Ronald Kidd - December 3, 2021

Brains Hitting the Floor

Do you know about the movie magicians known as foley artists? They produce sound effects in some of the strangest ways.

Here's a terrific article about their work, including, among other things, how to make the sound of brains hitting the floor.

There’s another use of sound effects, not mentioned in the article, that I’ve never seen described. I learned about it years ago at Soundelux, a movie sound studio in Hollywood owned at the time by Wylie Stateman and Lon Bender, with whom I was discussing some projects.

Lon gave me a tour of the studio, and I got to watch while engineers added sound effects to a scene in Robert Redford’s beautiful film A River Runs Through It, starring Brad Pitt. Periodically the engineers would add what they called a “comment” on the action. For example, after Pitt made a humorous remark, they inserted a horse whinny to punctuate the joke. Sure enough, the line was funnier. They did this in various subtle ways throughout the film.

Watching them, I realized that, as moviegoers, we have no idea how much work goes on behind the scenes.

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