Elemental Film Sound Design Asbjoern Andersen


The Foley team on Disney and Pixar’s latest feature film Elemental – now available on demand – had the complex task of not only creating Foley for animated characters, but animated characters who were based on the elemental properties of fire, water, air, and earth. Here, Foley artists Shelley Roden and Heikki Kossi and Foley mixer Scott Curtis at Skywalker Sound talk about the process of discover for element-based characters, how they created a huge variety of unique water-based sounds, what went into the Foley for Ember's ability to create glass objects large and small, how they communicate emotion through Foley, how they fit their Foley with effects and music, and so much more!
Interview by Jennifer Walden, photos courtesy of Disney/Pixar; Shelley Roden; Heikki Kossi; Scott Curtis
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Disney and Pixar films always have a strong emotional component to their stories, and getting the audience to connect with those animated characters is definitely their specialty. For their latest feature film Elemental, each character is based on an element: fire, water, air, or earth. So getting the audience to relate to something so abstract was tricky. One way to help achieve that connection is through the Foley performance. Since Foley sounds are ‘personal’ (i.e., unique sounds that each character make, like footsteps and movements), the Foley artist can impart personality and emotion into their performance, and help the audience to understand a character based on those non-verbal cues.

Discovering what an element-based character sounds like took a bit of exploration by the Foley team at Skywalker Sound. MPSE Award-winning Foley artists Shelley Roden and Heikki Kossi, and CAS Award-winning Foley mixer Scott Curtis did a day of R&D to explore some options to present to sound supervisors Ren Klyce and Coya Elliot. What do footsteps for fire people sound like? How do you express water inside a water person versus water outside their body? Do air people even make a sound?

Here, they talk about finding the right sounds to define the different Elemental characters, how they were able to impart emotion into their performances, what mics worked best for capturing the water and glass sounds, how they approached complex scenes like Ember’s visit to Wade’s family, and so much more. And since this was Kossi’s first feature film with Roden and Curtis, they talk about what it was like to work as a Foley team, and how this experience has helped them to grow at their craft and as a group.



Elemental | Official Trailer


Elemental | Official Trailer

Shelley and Scott, this is Heikki’s first feature film working with you both. How did this meeting of minds come about, and what was the experience like working on Elemental together?

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Foley Artist Shelley Roden

Shelley Roden (SR): Our friend, Sound Designer Tim Nielsen, is the mastermind who brought us all together. After Tim worked with Foley artist John Roesch, Scott, and me on Moana and Dark Crystal: The Age of Resistance, and then with Heikki on The Little Prince, he thought that Heikki and I would mesh very well together. So a few years ago, Heikki came to Skywalker to work with Tim on Minions and Tim made sure that Heikki and I had the chance to work together for a few days. Right away, it felt very positive. We seemed to inspire each other, and I felt our energy was well matched.

As I learned while working with John and other artists, when two Foley partners approach things differently, it makes for a more interesting process. It challenges us to get out of our usual modes of thinking and it expands the palette of sounds that come off our stage. I appreciate that Skywalker was on board with the idea of Heikki joining our team.

Heikki Kossi (HK): Elemental was such a great project to start with.

SR: It was a creatively challenging project to kick off together. Scott and I have been fortunate to work with sound supervisors Ren Klyce and Coya Elliott on several projects before, so the workflow between our stage and sound editorial had already been established. Our new team could really just focus on creating sounds for the fire, water, earth, and air characters.

 

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Can you talk about creating Foley for characters that are ‘elemental’? What were some initial thoughts on how to approach this concept from a Foley standpoint?

HK: A very big question from the very beginning was how much do we want to hear each element for each character when they are touching things, walking, or for their body movement. Do we want to hear natural hand touches and that kind of thing? Or do we want to have layers all the time that describe the characteristics of a water person or fire person touching something? I was a bit of a pain in the ass about this, asking the supervisors several times if they were looking for a natural sound or something else? And quite often the answer was just a natural sound.

