Hollywood pays billions of dollars every year to produce action movies. Directors like Steven Spielberg, Michael Bay and Christopher Nolan create some excellent sequences, but what goes into a great action sequence? It s not just the exquisite visuals. Directors need to take into account all the other senses as well, and the best directors stimulate your hearing as well as your sight. Hollywood s finest know that not only will you be watching their movies in theaters, but on your own home theater system. Home theater systems involve big TVs and surround sound systems or sound bars to give you a theater experience from the comfort of your couch. Here are some elements to make a great-sounding action sequence.
Bang. Boom. Kaplowy! One exciting aspect of action movies are the huge explosions. Who doesn t love seeing a giant fireball nearly engulf the heroes? But do you really feel an explosion if you don t hear the booming blast? Go ahead, pop in your favorite movie and mute an explosion scene. It s a little underwhelming without the thunderous exploding sound effects. Say what you want about Michael Bay the guy knows how to make an impression. If you re going to have a blast, make sure that you have a stunningly beautiful explosion. And don t skimp on the sound.
It s the little things, too, that make great action sequences. The sounds of raindrops, footsteps on the pavement, bullets bouncing off steel beams these all add an extra element of realism and tension to action scenes. Machine guns spraying bullet after bullet, Gatling guns tearing through objects or maybe even just old-fashioned revolvers in an Old West shootout. Tire squeals and revving engines add excitement to car chases. All of these background noises bring you into the action, especially if sounds are coming from all around you.
Action scenes don t get their entire buzz from cool action sequences. Stories are based around the hero or heroine of the story. We cheer for our heroes and when they succeed; we love when they end with a cool catchphrase. There are certain people you associate with great catchphrases: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis, to name a few. You also have someone like Danny Glover who s made a career with just one line. How about Samuel L. Jackson? He s not defined by his line, but by his boisterous voice. Regardless, these action heroes define their movies by just a couple of words (albeit, sometimes cheesy words).
You want to really draw an audience in? Do not forget the musical score. Where would some of our greatest movies be without the ominous cello strokes to signal that Jaws was near? Would Darth Vader be as imposing without the Imperial Death March? A powerful score is essential to any movie. The right dark, ominous tones can even make a Billy Baldwin scene feel extra dark and brooding. Choose the right music, make sure it doesn t overpower the scene, but make it subtlety obvious. That s how you make a perfect accompaniment score.
There you have it. Action sequences are fun and can be visually stunning; without the right audio, though, these scenes would fall a little short. Audio elements take precision planning and producing to match with gorgeous images. When you combine both together, then you have a real kick-trash action scene!