In order to help meet the time crunch, and as part of his own aesthetic,
Hallberg divvied up Foley and effects early on so that there was no
doubling up. That way, for instance, effects handled gun cocks, which
might typically be a Foley moment, while Foley regularly fed sync effects—most
notably, individual horses (hooves and tack)—to the effects editors
to cut in and flesh out prior to the mix.
For the battle scenes, Foley artist Gary Hecker began with principal
footsteps, then, with headphones on, did principals’ gear. After a pass
for group feet and gear, he then went back and did close-up gear, rifle
movement, body falls, horse falls and miscellaneous. To cut down on
the number of tracks, Foley mixer Richard Duarte sometimes mixed group
gear and feet together. “We had to create size and clarity and definition
without going out to a lot of tracks,” Hecker says. “Everybody
wanted to work in a condensed format on this film—but packed with dynamite,
so to speak.”
The massive Foley job, including musket mechanisms,
leather creaks and armies’ worth of footsteps, was handled on
Foley Stage A by the crew of, L to R: Matt Dettman, Foley artist;
Gary Hecker, supervising Foley artist; and Richard Duarte, Foley
To begin, Hecker scoured area armory stores for antique rifles with
wood stocks, bayonets, all types of leather belts for movement and creaks,
saddles, and even a creaky rocking chair, which is a small story point.
After initial sessions with horse specifics (hooves, saddle, bridle),
which the Foley crew then shipped to the effects editors, Hecker started
in on wagons, harnesses, creaks and wheels. Then he went on to individual
“Each character had his own equipment,” Hecker says.
“Tavington [the out-of-control British colonel] was always wearing a
scabbard, so his sound was a creaky leather belt and scabbard, with
some military cloth, and he was walked with authority. He’s real starchy.
Mel, in battle, had his tomahawk, pistol, dagger and musket—always associated
with those sounds. Then when we get to the battle scenes, we have to
make sure the patriots sound different from the redcoats.”
“The militia is a little more leathery and musket-types, a more floppy
sound and not so tightknit,” adds Foley supervisor Craig Jaeger.
“The British are more military, more proper-sounding. They’re tight,
and they have a clank to them that shows the authority they think they
have. Not as many rattles to their belts, and a more solid-sounding
Gun movement and handling was, not surprisingly, a big job. Hecker
used a Neumann KMR81 for a lot of the brute work, with a Sony 800G,
a vocal mic, to bring out details in the mechanics for close-up work.
For definition, he says, they recorded two layers on the rifles: a normal
mode to capture the high end, and a “thick” mode for the low end. But
it wasn’t all work and no play. Hecker also provided an eerie vocal
wind and a stylized, processed bayonet drop that is played at crucial
moments in the climactic battle.
7: Every Word Counts
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