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Foley Artist Heikki Kossi

 
We did a lot of different layers; we weren’t satisfied with just one or two sounds. I noticed that in the final mix, you can’t hear much of the natural hand and body touches. You hear more of the elements — water or fire or earth.

The supervisor gave us a lot of leeway in the spotting. That was part of the nature of this project, for us to put these elements together, melt them together, and make them mesh with each other. Everybody was inspired by the concept and curious about how this would work when we started creating the sounds. We realized that we’d need more than one layer for each sound.

Scott Curtis (SC): The Elemental project, in general, required so much more experimentation to figure out what layers we’d need to make it work. We started with a natural approach to see how it plays, and then presented that to Ren and Coya to get their feedback. We’d make any adjustments based on the feedback and then move on. That was the process. Every project has a certain amount of collaboration; it’s just that Elemental required so much more than usual.

Thankfully having worked on many projects with Ren and Coya, that collaborative process was fun and efficient.

HK: It was so nice to have this first project at Skywalker. We had an R&D day (one day for testing ideas for crucial elements) since the supervisors were not sure how to approach things like Ember’s feet and other fire Foley sounds. It was so great to have that one day just to experiment. We worked on a couple of moments and had a listen with the supervisors. We had a really creative talk. That’s typically not possible with the schedules or the budget for every movie, but in an ideal world, that’s definitely how we should work.

Every project has a certain amount of collaboration; it’s just that ‘Elemental’ required so much more than usual.

SR: Ren, Coya, and Director Peter Sohn discussed how the characters are so abstract – they are animated effects – and how Foley could help connect the characters to their environment. They decided to have the fire characters sound like they are wearing shoes. If you look at Ember’s feet, they are two flames that come to a point. I used that visual as a guide and thought about who she was becoming over the course of the story – powerful, passionate, and determined. I walked her in an edgy flat with the idea that her physical expressions would have these qualities. It is incredible how well the idea of the fire people wearing shoes worked.

HK: Ember’s feet are a really good example of how Foley and effects can work together to make it feel more natural. Shelley did really well at picking a feeling for what we can see. But I noticed that they cut some flames to the feet, so we were able to play around with what comes through with other sounds. Sometimes they want to just give an impression of movement under an intimate, quiet scene but then sometimes we also have the fire sounds. Again, it was a way to tell how fire is present.

 

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Foley creates a connection between the characters and the audience. It’s what brings you closer to these characters. That’s so important in animation so that the characters don’t feel abstract and unrelatable. You want to have an emotional connection with these characters. So, in addition to portraying the abstract and elemental qualities of the characters in Elemental, you also had to make their emotion translate through your Foley work. How do you do that? How do you make it feel emotional?

SC: EQ. It’s all about the EQ.

HK: Yes, Scott has this emotional EQ plugin. He’s the only one using it.

SC: I have a sad button, a happy button.

HK: No, just kidding. It’s about creating a sense of realism. The most important part is the performance. It’s how we perform the sounds, how we perform the characters. I believe that performance is more important than finding the exact right sound. If the performance is what it should be, then you don’t think about the sound anymore; you just buy it.

…we need to be emotionally moved by what we see and what we are working with…

So what makes a good performance? That’s a good question. It’s about time — how much time you have to go inside the story, how much time you have to do some pre-work. That’s one of the benefits of having a partner on the Foley team. When Shelley’s doing cues, I can check out my cues and go deeper to find the small details to add to that cue. And the same goes for Shelley. When I’m working, Shelley is doing the same. That’s one way to improve performance.

It’s hard to say what makes that emotional part so emotional. I’ve often said that we need to be emotionally moved by what we see and what we are working with, because if we don’t feel the emotion then nobody is going to feel the emotion. It sounds cliche but I believe it’s true.

Simultaneously, I listened, evaluating my performance to make sure the sounds spoke for these feelings.

