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Foley: DIY Foley Pits #1

Updated: Feb 28, 2020

What do you do when you have a feature length film foley project, but limited budget and access to only a small iso booth? You make dedicated foley pits!

The name of the game is efficiency. We are going to have a 9 by 8 foot iso to work in so we had to design boxes that are both large enough to work in but also small enough to fit a couple next to each other. We decided to create 2 wooden 3'x3' square boxes which will have fabric liners around the inside muffling unwanted sounds. The liners will also allow us to quickly clean up the boxes to replace one material for the next.

The boxes are made from 2x4's forming a 3'x3' frame and some 3/4" thick plyboard screwed to the bottom. We also used 3/8" thick weather stripping between the plyboard and frame to reduce the sound of creaking.

The process itself was pretty easy, once we got all of the pieces we need. Let's put it this way, we are by no means contractors, but this is a simple enough project that really anyone with a screw gun should be able to accomplish it.

Begin by constructing the frames. You should have two 3' 2x4s (long) and two 2'9" (short) 2x4s per frame. Screw one long to one short with 3" outdoor wood screws, making sure to keep the short 2x4s on the inside of the longer ones, or else you will get an oblong box.

Once the frames are made, cover one side of the frame with the weather stripping. Then lay the 3/4" plyboard down and screw three 2" outdoor wood screws from the plyboard into the 2x4s on each side of the frame. Be careful not to screw into the corners where you risk hitting the screws you have already placed in for the frame

We used a drill bit a little thinner than the circumference of the screws to start each hole. This prevented the wood from cracking and insured the screw would be guided straight in.

Once built, we took out our Neumann KMR 81i and tested out how it sounded to walk using the pits right-side-up and then up-side-down. What we found was that there were no creaking noises and the plywood sounded rigid, more like a hardwood floor.

One difficulty we had was due to the limitations in size as there isn't a ton of space to walk in. But for normal foley walking sounds and rustling these should be perfect for the upcoming project.

Next step is to set the canvas material in, add some dirt, sticks, and crunchy material and test in the iso!

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