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Hi,

my name's Martin and I'm student of Film Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, Czech Republic. Right now, it's the first time I'm provided with the real Foley tracks. It's fun and everything sounds good but I'm having hard time syncing/editing/mixing clothes. Do you have any suggestions? I know it's about subjective approach and creativity and it depends on material provided but maybe someone experienced may suggest some simple rules, some dos and don'ts...

Have a good day, Martin

  • Mix it so it sounds good (or, respectively, as you intend it to sound), basically. Why are you "syncing" it by editing btw? Foley can and often is performed directly to the picture (leaving minimal if any editing to be done), it's just more efficient that way. – Internet Human Jun 1 '13 at 23:16
  • yes, it is - almost - perfect. but sometimes something appears to be off sync or it sounds a bit weird...i guess that even good foley artist reacts with some delay etc. it doesn't seem to be a problem with steps and sfx that can be easily cut, but these clothes are giving me headache. am i the only one who finds it little bit tricky or not that simple? these "clothes" tracks are rather complex sequences of sound so it's not easy (at least for me) to edit it. not to mention the dilemma when you have 4 guys arguing at the table and each of them is moving...thanks for comment, m. – Martin Jun 2 '13 at 1:32
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    Foley always needs to be edited. You are absolutely correct about delay time. Advancing the track 1 to 3 frames sometimes does the trick but you will still need to do internal editing ... always. Bring the volume down and play it with your production and FX tracks and see how it sounds. Sometimes focusing on your cloth pass by itself and listening at an unnatural level can make it sound artificial. Level is a big, big part of it. Don't make yourself crazy. Keep things in perspective. The cloth track is not a big player. It's there to help things seem real. It's not meant to stand alone. – Chris Assells Jun 2 '13 at 2:13
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    Also don't be afraid to dump something you don't like and copy and paste something you do like in it's place. I love your attention to the small details. That's something the good ones have in common. – Chris Assells Jun 2 '13 at 2:16
  • @Chris Assells - Perhaps you should copy and paste your comment as an answer. It answers the question well and the op may want to accept it as the best answer. – Mark Durham Jun 3 '13 at 14:41
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Mark Durham suggested I repost this as an answer ...

("... I guess that even good foley artist reacts with some delay etc.")

Foley always needs to be edited. You are absolutely correct about delay time. Advancing the track 1 to 3 frames sometimes does the trick but you will still need to do internal editing ... always.

Bring the volume down and play it with your production and FX tracks and see how it sounds. Sometimes focusing on your cloth pass by itself and listening at an unnatural level can make it sound artificial. Level is a big, big part of it. Don't make yourself crazy. Keep things in perspective. The cloth track is not a big player. It's there to help things seem real. It's not meant to stand alone.

Also don't be afraid to dump something you don't like and copy and paste something you do like in it's place. I love your attention to the small details. That's something the good ones have in common.

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Level is very, very important and can make the difference between pink noise polluting the scene and tasteful cloth movement. However, a lot of that is also in the Foley performance; I was fortunate enough to attend a Q&A with John Roesch and asked him how to avoid that typical noisy cloth track you sometimes get with mediocre Foley. His reply was to be as specific as possible in the movements, and less is often more.

I'd apply the same specificity to Foley editing; make sure you hit the "big moments" where there is very specific movement (e.g. an actor stretching an arm out across the table), and keep the small stuff (e.g. shifts in chairs) down. And remember that every element serves the story -- if a certain movement is key to a scene, accentuate it a bit.

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2¢:

I'd say go and watch a good old theatrical play somewhere from the front seats. Listen to how everything sounds. Then, back at home or work, put on a quiet film, (not TV where a master compressor will have crushed everything). There's a difference in levels, EQ, and reverb, so hopefully that can help with your mixing decisions.

Regarding the dilemma of "4 guys and each of them is moving", there's an old rule that our brains can follow a maximum of 2.5 simultaneous actions (with enough temporal resolution as to perceive "sync").

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