I’m always surprised to see professionally produced videos which lack some of the basics – off camera audio, steady camera and good lighting, just to name a few. One of the things that is often overlooked is the importance of adding additional sound effects – Foley. Foley can be the difference between a believable scene and one that leaves the viewer with the feeling that something was missing. The next time you see a movie with a couple talking in a coffee shop listen to the background audio. If it’s done well, you’ll hear things like cars from the street, a distant bell of the door opening, dishes clinking, a cash register, the murmur of people speaking, footsteps as someone walks by, a laugh … the possibilities are endless. While this may sound like a lot, adding these effects gives realism to a scene. Most likely the scene was shot with all the background actors miming conversation, but actually being silent. The only folks doing any talking are the actors the camera is focused on.
It’s not just movie scenes that need sound effects. Even in commercials and industrial videos sound effects can be crucial. And often it’s the little things the viewer doesn’t notice (and a good sound effect is something you don’t notice, but enhances it anyway … like the description above with something as subtle as dishes clanking). Like when a graphic zips across the screen and there’s a slight swoosh that follows it; or as letters are being etched into the side of a brick building, hearing the destruction of the brick as the letters materialize.
In 2012, we created some videos for our client Crisp Catering with an introduction that had photos / graphics spinning, stopping and bouncing, and then spinning again. While the effect by itself is pretty cool, adding sound effects really made it pop. Here’s a real short video (1:30) that demonstrates the difference between adding sound effects and not adding them, using the spinning graphic example.
So when creating a video, don’t forget the little things like background noise.
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