Foley Folly Gives Tesla Model S Gas-Car Sounds In CBS’ 60 Minutes

Foley, the art of adding sounds post-production to a film or documentary to make it sound more realistic, has been part of the film and television business for decades.  From someone walking on gravel to an animal drinking from a savanna watering hole, the sounds you hear in many films and TV programs were made by a post-production sound design team.

60 Minutes made a bit of a foley faux-pas...

60 Minutes made a bit of a foley faux-pas…

In general, foley artists and sound design teams are so skilled you won’t notice the sounds you’re hearing aren’t real — but sometimes they slip up. The more obvious the error, the more embarrassing it can be for the production team.

So when the news institution that is 60 Minutes aired a report on Tesla Motors and its larger-than-life CEO Elon Musk last weekend on CBS that included a rather large sound design error, it didn’t take long for folks to notice.

You see, despite running since 1968 and being known for its careful reporting and gritty investigations, CBS’s sound engineers added the sound of a high-pitched gasoline engine running to footage of an all-electric Tesla Model S running through a Norwegian tunnel.


As Jalopnik reported earlier this week,  60 Minutes’  sound engineers got a little carried away with their job, adding the wrong sort of sound to the famous electric sedan.

While this appears to have been a genuine technical ‘glitch’ (or perhaps more likely, a late-night in the edit suite) the video has got a great deal of attention since due to this unfortunate faux pas.

And in case you’re wondering, the sound really was added: here’s the original Tesla-made B-roll used by CBS in 60 Minutes.

By Tuesday, CBS was grown-up enough to admit the whoopsie, which is called a result of an ‘audio editing error.’ While we think the audio engineer responsible is still unlikely to live that particular mistake down for a while, we hope that they also get a chance to experience a Model S first hand for themselves. You know, so next time they know how to approximate the noise of a Model S a little more accurately.

The particular tale of woe has got us thinking though. Over the years, we’ve heard some pretty lame excuses for electric car sounds from both computer games and feature films. But which films, games, and TV shows do you think get the sound of electric cars right — and which ones get it wrong?

Leave your nominations in the Comments below.


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