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I'm recording foley this week, and a lot of the scenes are on ice.... has anyone recorded icy/frosty footsteps before, and has any recommendations on how to get the right sound? Would you recommend using actual ice? I've been asked to get them to sound 'frosty', not snowy....

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For 30 Days of Night we tended to have three layers for each foostep

  • foley performed on rock salt (for sync performance & charterful feel)
  • foley performed on rock salt that had been wet & let dry so it had a crust (ditto)
  • actual field recordings of footsteps & movement on ice & various depths of snow

The foley editor first cut the two foley layers for sync, then added material from the field recordings...

  • Cool; thanks for this Tim - liking the idea of the crusty rock salt. – Noiseboy Nov 7 '10 at 9:43
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For creating footsteps, I heard that sand in a little nylon back works quite well? Or rock salt, that too. Never actually done it myself though. Frank Bry from http://www.therecordist.com/ has done a lot of snow/ice recording, hopefully he'll chime in here.

  • Hey Joe, thanks for the answer! Rock salt/cornflower/custard powder is all good for snow, but i'm thinking more of the ice, which wont have that crunch! its a tricky one.... – Noiseboy Nov 7 '10 at 0:10
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Umm, how about getting some shaved ice from your local ice company???

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Don't know where you are, but the last time I needed that, I bundled up and braved sub zero (about -25 C or -13 F) temps to actually record them... Could be tricky if you're in warmer climes... It's true that REALLY cold snow/ice has a very different sound from the warmer stuff. Maybe you have a local skating rink you could use for a couple of hours? Should have lots of snow there too from the Zamboni.

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Never forget the classic Foley artist trick of using cornstarch...not the end-all-be-all, but a great layer or starting point, depending on the apparent snow quality in the picture.

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