So, continuing with the audio post production process, I’ll talk a little about “Foley” (funny name but a very important part of film). The name comes from a man named Jack Foley, who was a developer of many sound effect techniques used in film making. Now, the art of Foley is the process of adding sounds that are created by the recording of human movement in sync with the picture. Foley effects are different from the environmental backgrounds and hard effects. Foley effects are sounds like footsteps, prop movement, cloth rustling, etc. The people involved in this process are the Foley Mixer, who records the sounds, and the Foley Walkers who create those sounds. After the Foley Effects are recorded, the Foley Editor will make any slight timing adjustments necessary to ensure that they are exactly in sync with the final picture.
Now, on to the music, film/TV music falls into three general categories: Score, Source, and Songs. The Composer is the person hired with the responsibility to prepare the dramatic underscore, which is the music that plays softly under the characters dialog. Source music is that music we hear coming from an on screen or off screen device of some kind such as: radio source music, phonograph records, TV show themes, when seen on a TV set in the shot, and many other things. Source music may be original, or licensed from a number of libraries that specialize in the creation of “generic” music. Songs may occupy either function, but it all is dependent on the dramatic intent of the director. Using “Pulp Fiction” as an example, Director Quentin Tarantino hired a Music Supervisor (Karyn Rachtman) to “score” the picture using period music of the 1970’s almost exclusively. Most contemporary films use a combination of score and source music.
The Music Editor assists the Composer in the preparation of the dramatic underscore (FYI this is usually a stressful job). The music editor frequently works with the Music Supervisor and the music editor will take timings for the Composer, (usually during a spotting session) in order to notate the specific locations in the film where underscore or source music will punctuate the narrative. Once the underscore is recorded, and the source music gathered, the Music Editor would usually be the person who edits or supervises the final synchronization of all music elements prior to the mix.
After much work the last step is mixing. The Mixers have the responsibility of balancing the all of the audio in the media. This means that they “deal” with the Dialogue and ADR, Music, Sound Effects, and Foley Effects, in the final mix. The Dialogue Mixer commands the mixing stage. His partners in the mix are the Effects Mixer and the Music Mixer. On large features, it is not uncommon to have an additional mixer handling just the Foley effects. On huge pictures with tight deadlines, it is possible that several teams of mixers are working simultaneously on numerous stages in order to complete the mix by the release date.