In pre-coronavirus times, our foley recording sessions at Fonic operated with the artist and recordist in the same room. This posed an issue with respects to social distancing measures and therefore required a workaround for us to continue with our scheduled sessions. However, we managed it, and below, Rory, our sound editor and foley recordist, has put together a brief summary of our set up, incase this can be of help to others.
Fortunately, there was an existing 8-channel stage box (6 In / 2 Out) linking Fonic’s foley room to a separate control room and therefore I was easily able to receive and record the signal coming from the mic in the foley room. This left the issues of syncing video playback and communication. With the foley room’s Mac and the control room’s Mac on the same local network, we were able to utilise Pro Tools Satellite Link to syncing the two machines for video playback. Opened on the foley room Mac was a Pro Tools session set up as a satellite with the video only, whilst the control room ran a session also with the picture in plus my record tracks that were receiving the signal from the microphone placed in the foley room.
The only thing left to organise in this setup was a way for Sue, our foley artist, and myself to communicate throughout the session. Whilst I was obviously able to hear Sue through the microphone in the room with her, we needed to implement a way in which she could hear me. We had a couple of options for this, the first of which was routing a talkback mic back down the stage box to come out of the monitors in the foley room. However, as we also wanted to be able to see each other throughout the session, we decided to opt for using Zoom as our means of communication with a webcam set up in the control room for me and an iPad set up in the foley room for Sue. Happily, there was also only a very small amount of noticeable lag between the mic’s audio and the video over Zoom.
Although the ideal recording situation would be to have the sound engineer in the same room as the foley artist for maximum fluidity, this workaround setup was highly successful and means Fonic can continue to provide our clients with high quality foley recordings. Additionally, Sue and Rory are based locally to Fonic and are able to adhere to social distancing measures by cycling to and from the studio.
We wanted to share Sue’s thoughts on the session, too. As a freelancer, a lot of her work has been cancelled, or will be rescheduled once lockdown measure are lifted, so we know how important these sessions are for her at the moment:
During these strange times, life for a freelance foley artist has pretty much ground to a halt. Most of the studios have had to close and it will be interesting to see how things start up again as most filming has had to pause also. However things at Fonic have been able to go on! Usually the mixer is in the studio with me, but they have managed to rig it up so that they are recording and managing the session from their mix theatre whilst I create my usual mess in the foley room. A zoom session is set up so that we can communicate and the session runs as normal. It’s great for me to be able to continue to work and great for their clients as they are able to operate in, an almost normal, way! Looking forward to more sessions over the coming weeks making noises for my old friend Peppa, the squirrels in Hey Duggee and some exciting new animated projects too. Thanks for having me Fonic.