Hello SSD World,

I'm currently in the process of putting together a plan to build my own foley stage w/ corresponding pits to live under the surfaces. I'm wondering if anyone has any plans lying around from a similar project, and what materials you used to best isolate these surfaces from their wooden housing. Would you use weather stripping? Rubber insulation? Just poking around for ideas more or less.

My budget is 1-2k. I'm looking to do as much of this myself as possible. Thanks in advance for your suggestions / thoughts!

  • 1
    Do you intend to have pits under the surfaces? If so that's not likely to work very well apart from surfaces requiering resonance like grating and suspended wood (dock sounding) and even then to get relistic resonance you mostly need them to be a decent size or any resonance will be to high and will sound to light/tiny.
    – ErikG
    Commented Aug 10, 2012 at 8:19
  • I do intend to have pits under the surfaces. I was curious about the resonance as well, wondering if some acoustic absorption foam tacked onto the bottom of the surfaces would help dampen this. I'm thinking about allowing just enough clearance to leave the contents of the pit undisturbed. Along with rubber insulation creating joists of sorts for a snug fit. Sort of streaming my consciousness brainstorming in this comment. :) Let me know if I'm totally looney. HA!
    – Conrad
    Commented Aug 10, 2012 at 17:07
  • Yes I think you are looney :) I very much doubt any dual layer pits will work at all. The damping you mentioned above is no where near enough to dampen the power of walking without adding ugly resonance I'm afraid. The only thing that truly can minimise resonance is mass unfortunately...
    – ErikG
    Commented Aug 10, 2012 at 23:32

3 Answers 3


The key to good foley pits is isolation and quality of sound. Good foley pits are expensive to make but the investment is worth it. The kind of wood you use to box the pit is crucial to the acoustics of the pit as well as durability. Hardwood like oak, teak, seringa are good. Your comment about using rubber insulation is spot on. But you can use the rubber insulation between your traps, shielding them from each other so they don't bleed into each other especially if you are doing foley with another person and using 2 different surfaces. Pit depth is also crucial. Don't make them too deep- around 350mm- and with the added surface such as hard packed gravel or pebble on had packed gravel, your depth should be around 50mm from the top.

As far as the insulation of the bottom is concerned, foam rubber padding or soft rubber (15mm thick) is good. Cement is a really difficult surface to design. If it is too thin, it will ring and sound too thin. If you have the space, make a large cement surface and then have an area that has a varnish on it and an area that mimics exterior pavement. Also, have a small depression in the exterior one when creating puddles. I have seen studio's use hard rubber as their side insulation and the depth of the cement is quite deep (300-350mm).

Foam rubber (the orange stuff I think) is also a good insulator.

Hope it helps.


If possible, build it on the ground floor with as a direct coupling to solid earth. Pretty much all man made structures will have resonance in the floors. Concrete structural buildings carries transients surprisingly well (in a bad way). It stuff like this that you won't really think about until you start recording low level sounds like foley.

A decent pit isn't to hard to build if the foundation is sound. A good to great foley studio is hard to extremely hard to build.

If you are located in a rural area it's a lot easier...

  • Great thing to account for, thank you Erik
    – Conrad
    Commented Aug 10, 2012 at 17:11

Don't forget a water tank.

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