When I was a kid, I was really into audio engineering and took classes at Spy Hop in SLC. For one of our field trips we went to a professional recording studio. At the studio we met two audio engineers with impressive resumes. They were foley artists and created the background noises for Star Trek, The Twilight Zone, and the 2002 winter Olympics. It was really interesting to hear how they created these foley noises. They had an entire 100 x 100 room filled with random junk to make noises with. The room was littered with squeaky chairs, pots, pans, jackets, etc.
For the ski-racing portion of the winter Olympics, they actually brought a frozen kitty pool into the studio. They kept it cold with dry ice or something, and scraped it with random objects to replicate the sound of ski racing. They did an amazing job, because I watched the event prior to meeting them, and had no idea that the sound was artificial. It’s funny because the better these guys are at their job, the more they go unnoticed.
The foley artists didn’t just spend their time in the studio; sometimes they brought microphones out into the field. They recorded some of of Star Trek’s sounds by shooting bullets off of the pavement. They would angle the gun downwards and skip the bullet into the air. One of the guys got a little too excited about recording and ended up in the line of fire. The bullet skipped off the ground, went astray, and hit him in the leg. He was laughing when he told us the story, so I’m guessing that it wasn’t too serious. All in all, it was a great experience to meet those Foley artists, and I’ll be thinking of them when I start our next class project.