SR: I don’t think it sounds cliche to feel the emotion. In every performance, we have an opportunity to communicate what the character might be thinking or feeling. For example, in the scene when Ember is walking underneath the elevated train as the water is pouring down over the sides and all around her, a change has come over her. Suddenly she feels at ease about the presence of that water. This represents how she is beginning to feel inside when she is around the water that is Wade. When I walked her footsteps, I watched her facial expressions and fell into her relaxed, blissful movements while bringing up these feelings in me. Simultaneously, I listened, evaluating my performance to make sure the sounds spoke for these feelings. My hope is that the focused intention of my performance translates and that the audience connects with it.

 

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What do movements for fire people sound like? How did you create the Foley for their movement sounds?

SR: We were asked to do a version of “fire cloth” to augment the fire characters’ movements, so we experimented on that R&D day with a lot of different tools. The best solution turned out to be simple rather than complex. Heikki ended up pulling from his collection of props for the fire cloth movement.

HK: We ended up just using an old tattered shirt that I was flapping around.

In the beginning, we were struggling a little bit to find the right kind of sound. Then they did the first pre-dubs for the first reel and that was really helpful to hear. By the end of the project, they asked us to do the fire movement for all the reels.

By the end of the project, they asked us to do the fire movement for all the reels.

For the biggest movements, they had effects, but then they had this layer of cloth movement that sounded like flames moving, that matched Ember’s movements and the fire people’s movements. So they were able to play around with effects and the Foley layers we did. It’s a good example of what Shelley was saying, about how effects and Foley worked together.

Getting it to sound right with the picture is always my job.

We tried some contact microphones for the movements, for instance when Ember breaks the glass, chews the pieces, melts it back into liquid, and forms it back into a sheet of glass. I think they used a small piece of the contact microphone recording for that.

SC: On my side, I made sure proximity to the mic was right, and that the sound wasn’t buffeting during the recording. Between compression and EQ, I tried to get the sounds to sit right with the picture after the fact. Getting it to sound right with the picture is always my job. I take what I get and help it to fit the image on-screen.

 

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How about the character movement sounds for Wade and the water folk? There’s so much water in this film…

HK: That was a challenge, especially for his feet. I was changing my method for how I did Wade’s feet every reel. I was using a really wet, splashy rag and this rubbery hot water bottle to make his feet. Later, I stopped using the hot water bottle because it was making rubber squeaks. So in the last reels, I was making the splashes for his feet in a small puddle.

Then, we have water inside Wade’s body and outside his body, like when he’s sweating. We have him moving in water and that needed to sound different from the water sounds happening inside his body. So, it was definitely a team effort.

I was changing my method for how I did Wade’s feet every reel.

We were using a hydrophone (a Sound Fish ASF-1 MKII Hydrophone from Ambient Recording) for some of the sounds, and Scott was helping with EQ. As a team, we were conscious of the needed perspective. We had many extra requests for Wade’s water movements in water. And they used everything.

Emotion-wise, I really felt the part when Wade when reforming himself from the water drips from the ceiling in Ember’s shop near the end. Those sounds were really delicate.

It was fun doing the water Foley, trying to get the difference between Wade’s interior water sounds…versus…his movement through the water.

SC: It was fun doing the water Foley, trying to get the difference between Wade’s interior water sounds – like when he’s raising his arms – versus when he’s in water and still getting the sense of his movement as water and his movement through the water. There were some really great, challenging yet fun situations we had to find solutions for.

HK: I remember that Shelley used an air compressor to create bubbles for when Wade eats the Kolnuts (coal nuts) and these huge bubbles rise up inside his body and float out of his mouth.

SR: All those moments you guys mentioned came out great. It was a blast to create all these layered sounds together.

 

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There was that fun scene when Wade invited Ember to his family’s home for dinner, and the apartment is full of water (it’s like a swimming pool) and there are multiple water people there, and Ember is floating on a chair. You must have had a field day with that scene!

