Northvale Foley Artists Add Effects to Give TV and Film That Extra Punch

By Maddie Orton
Arts Correspondent

A window shatters. A pick axe slams. Fish whiz by — you can almost feel them. Emmy winner Marko Costanzo makes sure of that. He’s a Foley artist at C5, Inc.

“A Foley artist is someone that makes sound effects in sync with actions that happen on screen for movies or TV or whatever,” explains Costanzo. “We fill in the blanks. And with that, you go through a film and we do that at every moment, so it could be as light as a face wipe, it could be a punch to the chest.”

In the 3,700-square-foot Northvale facility, the company creates effects for TV and film projects like Boardwalk Empire, Life of Pi, The Wolf of Wall Street and The Devil Wears Prada. Costanzo gets his size 13 1/2 wide pumps and other props from garage sales and trash day. It’s not the quality of the items that counts, it’s the sounds they create. At C5 Inc., anything that makes a good sound is fair game — even appliances from the company kitchen.

While some of the sounds in films are easy to re-create, others aren’t really possible. “If someone was to break their neck, or break an arm, or break a leg, or a bone crack, well we’re not going to break bones or anything, but we take some celery, take broccoli and give it a little [crack],” says Costanzo.

George Lara is a Foley mixer. He engineers the audio tracks. “If I see something that is very close up, I just use one mic. If I see the character walking across the street, I start using both mics and equalizing at the same time,” he explains.

How does Lara know how to mimic the sounds created in a scene? “Anywhere that I go to, I listen to things. And people sometimes think that I’m crazy because of the way that I start playing with stuff,” Lara says.

Crazy or not, it’s paying off. C5, Inc. is in the process of finishing up the final season of Boardwalk Empire, and their work can be heard in the upcoming film version of Into the Woods this December.