Giovanni Tria’s Sound Design and the use of Foley Workshop 

Giovanni Tria’s Sound Design and the use of Foley Workshop 

at Sutton Film Makers Club

 By Charlie Hall – Musician, Medium, Paranormal Writer and Researcher

Being a musician, writer and former performing artist myself, I was keen to attend Composer Giovanni Tria’s Sound Design and Foley Workshop to learn the techniques of creating film sound.

He started by emphasising the importance of sound in a film or programme, as it aids the story telling process, sets the pace and mood of a scene and adds realism. It stimulates the audience and their imaginations, gripping them through the power of association, inducing various emotions that make people feel immersed in the performance. 

This was for me, very much apparent in a video snippet shown to us, of a documentary he had worked on in the city with a performing artist. I became conscious of the hustle and bustle in the London location upon hearing the busy traffic sounds he added, then felt empathy with the persons loneliness, during the sombre, solo pipe tune that played under the subject’s voice over. Physical responses can also be evoked with sound, especially when mixed in a flow, to accent dramatic, loud and quiet parts.

The three main components of film sound are voice, sound effects and music, all of which as Giovanni explained need movement, interactive elements and air to exist, as sound cannot travel without air. Most film and tv audio is reproduced, custom, studio sound effects known as Foley. Artists perform the sounds such as footsteps, doors closing and horses galloping, with numerous props in synch with the visual scenes.

We were shown a clip of this in action, it was so interesting seeing and hearing how the sounds are made. I didn’t realise how much was replaced with these Foley recreations, something as simple as snapping a piece of celery sounded like a bone breaking, or using gloves for a bird’s wings flapping, it all enhances the overall sensory experience. 

The time period and location can also be determined, along with the sense of size and space. Giovanni showed us examples of this through the Logic audio editing and recording software that he uses to create and manipulate the sounds. We heard a sample of a door opening and closing, the normal version sounded like a light, wooden door to a small room, by adding reverb and lengthening the sample section, it then became an old, heavy wooden door in a large room or hall, it was very clever. 

He talked about the method of layering by combining different samples and files to become more complex sounds. Being a horror fan, this made me think of the possessed girls voice in the original Exorcist film, her nasty guttural, squealy tone was layered with several sounds including animals in a slaughterhouse. It was no wonder that it freaked the hell out of me and many others but proved therefore that this technique achieve the desired scary effect of unnerving people out of their comfort zone.

Sound is an integral part of film making, it can elevate a piece, adding value and depth so, ‘’Make use of the enormous power of sound, in all its shapes and forms’’ – Giovanni Tria.

I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and learned a lot; I really hope that I get the opportunity to try these exciting new skills out in the future and look forward to Part 2 of Giovanni’s Workshop which is on the 6th of February 2024. 

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