Sound Design (Foley)

In continuing a sweeping overview of various people and jobs that help make movies, today I’ve found five videos that explain and demonstrate sound design from the perspective of foley.

While Hollywood feature films will have a team working on sound design, the techniques that are shown here can be scaled down to smaller idependent productions.

P.S. One of my favorite sound design stories was a behind the scenes video or commentary on Cast Away where someone commented that they auditioned 100 photocopiers to find the right sound.

Scott W. Smith




Film Editing

“For a writer, it’s a word. For a composer or a musician, it’s a note. For an editor and a filmmaker, it’s the frames.”
Quentin Tarantino

“The sad fact was the shark [in JAWS] would only look real in 36 frames not 38 frames. And that two frame difference was between something really scary and something that looked like a great white floating turd.”
Steven Spielberg

Scott W. Smith

Jacob T. Swinney’s First and Final Frames videos show the collaboration of filmmakers. Unless it’s in the shooting script it’d be almost impossible to know in every film featured when these opening and closing shots came together to complete the arc of the story. I imagine the final results are the credit of either the screenwriters, directors, cinematographers, or editors (or some combination of those).

Scott W. Smith

In less than an hour these hand picked videos I found on the Internet give you a sweeping overview of sound recording (mostly from the perspective of boom operating) for film & Tv—as well as webisodes, and video production in general. And, of course, it covers one of the most iconic pieces of equipment found on an set—the boom mic set-up which normally consists of a shotgun mic, boom pole, shock mount, windscreen/windshield, and an XLR cord or plug-on wireless transmitter.

And few things are as recognizable on a set as a boom operator with headphones on a set holding the boom set-up in the air. It’s a hard job— even when the boom poles these days are lightweight carbon fiber—and a learned skill. And on electronic news gathering (ENG), documentary, short films, corporate work, and low-budget features the audio person is often working solo meaning they are working the mixer as well as operating the boom.

It’s work that’s tough on the arms, hard on back, all for the sake of making the sound sweet to the ears. Hug a sound guy or gal today.

Scott W. Smith

In keeping with Sydney Lumet’s quote that “moviemaking works very much like an orchestra” today’s post is a video that looks a little more into cinematography. Beyond having an appreciation for those that help translate screenplays into visual images, this video will help you think cinematically.

With an army of film schools grads, others workshops trained,  and perhaps even more self-taught all over the world—with their own cameras—teaming up with one of them is a great way to get your  words turned into short films, websiodes, and features.

Everyone aspires to do better work so keep an eye out for a cinematographer who has honed his or her craft working on award-winning corporate videos and commercials but would love to team up with someone like you to mix up their reel and help them move into more narrative work.

P.S. And for good measure here’s look at a few more lights and shadows by cinematographer Roger Deakins.

Related post:
10 Cinematography Tips by Roger Deakins

Scott W. Smith

Here’s an overview of cinematography by RocketJump’s Creative Director Mike Symonds:

Scott W. Smith


“All of the individual contributions from all the different departments add up to a total far greater than their individual parts. Moviemaking works very much like an orchestra: the addition of various harmonies can change, enlarge, and clarify the nature of the theme.”
Director Sidney Lumet (The Verdict)

My last post was a quote by Sidney Lumet about how all of the film departments ideally come together to make something greater “than their individual parts.” So I thought I’d take some time in the coming days to find some excellent examples that show what various department on film & Tv sets bring to the production world.

Here’s a video by Soundworks Collection of sound mixer Nick Allen whose credits as a boom operator turned sound mixer include The Insider, West Wing, Parenthood, and Chicago Med:

Scott W. Smith


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