Find out about working in Foley at Pinewood Studios from Adam Oakley, SAE London Audio alumnus

16 Apr 2019

Adam Oakley recently graduated from SAE London with a 1st Class BSc Audio Production (Hons) Degree. He’s been working for Pinewood Studios for over a year, and we caught up with him to hear what he’s been up to since leaving SAE.

When did you graduate?

I finished my course in September 2014 and graduated in May 2015.

What does your day to day job as a Sound Editor at Pinewood Studios involve?

My role here is as a Foley Mixer and Editor which means that some days I could be shooting Foley for Film, TV or Games, and others editing any material which comes through the theatre.

For those who aren’t aware of the level of work that goes into making sound effects for films, could you explain what Foley artists and editors do?

Sure, so there are a lot of limitations to capturing entirely clean and suitable audio on set and the Foley process allows us to replace the sounds on screen cleanly so that there is complete flexibility in a final mix over what and how much you want to hear. So the artists perform all the sounds to picture, including footsteps, anything tactile which makes a noise and also cloth movements to gel everything together. The Foley Mixer’s job is to capture those sounds whilst taking into account perspective, spatial environments and whether anything needs larger than life embellishment. All of that then gets passed onto the Editorial team who cut every sound so that they’re in sync with the picture and work seamlessly with the rest of the audio.

What is your favourite aspect of this role?

Life in the theatre is really varied and each day is filled with fresh challenges and sounds you’ve never had to make before, so it’s really nice to continually test yourself and what you’re capable of whilst also working together with the Foley Artists to build the sounds you had all envisaged. I find it really satisfying to bring on screen environments to life and to get the opportunity to work on that process from start to finish is a real pleasure.  

What is the most exciting project you’ve worked on to date?

That’s a tough one! It’s impossible to pick just one, it was a massive privilege to be part of the teams working on projects such as Bohemian Rhapsody, Fantastic Beasts and Birdbox, knowing that they would inevitably be so well received. I really enjoyed working on Danny Boyle’s Trust, I loved the whole vibe of the show from the start and it lent itself to lots of fun sound. The Division 2 was also really exciting, and the Creative Audio team here worked on so many different aspects of the game, which was awesome to see unfold.

You were recently nominated for a Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) award for your work as a Foley Editor on Amazon Studio’s King Lear. How do you feel about this achievement?

It still hasn’t quite sunk in yet! It’s incredible to have been nominated for such a prestigious award in the audio community so early on in my career. Just want to say a massive thanks to everyone at Pinewood for giving me the opportunity to do so!

What did you think of the MPSE awards ceremony in LA?

It was a fantastic evening which was really well presented, and I really hope I get to attend some more soon!

Are you working on any projects in your free time?

I don’t get too much of it, but I have just finished working on an interesting short film named Angels in the Asylum which is really cool and definitely worth a watch.

What made you choose to study Audio at SAE London?

When I started looking for places to study Audio, I wanted to tick every box in terms of breadth of audio theory and practical opportunities, and I felt that SAE was the place that did that.

How did studying Audio at SAE prepare you for your current role?  

I think it brought out a competitive drive in me to constantly improve, and do whatever it takes to achieve that. The fast paced nature of the accelerated course is much more akin to working life, especially in this industry. I also learnt skills and workflows which I still use every day.






If you had to sum up your experience at SAE in one sentence, what would you say?

Hard work with no let up, but if you’re passionate about Audio, it’s worth it.

Do you have any advice for current Audio students at SAE?

Make the most of those facilities, having those available to you is invaluable. Also make the most of the people; lecturers, staff and other students. There’s tonnes of real work experience in there which you should definitely tap into and it definitely pays to stay in touch with other alumni.

What are your ambitions for the future?

My career thus far has moved pretty fast so I aim to continue in that vein for as long as possible. I have a lot that I would like to achieve and I have set my ambitions pretty high, but primarily I just want to continue working on exciting sound projects.