FOLEY TECHNIQUE - Footsteps Recording and Editing part 1: walk
Before any recording session you need to plan it. This included making an asset list with all the sounds you need to record. This prevent oversight that would be a loss of time in your project. This is also a good way to be organized and work efficiently. During recording it is also great to use it as a checklist to be sure you recorded everything.
Here is the one I made from a template:
For this exercise I needed to record footsteps with Foley technique at Abertay recording studio then edit them to be later on able to implement them in the audio middleware Wwise during the tutorial course. I used my own microphones for the recordings:
- T. Bone EM9900 - hypercardioid shotgun microphone
- T.Bone SC140 - cardioid pencil microphone
- T.Bone SC400 - supercardioid vocal microphone
3 different polar patterns were used, including 2 very similar (the hypercardioid & supercardioid), to get different type and quality of sound to have the option to mix and blend them together during the editing process.
The microphone were plugged on the wall of the live room to the preamp mic in the aim to connect them at the console in the studio room. They were placed front of the box or person doing the footsteps. The audio was recorded though the Digital Audio Workstation Protools.
For this recording session I recorded only one intention for footsteps which was "walk", on 5 different surfaces: concrete, grass, metal, wood, gravel. Just before recording, I did check and adjust microphones levels. Then, I did record each for 1 minute to get enough audio material for editing. As well the footsteps must have been produced carefully by the person doing them because they needed a very short pause without sound between the heel and toe and also sounds natural.
During gravel recording, I noticed the vocal microphone had a "boomy" sound and a flutter echo. Maybe it was due to the box and the shape and material composing the room too. To avoid these problems, next time I will put the acoustics panels on the back and sides of the box.
the five surfaces recordings before editing
The editing was done on Protools at my home studio. I did select first the footsteps with the best audio quality. Then as require for ou tutorial. I did separate heel and toes part thank to the little silence produced by the person walking.
This method called concatenation, will allow a lot of flexibility and variations of footsteps sounds in wwise without using too much memory.
Also, equalizers were applied on each microphone to remove the unwanted frequencies such as high pass filter ( around 40 or 50 Hz) or to cut some precise frequencies by applying notch filters, depending on the way each microphone react more or less well to certain frequencies.
When you are finished and bounce each audio clip you have to name them properly using for instance the material name, type of character, part of the body, etc. As well you need to organise them in different folders to find them easily in your sound library.