Anyone working in sound for games has been asked at one point in their career to record, edit and implement footstep audio. Often overlooked and sometimes a little too prominent in games, they are a vital piece of player feedback that can take quite a bit of experimentation and time to get right.
Couple that with recording them in poor environment (outside, large reflective rooms) and it’s a recipe for disaster where you’ll spend most of your time cleaning up the samples just to get them to sound consistent with one another. This is time that could be well spent on making sure they work well within the context of the environment they’re getting placed in.
Recently I’ve built myself a basic foley pit. It’s basic open topped box which is extremely sturdy. This is perfect for recording wood surface footsteps and anything else I put in there (rocks, carpet, turf, sand, mud etc). I thought I’d throw up the design and a few pictures of it for others to take a look at. It’s really simple to build. You’ll need the following
- 3 pieces of 4×4 timber about 1.8 metres in length
- 3 pieces of plywood
- Some nails, a saw and a drill and an electric screwdriver
Then it’s just a case of cutting down the plywood to 1.2 metres in length and 80cm in width. Cutting down two of the 4×4 pieces to 1.2 metres each. Place the two sliced 4×4 pieces of timber on either edge length ways, turn it over and drill in through the 3 pieces of plywood and into the 4×4’s, then screw it together. Then just cut the last two pieces of 4×4 to fit at the top and bottom ends and drill/screw it into place.
You could easily do it with pieces of 4×2, the 4×4 is a lot sturdier when you start using some hard materials in the pit (like pebbles). The 3 pieces of plywood allow the pit to be extremely sturdy and solid, making it a great hardwood surface for footsteps and stable enough to handle anything you put in the pit. Overall it’s a great time saver and real life saver.