HK: There were some many unique water sounds, so that was a challenging scene. There was so much movement in water and so many water people, which all needed movement sounds. Their feet were particularly challenging because you have the water movement sounds inside each character and then their feet moving through the water. That was a tricky scene. We went sound by sound, cue by cue, and all the time thinking about what the perspective is and which particular sound I’m doing now.

SC: We had to keep things in context. I remember the pool toys and their chair squeaks. It was great.

 

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In addition to using the hydrophone, what mics did you use above the water? What mics worked best to capture the water sounds?

SC: It was mostly the Neumann KMR 81 and we had an AKG 414 hung as well, and my go-to, a Sennheiser MHK 800. Those are my three mains. We didn’t use any other fancy mics, like ribbons. I was just capturing the surface sounds or using the hydrophone to sweeten some of the sounds or for the internal water sounds.

So it was a combination of mics, or isolating one and only using that and pitching the heck out of it. It all depended on the source sound I was getting and then determining what to do to the sound to make it fit what we were seeing on screen.

 

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Did the air people have Foley sounds? They play “Air Ball” in the arena; did you do Foley for that scene?

SR: We attempted to do Foley for the air people. On the R&D day, we gave a bunch of samples of whooshes and we experimented with the contact mic. I’m not sure if they used much of that in the final mix, but it was a fun process.

SC: We had done some Foley for the “Air Ball” game…

We also did some sounds for the air people’s jet plane in the beginning, for when they were establishing Elemental City.

HK: …we did some accents for the gameplay, like when the air people pass through one another, and I think they used some of our sounds. Of course, we did Foley for Wade and Ember entering the stands in the arena.

We also did some sounds for the air people’s jet plane in the beginning, for when they were establishing Elemental City.

SR: Oh yes, we deflated that Zeppelin. That was a playful tag-team effort with Heikki and me creating four layers for that. We were all cracking up the whole time.

HK: But most of the sounds for the air people were made by effects.

 

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The earth people were probably the easiest for Foley. How did you handle their sounds?

SR: There are so many variables in Foley that it is never easy, but we did arrive more quickly at a sound for the earth people. We performed footsteps and several variations of leafy branch movements for the trees walking down the ship’s plank to the port of Element city.

There are so many variables in Foley that it is never easy…

The tree trunk footsteps didn’t require a separate heel-toe sound, so Heikki and I would experiment with manipulating gloves or objects or shoes against cement – whichever tones best suited the visual – and we added texture between the tool we were manipulating and the surface to sell the tree bark quality. The surface area and the weight of their feet were important to convey and Scott helped us to achieve that.

 


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Elemental_sound-03

There’s a great scene in which Ember loses her temper in the store, explodes, and breaks the display window glass. So she eats the glass, heats it up, and blows the molten glass into a new window. How did you handle this scene for Foley?

HK: There were a couple of hero scenes for Ember, with her reshaping glass, like when Ember creates the glass wall from the bags of sand, and when she’s visiting Wade’s home and she creates that vase.

When I was a teenager, I was working at a glass company as a summer job and I worked next to this huge oven (kiln) where they melt normal glass down and change it into tempered glass. So, it was the same process of turning glass back into a liquid and reshaping it. That was an experience I could draw on when working on this film.

I was using a brillo pad against the contact mic, and also coals and pine cones to make that crispy, crackly sound.

So, we had to start with normal glass, and then have a sound for the liquid, and then it reforming back into glass. Scott set up a contact mic so we could capture a crackling sound. In reality, there isn’t a sound for glass hardening from a liquid into a solid, but in our world, it has a sound, of course. So I was using a brillo pad against the contact mic, and also coals and pine cones to make that crispy, crackly sound.

For building the glass wall, we created the flame movements, and then this goopy sound for the liquid glass flowing and forming the wall. There were several layers and Scott did quite a lot of editing while we were recording because we needed to make sure the different aspects of this transformation and the different layers of that could cross-fade into each other to create a seamless sound that represented what was happening on-screen.

