Foley Fridays, gallop


Gallop by Mitch Arend

Not to beat a dead horse (I’d rather ride a live one) but last week’s post reminded me of another classic sound that any self-respecting cowboy can’t be without. Hell most adventure films and period pieces would be lost without it. Much more than cowboys themselves there is something ultimately romantic about riding a horse on film. The sound of a horse galloping, trotting or slowly plodding along plays a huge part of helping to wrap the audience in whatever action is happening on screen.  This wasn’t lost on Monty Python when they made Holy Grail because, while there was no actual horses anywhere to be seen, they still included that classic sound to a T – even if they only had two halves of coconuts and were bangin’ em together.

In fact, that’s exactly how you achieve the sound of a horse galloping – with coconuts. Its one of the first foley effects that I’ve talked about that using something other than the actual object (in this case a horse/horse hooves) is ultimately the best way to go. You can do what Monty Python did and clomp two halves of a coconut together or you can use those two halves against a hard surface – your arms simulating the horse’s legs. What the pros tend to do is lay down dirt and other textures on top of said hard surface to replicate what’s on the screen. Finally, the biggest part of this is accurately creating the beats of the galloping hooves – coming usually in triplets “clomp, clomp, clomp … clomp, clomp, clomp” at various speeds. Try it at home sometime and it’ll be like you have an invisible horse of your very own.

I gotta saddle up for now, but more next week

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