Recording a Very ‘Foley’ Christmas Story with the MV88
"You'll shoot your eye out!" Playback engineer Eric Johnston used the Shure MV88 Digital Stereo Condenser microphone to capture "foley" sound effects for the recent live TV broadcast of the holiday classic A Christmas Story.
Using the MV88 for Foley
"Foley…what's foley?" you might ask.
In the movie industry, "foley" refers to the art of capturing everyday sounds to be inserted in post-production. The term was named after the trailblazing sound-effects artist Jack Foley.
But there are other uses for foley effects. In November, during the Country Music Association Awards in Nashville, Tennessee, I reconnected with playback engineer Eric Johnston, whom I've known for more than 20 years.
He told me he was working on the upcoming live television broadcast of the holiday classic A Christmas Story starring Matthew Broderick. You know the tale by heart: Ralphie wants a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas, his old man wins "a major award" leg lamp and his friend Flick licks a cold flag pole on a triple dog dare.
Eric said he had heard about the Shure MV88 Digital Stereo Condenser microphone and wanted to see if he could use one to capture some foley elements for the live musical with his iPhone. What a no-brainer for me! I figured the mic would be the perfect tool for foley effects, so I was excited to see how Eric's recordings turned out.
"For A Christmas Story Live, we wanted to match the family's car that was used, so we stopped all work on the Warner Brothers backlot so I could capture the car sounds I needed," Eric told me later. "Also for the BB gun, I used my son's Red Ryder. Being able to capture broadcast quality sounds on my phone is amazing to me. My personal SFX library will now grow with great sounds."
Here are a few foley samples from Eric:
Capturing a BB Gun
Capturing a Car
MV88 Capturing a Car
MV88 Capturing Gravel
What Eric Johnston Had to Say:
"I am very surprised and happy with the size and quality of the MV88," said Eric. "Because of its size, I am able to keep it with me and capture sounds during my normal day."
So next time you hear a car door slam or an elevator door ding, it might just be a foley effect made with an MV88!