It’s always important for the Foley editor to have an idea of what elements we need to create in order to make a transformation sound work. There are so many unique layers that went into this one sound and we spent a lot of time building the Foley sound for that glass wall.

SC: There were so many multiple layers for this sound. We would do the liquid glass framework and then coming out of that we’d do the sound for the glass crystalizing and hardening. We had to get a sense of that movement and shape. Then the icing on the cake is playing it all back to see if the layers are working well together.

We had to get a sense of that movement and shape.

When Ember is in the shop reforming the broken display glass, she does this blowing action where she turns the glass into liquid. Heikki did this really cool blowing sound that was slightly hollow yet had a glass resonance. It just fits so well.

Working on sounds like this is so fun for me because I get to take what Shelley and Heikki give me and simply present it. And sometimes their creativity can inspire me to do other things with their sounds.

HK: There were many moments in this film where – looking at the Pro Tools timeline – there’s only one cue but there are many aspects of the Foley we need to perform and Scott needs to edit to create that one sound.

Strategic cueing is so essential.

SR: Coya gave us so much freedom to create as many layers as we needed for each moment.

HK: She made a lot of good decisions, giving us the time and space to do these types of sounds and to concentrate on these types of cues, and not cueing something really simple that they knew they didn’t need – maybe there were a lot of effects or driving music in that moment and they wouldn’t need Foley. So we always try to avoid doing Foley for moments they might not need.

SR: Strategic cueing is so essential. I like to think of Foley cueing as music orchestration. How will each cue serve the story and how will each cue play in context with everything else?

 

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There’s a lovely scene in which Ember dances across the tops of the minerals in the park and she changes color. Was this a Foley moment? Or effects? Or music? It was so beautiful! What went into that sound?

SR: I’ve had some great experiences using Foley props to improvise with guitar players, bass players, and sound artists. So when an opportunity presents itself to play props musically to serve the story or to support the musical score, I will jump on it.

…when an opportunity presents itself to play props musically to serve the story or to support the musical score, I will jump on it.

For this scene, I simply hit several pieces of crystal glassware against cement as hard as I could without breaking them. For each of the crystals that Ember jumped on, I chose a different glass tone and then Scott re-arranged them in an order that we felt sounded best musically and that seemed to match the size of each crystal. Ren told us he loved the attack of the recordings we provided. He ended up pitching each crystal ping for each step to match the final music. Scott and I also added a layer of Ember’s shoes landing on a nebulous tacky surface. So the final mix is a blend of both Foley and music.

 

Elemental_sound-06

What was your favorite scene for Foley? Why? What went into the Foley for that scene?

SC: There are so many scenes, and we talked about a few of them. The big glass wall build was fun. Ember jumping onto the crystals scene, and the vase transformation scene are two more. Wade walking around in water and his stomach bubble were also fun.

…we added the sound of the piece of coal trembling on the spoon as Wade slowly raised it to his mouth.

SR: One of my favorite scenes was when Wade claims to be a food inspector and he is challenged by Ember’s father to eat those spicy Kolnuts (coal nuts). I wanted the feeling of Wade’s reluctance to eat the Kolnuts to be heard, so we added the sound of the piece of coal trembling on the spoon as Wade slowly raised it to his mouth. On a separate track, we recorded a sizzling sound as the coal dropped into Wade’s mouth.

Then we plunged the hydrophone into a basin of water and I held an air compressor nozzle underwater against my hand to perform the sound of the Kolnut drifting down into his body.

…when we switched over to the hydrophone, I used one ear to listen through headphones so I could understand how my performance was being picked up by the mic.

On the stage itself, we do not usually use headphones to listen to what is being recorded live, but when we switched over to the hydrophone, I used one ear to listen through headphones so I could understand how my performance was being picked up by the mic.

