years. He has created sound effects for movies such as Gone Girl, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Inception and The Empire Strikes Back. Roesch shared that this field of work has a very limited amount of workers, in fact he stated that there are, “more astronauts in the world than foley artists.”
The studio where Roesch creates sound effects was specifically designed for this type of work. There are various types of odd objects splayed around the large room, there is a floor that is actually located within the ground of the earth which allows better foot sounds and a pool to create sounds for water scenes. The swimming mermaid you hear on that new movie? That was all done here.
The key to being a great foley artist is nobody noticing that sounds are not real, or thinking that they are being created from something else entirely. However, it is still amazing to see an artist at work or imagine that a person is taking some household object to make that cool sound. Think of all the sound effects in the Harry Potter series. Can you imagine all the work it took just to replicate the sound of broomsticks zooming around? So if you have a kid that likes to take your favorite pots and pans and make noise at 5 in the morning, it is possible that you have a future foley artist in your hands.