Interview with Heikki Kossi – How Ad Astra’s stellar Foley sound was made
Foley supervisor/artist Heikki Kossi talks about how Foley played a key role in keeping the audience close to McBride, helping to relay his physical and mental experience. He also presents some of the many approaches, techniques and (surprising) props used for the film – and highlights what’s essential to great Foley. Read full article from A Sound Effect (2019).
“HK: When talking about Foley generally, the biggest challenge is to get the performance right. With Ad Astra, the feet and cloth rustle were pretty basic. The unique thing was the feet, movements and resonations recorded inside the spacesuit, which needed some extra work with the mics.
Careful spotting really helped and the recording process was very organized, giving more room in the schedule for creativity. In the scenes on the Moon and Mars, I tried to perform the feet so that different gravity changed the sound a bit. Also, the shoes were a bit softer.”
When talking about Foley generally, the biggest challenge is to get the performance right.Heikki Kossi
Foley sound effects for James Gray’s Ad Astra were made in H5 Film Sound Ltd
Foley artist Heikki Kossi lives and works in Kokkola, Finland. Kossi and his colleagues Pietu Korhonen and Kari Vähäkuopus have done the foleys for several local titles in addition to internationally acclaimed films such as Little Prince, Borg vs McEnroe, Filth and A Cure for Wellness. Their latest work was for the much-appraised sci-fi odyssey Ad Astra. Directed by the cinematic poet par excellence, James Gray, the film first premiered at the Venice Film Festival.
Ad Astra is an American film with a 50-million-dollar budget. Brad Pitt stars as astronaut Roy McBride who is sent to a mission to search for his father (Tommy Lee Jones). The journey turns out to be a revelation about the threatened destiny of the human race.
”This was a long project”, Kossi says. ”The first recordings were made early 2018, last effects were finalized in Kokkola during the summer 2019.”
”Early on we had a meeting with the director Gray and his team. Gray said that he wants to be stunned, he wants to hear something unheard. His wish was reasonable as the movie takes place in future – and deeper in space man has ever been”, Kossi continues.
”I started with the thought that space travel will be very common in the future”, Kossi says. ”All the materials both in clothes and space ships are going to be different from the ones we have now. I figured they’d be lighter and harder. I imagined a sound space both very low key and common in one hand and top-notch and high tech in other”, Kossi describes. ”The biggest challenge was to imagine how it sounds inside Brad Pitt’s space suit. In a way I stepped into his suit and traveled to space with him.”
The work of a foley artist is traditionally considered highly technical but Kossi likes to dig deeper. ”If possible, I always read the script before planning the actual foley work. The story is always more important than the technical work. The script builds the depth to the characters, creates the background and gives the context for the events. All this affects the way the final film is supposed to sound.”
Ad Astra has been praised about its technical work, both the visuals and the sound department. ”Sound has an enormous effect on the atmosphere of the final film. I always do my best to support the emotional expression of the character, to create the right atmosphere and to support the emotional expression of the character – whether an animated prince on his tiny planet or Brad Pitt in space”, Kossi sums it up.
Scifi-elokuva Ad Astran äänitehosteita tehtiin Kokkolassa
Foley-artisti Heikki Kossi, foley-leikkaaja Pietu Korhonen ja äänittäjä Kari Vähäkuopus toteuttivat Ad Astran äänitehosteita H5 Film Sound -studiolla Kokkolassa.
Foley-artisti Heikki Kossi asuu ja työskentelee Kokkolassa, mutta työ vie taiteilijaa ympäri maailmaa. H5 Film Sound -studio vastaa elokuvien äänitehosteista, eli toteuttaa elokuvissa kuultavat askelten kopinat, vaatteiden kahinat ja oven kolahdukset. H5 Film Sound on tehnyt foleyt muun muassa elokuviin Pikku prinssi, Borg vs McEnroe, Filth ja A Cure for Wellness. Yhtiön tuoreisiin meriitteihin lukeutuu äänitehosteiden toteuttaminen James Grayn Venetsian elokuvajuhlilla maailmanensi-iltansa saaneeseen Ad Astra -scifi-elokuvaan.
Ad Astra on suuren budjetin amerikkalaiselokuva, jonka pääroolissa astronautti Roy McBridena nähdään Brad Pitt. McBride lähetetään avaruuteen etsimään kadonnutta isäänsä. Tehtävän aikana hänelle paljastuu asioita, jotka uhkaavat ihmiskunnan asemaa maailmankaikkeudessa.
”Projekti oli pitkä ja monivaiheinen”, Kossi kertoo. ”Elokuvan ensimmäiset äänitykset tehtiin jo alkuvuonna 2018, viimeisiä tehosteita hioimme Kokkolassa kesällä 2019.”
