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I'm a sound editor and while early in my career, a majority of my work is doing foley editing (Feet, Props, occasional cloth). Now I'm not complaining because I have work and I've been able to work on both television and film, gaining experience and actually getting pretty decent at editing. But sometimes the work is so extremely tedious, that I wonder if it is worth it for the supervising sound editor to send some of this work to a foley studio to get this done. Now I've worked on shows as a sound editor and when I hear the cloth and feet tracks from a proper foley studio, it makes a world of a difference. But obviously that is dependent on budget and time. But some of this work takes me so long to do, that it can occasionally be very tough of you if it's a heavy session.

Particularly when covering everything for an M&E, I'm pulling my hair out with details, especially with things I simply don't have in my library since I'm working from home. These projects are low budget, so understandably it can be cheaper to have someone cut them in. But when I'm seeing things like a bag of dog food pouring on the floor, or marbles being dropped in a glass container, it can be challenging if they insist that everything be covered, even if the production is fine. Even in regards to footsteps, I can just be really overwhelmed cutting FS for every single person on screen. It seems ridiculous to have someone edit it verses recording. But given that I do it often, perhaps it isn't as ridiculous as it seems.

I've made the mistake of prematurely delivering projects thinking the production FX were okay, and then getting it back saying that I didn't edit enough and they needed full coverage. So now I'm really just trying to be as detailed as possible for all of my work despite how exhausting it can be.

So I suppose my question can be phrased in two forms:

Sound editors, are you actually cutting foley from top to bottom for films? Do you see this more commonly as budgets are shrinking? How are you getting through details and staying sane doing this type of work (And getting through it efficiently)?

Supervising sound editors/re-recording mixers, how often do you get sessions with 100% cut in foley? Do you find that this is directly related to budget, or is it somehow more practical? Any advice for sound editors?

Thanks for your time and answers, I'd love to sit and chat if anyone is based in Los Angeles

  • Just to clear things up a bit: What do you mean exactly when you write 'my work is doing foley editing'? Do you record and edit foley sessions for the supervising sound editor? Or do you edit sfx as foley replacement? Because right now it sounds like you are editing a lot library sounds that are supposed to sound like foley. Am i correct? – Arnoud Traa Jan 2 '14 at 10:32
  • Sorry, to clarify I mean that I do not do the recording sessions, NOR do I edit the recorded foley sessions. I only cut in foley from a library as a replacement. – C.Bledsoejr Jan 3 '14 at 16:22
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This is a really general answer and you may get better ideas by chatting with someone in person but:

I think this is a really classical example of balancing time, effort and economics (how much are you asking for, how much are the others asking for). It's really just something that you need to balance, so that it feels good for you and others that are involved. It's not worth doing something that makes you feel unhappy/stressed/exhausted/depressed or doesn't work that well, because you could do it so that it doesn't and so that all parties are happy.

I think professionally done foley beats all editing every time. Because it's fast, it will always be natural sounding, it's human (because it comes from a human) and you get to work with other people (so it's social!) and the economics can be negotiated if you're working with good people that are willing to make their time, effort and budget meet with your needs (or even do more with less, just because they appreciate the work/project more than the money that they could make). Of course the real result will be a combination of editing and professionally done foley, but the starting point or primary choice should be foley.

  • Yeah, I think this makes the most sense to me and you're hitting the right spot. I've done a ton of pure editing on some films, and this is why I started thinking, why aren't we just sending this to a a foley stage to be recorded? I started doing this because it gave me the opportunity to worked with seasoned supervising sound editors who have their own studios but needed help. One of the guys who wants to focus on re-recording mixing acknowledges this, but we talked setting up our own foley pits or finding someone at a reasonable price so I can focus on sound design and hard FX. – C.Bledsoejr Jan 3 '14 at 16:30
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So, wait, you're using a library recording of footsteps to cut foley?

Use a sampler, it's way faster.

Cloth would be tricky, you might as well find a quiet room and do that close mic'd

For the things you can't cut foley wise, you might have to bite the bullet and record it.

  • Yes, I've been using a library to cut audio. I know people that use samplers but I've had trouble getting accustomed to using the MIDI capabilities in Pro Tools. That's probably me just needing to spend time creating my own samplers and spending a few days setting things up. I've used SignoFx and I know there's a few other libraries, but sometimes I feel that it can be appropriate to edit it manually. – C.Bledsoejr Jan 3 '14 at 16:25

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