Foley: DIY Foley Pits #3 Recording in the pits
We ended up recording two full days with the Foley pits and they worked GREAT! We left one pit empty to be able to use for floor/ wooden steps sounds while filling the other one up with gravel and sand. The project we were working on was a sound story, so no video was used.
Before I describe our process let me describe the story:
An author sits at his table writing the end of his novel. In it he describes a how a lonely farmer is lying on his deathbed, recalling his oldest friend, the scarecrow that stood watch over his field. The one thing the farmer never knew was that the scarecrow was sentient, completely aware of the farmer but unable to move or speak. Trapped in his body. The scarecrow was very fond of the farmer as the farmer would whittle little statues of the scarecrow while sitting on a plastic pale (this will be important later).
We hear the author stand up, tap his papers and grab a glass of water before moving to a different part of the house. Slowly the ambience changes and we begin to notice that the author is walking outside as a thunderstorm rolls in. All of a sudden he trips over a plastic pale, the glass goes flying out of his hand in slow motion and smashes into pieces. His papers go flying and he recovers as we hear footsteps approaching him. The author reacts in astonishment as he notices the scarecrow limping towards him. "He was my friend, and you wrote him out," the scarecrow exclaims before he takes the author's life. Its always good to have vegetables on hand for extra gory moments like this :)
We recorded almost all of the foley with the KMR 81, sometimes changing distances from the source. The voice tracks were recorded with the Fet47, which we chose over the u87 because it was more neutral sounding. Systematically we went through piece by piece, recording similar sounds, building the audio story bit by bit. Throughout the entire project, the foley pits worked admirably, allowing us to quickly swap between indoor and outdoor materials all while staying within the iso booth.
We noticed that getting good outdoor footsteps required a careful mix of stepping on both the sand and gravel to achieve the right mix. Indoor footsteps are just as difficult to replicate as they very quickly can become too similar and boring. I had to imagine where the character was walking and try to emulate different footfalls and pacing. For instance walking on stairs has a different sound and rhythm than walking on flat ground.