”Projektin alussa palaveerasimme ohjaaja Grayn tiimin kanssa. Gray totesi, että hän haluaa yllättyä; kuulla jotain ennen kuulumatonta. Toive oli perusteltu, sillä elokuvan tapahtumat sijoittuvat noin 100 vuoden päähän tulevaisuuteen – ja avaruuteen”, Kossi naurahtaa.
”Lähdin siitä, että sadan vuoden kuluttua avaruusmatkailu on arkipäivää”, Kossi kertoo. ”Toisaalta tulevaisuuden materiaalit, niin vaatteissa kuin avaruusaluksissa eroavat nykyisistä. Uskon niiden olevan kevyempiä ja kestävämpiä. Kuvittelin äänimaiseman, joka on yhdistelmä rosoista arkisuutta ja huippuunsa kehiteltyä tekniikkaa”, Kossi kuvailee. ”Suurin haaste oli kuvitella, mitä Brad Pittin avaruuspuvun sisällä tapahtuu. Tavallaan asetuin hänen asemaansa, astuin hänen avaruuspukunsa sisään ja lähdin hänen kanssaan avaruuteen”, Kossi jatkaa.
Foley-taiteilijan työ on teknistä, mutta Kossin työskentelytapa ulottuu taidokasta pintaa syvemmälle: ”Jos mahdollista, luen aina käsikirjoituksen ennen varsinaisen suunnittelutyön aloittamista. Tarina on elokuvassa tekniikkaa tärkeämpää. Käsikirjoitus antaa elokuvan henkilöhahmoille syvyyttä, luo tapahtumille taustan ja kontekstin. Kaikki tämä vaikuttaa myös siihen, miltä valmiin elokuvan pitää kuulostaa.”
Ad Astra on kerännyt kiitosta teknisistä ansioistaan niin kuvauksen kuin äänisuunnittelun osalta. ”Äänellä on valtava merkitys tunnelman luomisessa. Teen aina parhaani vangitakseni oikean tunnelman ja tukeakseni hahmon tunneilmaisua, on kyseessä sitten animaatioprinssi pienellä planeetallaan – tai Brad Pitt avaruudessa”, Kossi summaa.
Ad Astra saa Suomen ensi-iltansa 20.9.2019.
Ad Astra review: Isä planeetan takana
Read full article in Suomen Kuvalehti (2019).
“Ad Astra on James Grayn ensimmäinen Hollywood-elokuva. Budjetti on kunnon avaruuselokuvan edellyttämä, yli 50 miljoonaa euroa. Hinnasta huolimatta kyseessä ei ole niinkään viihdetuote kuin ohjaajansa näköinen taideteos: mietteliäs, hienostunut ja surumielinen.”
Heikki Kossi on the art and craft of foley sound
Heikki Kossi shares his insights, workflow, and lessons learned from decades of doing Foley sound. Read full article from A Sound Effect (2019).
DS: Our current topic is “international” and I understand that you’ve worked on films from many different places. Can you talk a little about how you became involved in the international film market and how you established yourself?
HK: From the network that I have now, there is an enormous amount of work, but also luck. Finding international contacts started step by step. First there were a few short films from Sweden, but maybe one of the most remarkable projects was BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO by Peter Strickland (UK 2012). Supervising sound editor Joakim Sundström got in contact with me and he mentioned that he had heard some good things about my work. Actually that is the main point. Every job you do needs to be your best at its time. Good work can produce more good projects. And every project is different.
Some of the International projects are co-productions which means that there needs to be some work in Finland, but most of the projects come because people want to work with us. I’m really happy about that! One very important step was meeting sound designer Peter Albrechtsen from Denmark. We have now worked together on over 50 projects and on one feature project called Danny’s Doomsday. I also met supervising sound editor Tim Nielsen from Skywalker Ranch who later invited me to work on The Little Prince.
Heikki Kossi, Pietu Korhonen and Peter Albrechtsen nominated for the Golden Reel Award
Heikki Kossi, Pietu Korhonen and Peter Albrechtsen have been nominated for the Golden Reel Award for their work in The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki (Foreign language feature) and Bill Nye: Science Guy (feature documentary). The Golden Reel Award is given by the Motion Picture Sound Editors, an honorary society of motion picture sound editors, to acknowledge the year’s best work in the various areas of sound editing, including dialogue, ADR, effects, foley and music. Read full article from The Hollywood Reporter (2018).
Last Men in Aleppo nominated for Oscars
Last Men in Aleppo by Firas Fayyad is nominated for Oscars. This powerful film is sound designed by Morten Groth Brandt. Foley by Heikki Kossi.
All Oscar nominees 2018.
The Finnish and International programmes for DocPoint 2018 – Helsinki Documentary Film Festival are finalized. View Festival Programme.
Interview with Heikki Kossi – Fearless In The Art Of Live Foley
Read full article from Designing Sound (2017).