Scott had a great suggestion to have the sound of the bubbles gradually shift to a lower pitch as the Kolnut rolled down into Wade’s body, so I performed it like that. When the Kolnut bottomed out in Wade’s stomach and a gas bubble formed inside his head, I used the air compressor nozzle to blow up a latex balloon under the water. Using the hydrophone helped the sounds feel more internal.

HK: One of the most emotional moments was when Wade is stuck in the room with Ember after the house collapses and the temperature rises and he evaporates. A little bit later he comes back, starting as water droplets. In the film, the music stops so the audience can really hear the Foley work. As Shelley said earlier – about performing with feeling as she did for Ember’s feet – there was a lot of feeling in this moment with Wade and throughout the film. When you do it right as you perform the sound, you can feel it immediately. It doesn’t matter if it’s an emotional moment or it’s just something happening in the background.

When Wade was stuck in the water pipes, Heikki and Scott created some great pipe rattling and internal clanking sounds…

All those scenes in the basement of Ember’s house/shop, I liked those scenes also. There were so many different textures of clanking.

SR: When Wade was stuck in the water pipes, Heikki and Scott created some great pipe rattling and internal clanking sounds which were some of my favorite sounds that made it into the final mix.

The three of us create all these sounds knowing they might never make it into the final film, never to be heard or felt by the audience, but the experience of making them is so wonderful that it feels good giving them away.

HK: That’s part of the process.

SC: You have to release your doves and let them fly away into the wild, if they come back to you then you’ll know … .wait, I don’t think that’s the right metaphor.

Seriously though, you can’t get attached to it because there can be many different reasons why a cue or element is played or not.

 

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What was the most challenging scene for Foley? Why? What went into it?

SR: (Spoiler Alert) The most challenging scene for me in terms of emotion was when Ember and Wade finally touched. It made sense to just grab my clothes iron from home and experiment with it a little bit. What object will I use to press against it to create steam? How do I hold it there for a whole minute without burning my hand? How do I give it variation to help it sound like more than just a press? There’s a moment when they’re holding each other and they grab each other’s hands – it’s so beautiful.

It’s all about ratios and balancing the intensity of the objects and the surfaces they are interacting with.

You don’t really think about how you’re going to make it work when you’re performing. You just rely on your instincts and grab an arsenal of tools that might work and then you perform it to picture. If it works it works. If it doesn’t, then you tweak it just a little bit. It’s all about ratios and balancing the intensity of the objects and the surfaces they are interacting with. The tools I pressed against the iron included a variety of sponges, pot holders, and gloves that swam nearby in a bucket of water.

For this moment, I wanted to hear the articulation of the fingers as they wrapped around each other, building from a gentle, singular “one, two” to a “three,” using more surface area as their palms touched and the steam intensified. As Heikki was saying, if you feel it then you know someone else might feel it too.

SC: The air people were challenging.

HK: We lost that game.

SR: When we tried the obvious method of creating air, Ren would say he could hear our mouths on the recordings (laughing).

SC: Or, it sounds like you’re rubbing the microphone or you’re blowing across it.

SR: It’s good to fail.

Foley helps effects and effects help Foley; it’s a collaboration.

HK: And part of the process is the supervisors thinking, “Do we need a sound for that?” When we had a meeting with Coya and Ren after our R&D day, that’s what we were thinking about – is there a sound needed? We have four elements in the film, and it’s a cool decision they made that air people don’t have that much sound.

SR: It’s a bold decision to choose not to have a sound. Pixar animated these incredible cloud faces and fire faces in a way that you immediately feel a connection with these beings. You don’t need a sound to justify each movement or action. Also, what is Foley and what are sound effects? What is music? These are boundary lines that we all continue to cross.

HK: It’s an interesting subject because some people think that when Foley is done for a film, if it’s used in another film then it’s effects. Because Foley is an element that’s customized for a specific film. Used in a different film, that Foley now becomes effects. Foley helps effects and effects help Foley; it’s a collaboration.

