How Fight Scene Sound Effects Are Made for Action Movies

Posted on

Sound effects are often the unsung heroes of action movies, drawing the viewer deeper into the moment and creating a more visceral experience. Speaking to Insider, foley artist Shaun Brennan, explained how he came up with the bone-crunching, flesh-thumping, blood-squelching sounds on projects like The Purge: Election Year and Hereditary.

“It depends on what’s going on in a scene, if it’s a quiet moment I try to make it sound as natural as possible,” he says. “But if you’re in a fight and there’s a lot of noise going on, I will go over the top… So when doing punch sounds, I’ll always do a real natural-sounding punch. He demonstrates by punching the open palm of his hand and slapping his arm. Sometimes he’ll “beef it up” by putting on a pair of heavy work gloves to add some extra thud. “With the hand-to-hand stuff, sometimes I’ll go home covered in bruises,” he says.

It turns out, making a punch sound more like a punch than a real punch takes extraordinary creativity. For instance, Brennan has been known to use a piece of flank steak as a substitute for a human cheek when devising a “fleshier” sound effect for face punches.

Other foodstuffs also contribute to a foley artist’s grisly soundscape: cutting into raw chicken and melon can create raw, “fleshy” sounds for stabbing injuries, and stomping on an apple or exploding a watermelon can give you an exploding skull. “Celery’s really good for bone cracks,” Brennan says. “Gives it a nice little crunch… gives it more impact.”

Outside of fistfights, foley artists help bring action scenes to life by simulating the sounds of various weapons. For instance, Brennan will slide a door lock against a rifle for that metallic rattling sound you so often get when a character in an action movie is packing heat. And to achieve the whooshing sound of a sword swinging through the air, foley artists use simple wooden dowels.

“Not very realistic at all, but it sounds great in the film,” says Brennan. “It’s just that human element; you’ve heard that before, say if a baseball flies past you or something.”

Source link