Time to update the Foley File?

With reference to the article How do they make “punch” sounds in movies?, I would like to suggest that it’s time for an update. While I have never been involved in Hollywood Foley, I have played a bit with sound effects for semi-pro video, and I suspect today’s Foley artists use computer storage for sounds and computer gadgets to insert them to a movie soundtrack. I can’t imagine a person live-slapping a dead, wet chicken if the sound is already in the computer library at the punch of a button or can be clicked into a spot on a software timeline.

Any modern Foley-ists out there?

I was hoping to find a response to this by now…

I don’t have any professional insight into this and I suspect that using and reusing computer files loses some quality over time and that it’s worth it to keep using foley.

In the work I’ve done with video (very amateur) the main issue I noticed was that frequently used sounds began to all sound the same… because they were. Even laugh tracks — which as I understand them are mixed by a person watching a show in post-production — begin to sound too much alike.

I also suspect that it is worth the time and money to create sounds that work with a certain scene rather than spend that same time and money looking through archives looking for just the right sound.

More of a bump than an insightful, educated post, but it’s Monday.

A computer file does not degrade with use.

No, but ultimately one is using a copy of a copy unless you’ve created the file yourself. If you’ve created the file yourself, then you’re a foley artist.

If the files are digital, there are no problems with using a copy of a copy of a copy, etc. Granted, you would want many different versions of say, a punch landing, to keep it from sounding repetitive like you stated.

NPR ran a story on modern foley artists in 2007: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7400850

Unless a copying mistake is made, digital files do not degrade over multiple copies. This is not true of analog copies.

I guess we’d have to ask a Foley artist to be sure. But if the concept is to replace or augment sounds already on the soundtrack to match screen action, I don’t see why the definition would change if the sound F/X dude punches a bag or punches a button to play the sound of punching a bag. No one in the theater audience can tell the difference.

Either way, it’s Foley, AFAIK. With all-digital sounds, all you need is a computer on a desk. With traditional sound F/X, you need a big pile of miscellaneous equipment, a sound studio and some space to dance around in. Digital sounds easier to me.