The Foley FX room of any sound studio is a pretty magical place, where objects that we see in our everyday lives become fodder for the sounds that make movies feel real to audiences. Sound and music can do the job of setting tone, and the lack of music especially can be poignant. We see this often in horror, where the murderer is about to claim a victim and we hear only footsteps and the killer’s breathing. Sound and music are important elements to film, and doing them right can make any indie film feel a little more professional.
Tip 1: Forget Canned Sounds
There are certain sounds, like gunfire or explosions, which are difficult to replicate with proper equipment and a soundproofed room. Sounds like a knife being sheathed, a gun getting cocked, stairs or doors creaking, footsteps on wood and liquid in a bottle are all easy to replicate in your local area. Take a high quality microphone and a recorder out with you while you location scout and try some things out. You can use editing to refine the sounds if you like, or you can leave them as is.
Tip 2: Explore Other Kinds of Sounds
In classic cinema, the sound of a fist punching someone across the face was a Foley artist slamming celery on a wooden board, or a wet towel on a wall (occasionally with a pencil inside). You have to consider what kind of sound you want, and think about ways to achieve it. Sound is all about exploration, and great Foley artists rarely reveal their secrets.