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Foley Sound Effects

This activity will see you take on the role of a foley artist, someone who makes sound effects for movies! 

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Foley is all the background sounds in movies and TV shows, like the sound of footsteps, creaking doors, eating noises and tyres on the road.

These sounds can’t be recorded while the movie is being filmed because it would pick up all the other sounds in the environment – so they have to be recorded later in a studio. A famous example is hitting two halves of a coconut together to make the sound of a walking horse, but others include rustling cellophane to sound like fire or slapping rubber gloves can sound like bird wings flapping.  

What you’ll need  

  • Objects from around your house and backyard  
  • Watch and download* the short animation: Camp Dog’s Day

*Download the video to create your own Foley Sound Effects video in software editing programs such as Adobe Premiere or iMovie. You can download the video by opening the video linked above, clicking the three dots on the bottom right and hitting ‘download’.  

Step 1  

Watch the video and find the places where the movie needs sound effects, such as Camp Dog’s phone alarm ringing or turning the keys in the car. You might even want to add sound effects like birds singing or the wind that aren’t visually shown in the video but help to make the movie come to life.  

Step 2  

Find objects from around your home and backyard that can replicate the sounds you want to make. Experiment with different materials and different ways of making noises, it can be surprising what can be used to sound like something else.  

Step 3  

When you have decided on your objects and sounds, play the video and perform your sounds to match up with the animation.  

For an extra challenge try recording your sounds and using editing software to edit your sounds with the video. 

Here’s a handy video guide from our Scitech science communicators where you can see how they tackled the challenge! 

Science behind the sounds  

Sounds are created by something vibrating. For example, on a guitar, the note is made by someone vibrating the string. The string then vibrates the air around it which creates a chain of vibrating air until it reaches your ear and you hear it as music.  

Vibrating lots of air makes a low sound, while vibrating only a little bit makes a high sound. This is because larger amounts of air vibrate slower than small amounts of air. A guitar makes a deeper sound than a ukulele for example, as there is more air inside a guitar to get vibrated compared to the faster vibrations of the smaller ukulele. 

Scitech Aboriginal Education Program Digital Challenge

The Foley Sound Effects Challenge was originally created as part of Scitech’s 2023 Aboriginal Education Program Digital Challenge, which gives access to fun and engaging STEM experiences for students in remote Western Australian communities. See what sounds the students came up with in the video below.

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