 

Elemental_sound-02

Scott, what were some things you did differently in recording and mixing the Foley on Elemental?

SC: Using that hydrophone was interesting. It sounded better if I rolled off certain frequencies, depending on the scene. The hydrophone is a bit difficult because I’m in my room and I don’t see or understand how they’re manipulating the sound source we’re recording, if they’re blowing compressed air across the hydrophone, or if they’re moving the mic itself, or they’re moving water onto the mic. So I just listen and, based on what I’m hearing, I’ll ask for a little less of this or more of that, or maybe change the orientation of the mic.

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Foley Mixer Scott Curtis

This was the first time I used the AKG 414 on a Foley session. Heikki had brought his from Finland; it’s one that he used on his stage and it did the job.

SR: It was cool to compare that to the MKH 800. We could hear subtle differences.

SC: I still like my 800 but it’s nice to have options just because the recording from one mic may sweeten and help another. I don’t do a lot of dual-main mic recordings so I wouldn’t necessarily record the 414 and 800 at the same time in hopes that I can combine the two. If there’s a compelling circumstance where I would maybe want to try to do that, I would either have to time-align them or maybe use one as a distant perspective or put a low-pass filter on one of them creating a low-end sweetener to mix with the other mic.

SR: Another fun thing we did in Elemental was for Cinder (Ember’s mother). She’s trying to get past the security guard to enter Wade’s building. She was darting back and forth in front of the security guard so fast that my real-time footstep performance could not match the feeling we wanted to capture. We decided to record at half-speed, allowing me to perform each footstep with a strong and precise impact that, when played back at normal speed, were pitched up, giving her that comical quality we were going for.

I have to learn to listen to my live performance differently when we’re recording at half-speed, keeping in mind how it will be processed. Always, the answer is in playback. You don’t know until you play it back – that goes for anything. You might love what you do performance-wise or sound-wise, but until you play it back in context, you don’t know if it’s going to work.

 

Elemental_sound-16

Foley Artists Heikki Kossi and Shelley Roden and Foley Mixer Scott Curtis

What have you learned while working on Elemental that’s helped you to grow at your craft?

SC: That we can work together. That’s one.

SR: It reinforced my belief that I never want to get complacent or comfortable, relying on tools or tricks that I know really well. I want to continue to be curious, to expand.

It reinforced my belief that I never want to get complacent or comfortable, relying on tools or tricks that I know really well.

SC: There are no rules. Going back to my statement that I wouldn’t use two mics at the same time, that’s not true. There could very well be a moment where it would be really cool if we did do that. And so anything’s open to suggestion or opportunity.

HK: Using the AKG 414 is something that I’ve learned from Nicolas Becker. He uses that mic quite a lot, and I started using it more and more. It’s silly to make rules that you use one mic for something. You just need to listen and try to hear the sound beforehand, already in your head, and then try to find a way to make that happen.

…it was really inspiring to see how we really think about the sound and to find out that our aesthetics can match.

Also, for this project to be the first one for us as a Foley team, it was really inspiring to see how we really think about the sound and to find out that our aesthetics can match. It’s hard to say definitely that I learned this and this. It’s more about learning that we can work together. It’s definitely a lot.

For me, it was also starting to hear how this room sounds. It was a new team, a new atmosphere, new acoustics – a lot of new things. In the beginning, I was definitely missing my stuff because I think it was the middle of Elemental and almost at the end of the show when my container finally came in from Finland and I had my props. In the beginning, it took me some time to find the right prop for the sound I wanted.

SR: This was our first film together and we are still getting to know each other. Based on what we accomplished here, I’m pretty fired up about our future together.

 

A big thanks to Foley artists Shelley Roden and Heikki Kossi, and Foley mixer Scott Curtis for giving us a behind-the-scenes look at the Foley for Elemental and to Jennifer Walden for the interview!

 

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