tired.jpgDark Horse Institute (2013) ‘Audio Engineering in the film industry’

In this session we learnt all about how to become a Foley Engineer, how to become a Sound Engineer and what the difference is between the two. This session helped to clarify to me the difference between a Foley Engineer and Sound Engineer, and the best pathways to become each one.

What is a Foley Engineer?

A Foley engineer is someone who creates the sound. So they create the sound to put over the top of the film. For example they could record the audio of footsteps or horse hooves.

What is a Sound Engineer?

A Sound Engineer is someone who controls the the sound of the production, this can be from making sure the correct microphones are being used, all to altering the levels of different sounds when they are recorded.

What is the difference between a Foley Engineer and a Sound Engineer?

A Foley Engineer is someone who creates the sound. They are a specialist in this field. A Sound Engineer is ‘sound’ as a whole. You become a sound engineer before you become a Foley Engineer. So you go from a Sound Engineer, and then you can begin to specialise in Foley if it is something that really interests you. ‘Sound’ is such a broad term, and so Foley is a more specific field within sound.

Why do people start to specialising in Foley from Sound?

  • Firstly it could just happen by conscience. By this is mean the person you are working with needs some help creating Foley Sound, and then you might decide that it is something you really would love to go into.
  • It might just happen more naturally, so the person you learn from naturally teaches you a lot about Foley sound so you decide thats what you want to focus in on within sound.
  • You could just really enjoy it, and decide that you want to go into something more specific.

How to become a sound engineer.

• Through the theatre:
Gives you the knowledge of sound and the skills needed to use it in the industry. It is also an incredible thing to put on your CV.

An apprenticeship is like paid work experience. You also get a qualification at the end which means it is a great thing to participate in. Although you wouldn’t be earning a lot of money, it is still getting paid for experience, which is amazing. It is also great to put on your CV as it shows that you have experience in the field. Although unfortunately these opportunities don’t come about very often.

An internship is basically and unpaid apprenticeship, again these don’t come about very often, but they are possible. As said above, going through theatre is always a good way to go and get into sound.

•Path through University:
The path through university is arguably the best one. It allows you to gain experience and connections with other people in the field of sound. Gaining connections and experiences in a way can improve the luck you have to get jobs in the field of sound. You also get a qualification at the end, which looks incredible on your CV.

This is where you work for yourself. People will employ you to work for them as a Sound Engineer or Foley Engineer and they will pay you for your time.

Freelance Job Titles
Here are some different job titles, they go from lowest to highest in terms of where they would come in terms of what job is the best.

Sound Assistant:
•Low down
•Give you a huge amount of experience

Sound Engineer:
•More responsibility
•Higher up
•You can be in control of a whole set depending on the the set you are working on

Sound Designer:
•creating the whole content of the sound.
•Showing how the sound is designed
•Setting the tone and vibe of the scene. This role is incredibly important.

Sound Mixer:
•Getting the levels of sound right.
•They play with the levels of the different types of sound in the scene to make them the correct volume to create an affective scene.

Foley Engineer/ Foley Designer:
In some productions this will be the same person but sometimes it can be a range of people. They will design and create the Foley sound on the scene. In my personal opinion I find this a really appealing job. I love the idea of trying to find ways to create the perfect representation of a sound.

University and College Courses for Sound?

Here are a couple of examples of different university and college courses I found when it comes to sound:

‘Music Technology: Sound Engineering (Level 3) at Access to Music’


This level 3 course in sound engineering looks really interesting. It is more focused on practical sound engineering sessions in a digital studio. This means the course is perfect for developing the skills needed to work in such a competitive industry.


‘Sound Engineering and Design’


This university course also looks incredibly interesting. The qualification it gives is a FdSc. It is said that the course is “skills rich.” The course is heavily practical based, which will allow you to gain the skills and experience needed to be successful in such a competitive industry.

These courses both give different qualifications, and are completely different. It is interesting to see the wide range of courses and degrees available. This shows the importance of picking the correct course for you as an individual.

A famous Sound Engineer

I am now going to research about a famous Sound engineer, to find out a bit more of how they got into sound, and their path to getting to where they are now. I will also find out about what films they have contributed to.

Russell Williams II is the famous Sound Engineer that I have chosen to study this week. I am really interested to learn more about Russell Williams II, as his life seems extremely interesting. I am also very interested to look through his filmography to see how many of the films I have seen he has contributed to.

Russell Williams II was born on October 14th 1952 in Washington. He was the first AFrican American to win more that one academy award, which is such a momentous achievement. Williams grew up as passionate moviegoer. It seems like this is when sparked his passion in movies. In 1974, Williams got a B.A. degree in Film production and Literature. Throughout this time, in 1973, Williams started working as an Audio Engineer for WRC/NBC-TV. From this experience Williams then made his own company. This company was called ‘Sound Is Ready.’

After this, in 1979, Russell Williams II began to work as a ‘Sound Mixer’ for a variety of different films. Here are some of my favourites:

  • Billionaire Boys Club ( 1987 ) James Cox
  • In The Mood ( 1987 ) Phil Alden Robinson

Williams also did the sound recording for several Films and Television series. Here are some examples:

  • Field Of Dreams ( 1992 ) Phil Alden Robinson
  • Waiting to Exhale ( 1995 ) Forest Whitaker
  • The Temptations ( 1999 ) Allan Arkush
  • Training Day ( 2001 ) Antoine Fuqua


Harvard Referencing:

Dark Horse Institute (2013) ‘Audio Engineering in the film industry’ Available at: http://darkhorseinstitute.com/audio-engineering-in-the-film-industry/ (Last Accessed: 25th October 2016)


 IMDb (no date) ‘Russel Williams II – IMDb.’  Available at: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0007020/ ( Last Accessed: 7th October 2016 )


Thehistorymakers (2007) ‘Russell Williams II | The History Makers.’  Available at: http://www.thehistorymakers.com/biography/russell-williams-ii ( Last Accessed: 7th October 2016 )


UCAS (no date) ‘Sound Engineering and Design’ Available at: http://search.ucas.com/course/summary/720058/sound-engineering-design-2-years?Vac=1&AvailableIn=2017&Query=sound&ret=providers (Last Accessed: 7th October 2016)


UCAS (no date) ‘Music Technology: Sound Enginnering (Level 3) at Access to Music.’ Available at: https://www.ucasprogress.com/course/2027635/music-technology-sound-engineering-level-3 ( Last accessed: 7th October 2016 )


UCAS (no date) ‘UCAS: at the heart of connecting people to higher education’ Available at: https://www.ucas.com/ ( Last Accessed: 7th Ocbtober 2016 )


You Think What (2013) ‘Russell Williams: American Oscar Winner A Living Black History Fact.’ Available at: http://youthinkwhat.com/now/russell-williams-american-oscar-winner-a-living-black-history-fact/ ( Last Accessed: 7th October 2016 )