Sound Production students visit Emmy award winning studio

Students get a behind the scenes tour of the art of Foley

Students in the Sound Production program at Southern Westchester BOCES stepped out of their Valhalla classroom and into the world of post-production in early January. Accompanied by teacher Sean Harty, they toured the studio of Alchemy Post Sound in Peekskill. During their trip they got to see first-hand the process of creating the sounds heard on screen.

group of high school students in a a sound production studioAlchemy, an Emmy award-winning studio, opened its doors to the students, who were in awe of what they found inside, and introduced them to the art of foley. Named after Jack Foley in the 1920s, the art of foley is created when two objects crash into one another and explains what you hear when watching television, in theaters, etc. Each room in the studio is dedicated to an aspect of post-production, from the control room to foley stages. The foley stage is similar to a prop house and contains different items and floorings that are utilized to create sounds.

Sasha Leitner, a junior at Irvington High School, could not believe that a studio with such prestige would open their doors to them. “It was a huge studio. They had numerous props. It was nice to meet the people who did the sound effects for shows we watch,” said Sasha. “I love how they think about sounds, and I found it interesting that they make them louder than they need to be, like in cartoons, theater, anime.”

Alchemy provides tours multiple times a year, allowing SWBOCES students a peek inside the industry. “The fact that individuals with so much work on their plate would be so relaxed and open their doors to guide us is priceless,” said Mr. Harty. “The truth is that when you have so much passion and love for what you do, especially in this industry, you want to share it, especially with individuals who are looking and trying to figure out their future.”

The aspiring foley artists felt at home in the studio and found the excursion insightful. “The trip to Alchemy Post Studios is a staple in our program. They are a valued member of the program committee and partners in helping my students with internships and mentorship,” said Mr. Harty. “The students weren't just sitting and being told information; they were actually in a live session seeing how foley was being created and elevating the story of the given content.”

The students were privy to projects in the works and learned about non-disclosure agreements. They also had the opportunity to ask questions about the sound production and hear stories from those working in the industry. 

“I learned how time consuming foley is, the editing process and getting it in sync. You have to know the sounds to match them up,” said Ymonni Thomas, a junior at Woodlands High School.

 They had a chance to observe engineers in action and gained a better understanding about a possible career path for them. Overall, the students had a positive experience and most said that they would jump at the chance to have an internship at the studio. 

“Everyone was so nice and welcoming. I could see myself working there,” said Patrick Lacy, a senior at Hastings High School. “It was interesting to see all the random things in a room used to create foley and how they used them. You have to act with the scene to make it believable.”