Foley – that is, sound effects added to film and television in post production – is a lot more common than some might think. Exaggerated, crunching impact sounds during a fist fight? Of course. But even more mundane sounds, like the rustling of clothes as an actor takes a seat or echoing footsteps as they walk down a hallway, are commonly added after the fact.
So how’s it done? There are a lot of ways to approach the art, but a common one, particularly when deadlines and budgets are tight, is to employ dedicated KONTAKT libraries. These can either contain a wide range of all-purpose sounds, or be tailored to a specific need – like the aforementioned rustles or footsteps. If you’re a musician with an ear for unique sounds, you’ll see exactly where this is going: There’s a whole world of untapped sounds out there, all neatly packaged, and ready to layer into your productions – and some of it’s even free.
To get you started, we’ve rounded up five of the best free found-sound and foley libraries from around the web. From train station ambience to kitchen equipment, it’s all free to use, provided you own the full version of KONTAKT. Scroll on down for descriptions, demos, and downloads.
The titular playground of this library may be empty of children but, as creator Atomhub discovered, it’s filled with all manner of haunting percussive clanks and clangs. As free libraries go, this ones hugely versatile – there’s a good number of sounds to start with, and each one features 5x round-robin to keep things from sounding stale.
Clashing Rails is a fully featured tool based on sounds recorded in a huge railway station. It sounds great as-is, and it also comes complete with a range of effects that includes no less than nine different types of reverb. Don’t forget to check out the mod wheel for further sound-sculpting possibilities. Clashing rails is part of the fantastic Cinematique Instruments‘ KLANG series of free instruments – all of which are worth checking out.
Here’s another entry from Atomhub, but it’s quite different from the last. While Abandoned Playground is the result of wandering around a wide open space and coaxing sound out of all manner of objects, this one is a very detailed study of a single steel pot – and a surprising musical one at that.
Captured, as you might guess, in sound designer Tyler Bajsa’s garage, this library from 99 Sounds is a fully-functional percussive toolkit (as evidenced by Tyler’s own demo on the download page). The fact that Garage Foley was recorded on a small handheld recorder, imported into KONTAKT with minimal processing, and still sounds this good ought to get you thinking about creating some unique libraries of your own.
We had to end on a foley staple – the humble footstep. Alejandro Cabrera‘s library is meant for adding convincing sounds to scenes of people walking, but you could equally put it to work as source material for muted, skittering beats, or for layering some real-world grit into more conventional percussion.
Sound design: Konstantin Grismann