Students discover how to simulate the sound of real rain by making an ancient instrument called a rainstick.
Traditional rainsticks are thought to originate in Latin America and the southern United States. People made them by drying a cactus (which is naturally hollow), removing the needles, and driving the needles through the cactus. They filled the hollow tube with beans or pebbles to simulate the noise of rain.
In movies, sounds are often simulated since the real source is not available or are difficult to record "live," such as footsteps and falling rain. "Foley artists" are people whose job is to make sure that the sounds in a movie are convincing. The Foley technique is named after Jack Foley, a sound editor for Universal Studios. Foleying is an excellent means of supplying the subtle sounds that production microphones often miss. For example, the rustling of clothing and a squeak of a saddle when a rider mounts his horse give a scene a touch of realism.