“Designing Sound: Getting to perform Foley in front of an audience is pretty special, how exactly did this opportunity come up?
Heikki Kossi: It started in 2012 when the director Juho Kuosmanen told me he was going to shoot the short film “Romu-Mattila and a Beautiful Lady” (aka Romu-Mattila ja kauris nine, a story based on true events about an elderly man faced with eviction). He planned a screening with live music and Foley and asked me if I would be interested. I surely was! So the first of these silent short films we’re currently performing screened a few times with live Foley before we took a brake. Juno then made another amazing short film this year called “The Moonshiners” (a remake of the sadly lost first ever Finnish fiction film from 1907, a farce centered on a subject ever-important to the Finns: distilling spirits). Over the last year we’ve done ten screenings/performances of these films as a pair, which works out to about a one hour show.”
Interview with Michal Fojcik and Heikki Kossi
Here’s how supervising sound editor Michał Fojcik and Foley artist Heikki Kossi brought the wintry world of ‘Moomins and the Winter Wonderland’ to life with sound. Read full article from A Sound Effect (2017).
MF: “Knowing that there will be music on most of scenes, we decided to create sounds that would stand out in tonality, texture and rhythm. Heikki did fantastic work distinguishing all characters. For example, you can always tell if it’s Moomintroll, Moominpappa or Moominmamma walking. He also created different textures of snow and added character to all of the many different creatures.
Because of the nature of stop-motion animation, there were some ridiculous tempos of FS (feet) sometimes, which he just covered on the spot. For movements, we did special “moomvment” which had this special fluffy, warm tone.
The biggest challenge I think was to create a ‘characterful,’ diverse world of sounds which wouldn’t be too big for the cute Moomins world and which will stand out against the music, but in a gentle way. I’m very happy with what we achieved through the brilliant work of the Foley teams.”
The Distant Barking of Dogs: Film Review / IDFA 2017
Simon Lereng Wilmont’s documentary shot in a village near the Ukraine/Russia front line won the ‘First Appearance’ competition at the Dutch non-fiction showcase. Sound design by Pietu Korhonen, Heikki Kossi and Peter Albrechtsen.
Read full article from Hollywood reporter
Avanti! Fronted by unusual soloists
Avanti’s 32nd Summer Sounds Festival will see a premiere from Sami Klemola with Foley artist Heikki Kossi fronting Avanti!.
The festival program has been released: ”In addition to more conventional solo instruments, Avanti! will be fronted by some more unusual soloists – including a juggler and a Foley artist.” Read full article
Interview with Gore Verbinski
Gore Verbinski talks about the importance of music and sound on his latest film, A Cure For Wellness: “Usually on a film, as you shoot and cut, you temp the music as you go, and then the sound designer and composer come in fairly late in the process, but I felt it was crucial to get these two guys in right from the start. So we never really temped with someone else’s music or sound effects. We created every sound and music cue from the start, and we had this great Foley artist, Heikki Kossi, from Helsinki, who really got it. He didn’t stack tons of sounds and overdo it. He just got simple, great recordings of exactly the right sounds, like the squeaky crutch.” Read full article from Post Magazine (2017).
The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki – Sound Featurette
Check out this video by SoundWorks Collection about the sound of the film with supervising sound editor Pietu Korhonen, foley artist Heikki Kossi and re-recording mixer Peter Albrechtsen. ‘The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki’ is a 2016 Finnish drama film directed by Juho Kuosmanen based on the true story of the Finnish boxer Olli Mäki and his championship title fight in 1962. This spring it premieres in cinemas both in the US and the UK. Read UK and US screenings
Heikki Kossi nominated for the Golden Reel Award
“Finnish foley artist Heikki Kossi has been nominated for the Golden Reel Award for his work in Mark Osborne’s The Little Prince. The Golden Reel Award is given by the Motion Picture Sound Editors, an honorary society of motion picture sound editors, to acknowledge the year’s best work in the various areas of sound editing, including dialogue, ADR, effects, foley and music. The Little Prince’s sound editing team is nominated in the category of Animated Features. Tim Nielsen (Skywalker Ranch) is the supervising sound editor of The Little Prince.” Read full article
Interview with Pietu Korhonen, Peter Albrechtsen and Heikki Kossi
Post Magazine explores the soundtracks of a few foreign films that resonate on a human level. These world-class supervising sound editors and re-recording mixers share insight on the sound of Tomato Red, The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki and Bilial. Read full article
Supervising sound editor/sound designer Pietu Korhonen says, “Director Juho Kuosmanen was aming for very naturalistic, documentary and raw sound to match his cinéma vérité-style visuals. After seeing the first cut, it was clear that we should aim for another direction to make the film more alive with sound. Also, the film is without score, so that gave us a lot of possibilities. We could give the black and white film more dimension and color, and direct the audience’s attention using sound.”
