Cheating a Waterbed
Sometimes while working a Foley session I am left with the most profound statement / moment of the day “What the Fuck!”. In this particular case it was a scene on a television series where the main characters were hosting a yard sale. While the lead actors were talking, there were enough extras milling around the yard to fill the average size commuter train picking up and handling just about every piece of crap imaginable. From golf clubs to records, stepping into an aluminum canoe, playing fuzzball. My personal W.T.F moment occurred when, directly behind the main characters, was a fully assembled and functioning king size water bed set up on the front lawn of the house where the yard sale was taking place.
Now, I know and understand the difference between reality and television but all that aside, who in there right mind would drain and dissemble a water bed, drag it from their home outdoors, put it all back together, fill the bed with water, make the bed with fresh sheets, pillows and blankets just so an interested party can test it out!!! Not to mention that if they actually sold the bed it would need to be drained again so it could be disassembled then taken away.
In a scene like this one, if it was only a couple of background actors, I might have just “sold” the bed sound with sheets and mattress rustle but as it happens, the main actress had to explain to the other actor that “the water bed was the only place where her and her ex ever got along.”
The scene was about four and a half minutes long and in that time frame about six extras took turns sloshing around on the bed. The Foley editor thought it important enough to cue not only the sheet rustle and sit downs but also the water bed sloshing W.T.F.
On this particular Foley stage there is no water pit so I needed to improvise. Using a large plastic tub, the kind you can find in a masonry supply house for mixing concrete (2.5′ x 3.5′ and 10″deep), I filled the tub almost to the top with water. I then laid a large rubber rain coat on top. By working the coat on the water I was not only able to get the desired sound of a water bed sloshing but also contain a possible Foley disaster in the studio. On other tracks we recorded the sounds of sheets, pillows, sit downs and get ups. Layered together we got the sound and sold it as the water bed. We Win!