Saturday in the Park with a Lion

This assignment was to add a soundtrack to a 30 second clip of the Charlie Chaplin film The Circus using the Foley technique. Since I was born in April, my segment was 01:31-01:30.

To begin, I took the assignment description advice and made a list of every action item that would require a sound. Here’s what I came up with:

  • Dog growling
  • Shhhh sound
  • “Open the door, quick!” (My translation)
  • Gasp as woman faints
  • Scratch of the head
  • Sound of food falling on the ground
  • Lion yawning
  • Sound of food falling
  • Food crate falling
  • Bang as Charlie hits the back of the cage
  • Heavy breathing as the lion comes close

I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to incorporate all of these sound elements, so I walked through it a couple times in my head to see which made sense. I then gathered my sound creation elements and experimented with how the sounds interacted and practiced switching between them quickly.

My husband thought I was going crazy for a second, and walked over to see what was going on. I took that as an opportunity to get him involved as my Foley partner.

Here’s the final product.

Now that you’ve heard the track, I can give away my secrets. This is my makeshift Foley studio.

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Let’s walk through the sound elements once more.

  • Dog growling (dragging the glass canister across the burlap table cloth)
  • Shhhh sound (my husband)
  • “Open the door, quick!” (my husband)
  • Gasp as woman faints (myself)
  • Scratch of the head (scratching the burlap table cloth)
  • Sound of food falling on the ground (throwing the grains into the stainless steel mixing bowl)
  • Lion yawning (my husband)
  • Sound of food falling (throwing the grains into the stainless steel mixing bowl)
  • Food crate falling (dropping the mixing bowl on the table)
  • Bang as Charlie hits the back of the cage (me banging on the table)
  • Heavy breathing as the lion comes close (my husband)

I recorded the sounds directly into SoundCloud and then embedded the sound clip into this blog. I was surprised at how simple the sounds were to create without fancy equipment or a “studio,” although I did realize why this is usually a multiple person job, it’s hard to move that quickly between sounds!