The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki
Premiere for The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki in Finnish cinemas today, 2nd of September. H5 Film Sound congratulates director Juho Kuosmanen and all the wonderful people involved. –Enjoy folks!
Sound credits: Supervising sound editor, Pietu Korhonen / Sound Recordist, Pietu Korhonen / Boom Operator, Svante Colerus / Sound Assistant, Ville Katajala / Re-recording Mixer, Peter Albrechtsen / Pre-mix foley and dialogue, Niklas Skarp / Sound editor, Pietu Korhonen, Erik Bjerknes / Foley supervisor, Heikki Kossi / Foley mixer, Pietu Korhonen, Kari Vähäkuopus / Sound FX recordist, Mikkel Nielsen, Asbjørn Deradu / Sound post studios, H5 Film Sound, Cloudberry Post / Foley studio, H5 Film Sound / ADR studio, Boomout / Mix studio, Nordisk Film Shortcut Audio, Steffen Addington.
Watch out for a cameo walk on appearance by the real-life Olli and Raija in the close of the film. It is a beautiful small joke, which at the same time makes a profound point about the magic of time and love.
Interview with Mark Osborne and Tim Nielsen
Check out this video by SoundWorks Collection featuring Director Mark Osborne about his new animated film The Little Prince and Supervising Sound Editor, Sound Designer and Re-recording Mixer Tim Nielsen.
The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki
The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki is first feature where sound production in done fully by H5 Film Sound. Supervising Sound Editor Pietu Korhonen and Re-recording Mixer Peter Albrechtsen have reason to be pleased when Juho Kuosmanen’s debut feature will premiere on 19th of May in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. The film was mixed at Nordisk Film ShortCut Audio, Copenhagen and premixes of dialogue and foley were done at Cloudberry Post, Gothenburg.
The story is based on the real life of Olli Maki, the Finnish boxer who competes for the featherweight boxing title in 1962, but is distracted by his first love. Jarkko Lahti, Oona Airola and Eero Milonoff lead the cast.
Read interview with Juho Kuosmanen, director.
Creating foley for The Little Prince
The Little Prince had amazing voice acting and such an inspiring supervising sound editor Tim Nielsen who had mind blowing ideas of using paper elements. – Every project leaves an imprint on me as a Foley Artist. That’s the most inspiring thing in this work.
Interview with Tim Nielsen
Read full article from A Sound Effect (2016).
“We were so fortunate to work with Heikki Kossi, in Finland, and simply one of the best foley artists I’ve ever worked with. When we had discussions early on, we knew that foley could and would have to help sell these different worlds, and so we experimented back and forth a bit with sounds for the stop motion world. In both effects and in foley we spent a lot of time working with paper, including buying up different types of paper from around the world.
Heikki’s genius is also in how much ‘character’ he helped impart to these characters. While the sounds of the mother’s footsteps are very rigid and rhythmic, the sounds of the Aviator’s footsteps are much more ambling and shuffling. It might seem common sense, but it’s actually quite difficult to really impart character like that. Heikki has an amazing sense of comedy as well, and listening to something like the Mr. Prince character fumbling around trying to pick up a stack of brushes still makes me smile. I know this was as much a labor of love for him as it was for the rest of us working on it, and it really shows in his work. The sound of the film would have never been the same without him!
I’m not sure if Hekki’s approach would be a lot different than for a live action film, my guess would be that he would say that certainly in an animated film, the sounds get exaggerated a bit more, they need to be focused and clean, but that his job is largely the same in both. Too many people assume foley is about ‘coverage’, as in ‘we just need footsteps because they are missing in the production.’ But good foley is so much more than that. It’s a true art form, and it’s a very important part of a good soundtrack.”
Interview with Peter Albrechtsen
Check out this video by SoundWorks Collection about the sound of Danish film, “The Idealist” featuring Sound Designer Peter Albrechtsen and Sound Re-recording Mixer Lars Ginzel.
Interview with Heikki Kossi
Read full article from Audiospotligt (2015)
“In 90’s I was playing upright bass in a band called Keystone Cops as an professional full-time musician. We had something like 150-200 shows every year but between the tours I just rented a movie box from downstairs video rental store and watched films over and over again. I think that was time when I fell in love with film. That was the time when I just enjoyed the films and I still do. In 1997 I started studying sound design in radio and internet in Turku Christian Institute.
During our first year we did some radio features and collages. I started to do some sounds by hand like car crashes (without crashing a car) so I just used my imagination. I started looking for whistling tires before the crash and I found a rusty note stand which had the right sound. Then I heard glass breaking sounds inside my head and quickly found some little pieces of glass from trash can at our school. Then of course I wanted the rolling wheel cover sound. Cover of the pea soup can fit the job nicely and sounded exactly right. I felt from the very beginning that this organic way of making sounds was very natural for me.”