Welcome back for another behind the scenes look at UVI! Today we’re diving in to see how we created in Walker 2, our redesigned footstep foley designer.
Following the success of the original Walker we wanted to push the envelope further in terms of sound realism, and customization. With Walker 2 we’ve accomplished this, creating a perfectly tailored sound design tool for effects and foley for movies, TV shows, and video games.
We approached Walker 2 in the traditional way of foley recordings, to get that classical and organic cinema sound and feeling. To help us accomplish this we assembled a team of professional foley artists, sound engineers and sound designers, rented a classy auditorium, and scoured our homes for the highest-quality tools for the job: worn out shoes, animal feet, clothing, coconuts, paramilitary gear, funnels, muddy floors, chain mail, and tons of dust.
You may be wondering about the paramilitary gear and chain mail, but don’t worry. We realized early on that the shoes and floor are only part of the sonic picture. If we wanted to create really believable character sounds, whether human, animal or creature, we had to consider the entire character, and so accessory sounds play a significant role in both the overall sonic footprint and versatility of Walker 2.
We wanted Walker 2 to be as capable a tool as possible - meaning it could be a fit for any need, even under the most exacting requirements.
The footsteps were recorded at several speeds, several intensities, and even several intentions (normal, scuff, and stop), so that Walker 2 would react very naturally to your playing style. And with a total of over 45,000 samples recorded, including dozens and dozens of iterations (“round robins”) for each shoes/surface combination, Walker 2 offers a very realistic and natural sound, accentuated by the ability to randomize the volume and pitch with the Random knob.
Although we compiled hours of recording, it was nearly impossible to discern between different types of sneakers on gravel and grass, whereas the subtleties of different shoes are much more audible on hard floors (such as concrete, linoleum, tiles, wood floor, etc.), which we covered more extensively, with 14 different shoes each- even including bare feet and socks.
Focused not only on the footsteps, but also the global movement sounds of the characters, Walker 2 really allows you to think globally about foley and sound effects.
What surface are they walking on? With what shoes (or lack thereof)? Are the characters even human, or not? What are they wearing? Do they have accessories? Do their shoes squeak? Is there any broken glass or dust on the ground? Does their left foot sound higher/louder? In what space are they in, and so many other parameters that are up to you! Finally, in order to give you the widest application range possible, we added animal paws hooves, a “Design” part to create creature footsteps, and support for user samples.
Production was intense and the journey challenging, but we are proud of the result. Walker 2 is a comprehensive solution for footstep foley design, providing a wide range of high-quality sounds in a convenient and easy to use package. We hope you enjoy using it as much as we did creating it.