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What is now called Foley is a range of live sound effects originally developed for live broadcasts of radio drama in the early 1920s in various radio studios around the world. Because no effective recording method existed in those days, all sounds for radio plays had to be created live at the time. Jack Donovan Foley started working with Universal Studios in 1914 during the silent movie era. When Warner studios released its first film to include sound, The Jazz Singer, Universal knew it needed to get on the bandwagon and called for any employees who had radio experience to come forward.[Foley became part of the sound crew that turned Universal’s then upcoming “silent” musical Show Boat into a musical. Because microphones of the time could not pick up more than dialogue, other sounds had to be added in after the film was shot.Foley and his small crew projected the film on a screen while recording a single track of audio that captured their live sound effects.Their timing had to be perfect, so that footsteps and closing doors synchronized with the actors' motions in the film. Jack Foley created sounds for films until his death in 1967. His basic methods are still used today.

Modern Foley art has progressed as recording technology has progressed. Today, sounds do not have to be recorded live on a single track of audio. They can be captured separately on individual tracks and carefully synchronized with their visual counterpart. Foley studios employ hundreds of props and digital effects to recreate the ambient sounds of their films.



FOLEY - What is it?


Who is Jack Foley?




Foley Exercise File


Longer version

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