Hits & Impacts

Hits & Impacts

After we spoke about one of the soft syncing point types let's move over to the next category of edit points: Big hits and impacts.

Well produced hits will help your track become much more powerful, hard-hitting and licensable. No editor wants to use weak hits these days - unless for very rare, specific occasions.

Let's talk about two things now.

First question: Where to place hits?

Second question: How to create good sounding hits?

To answer the first question: You can place your hits wherever you want, as long as they sound natural and steady - particularly on important accents and important beats.

As a rule of thumb, you should preferably use most hits in the most powerful sections of your trailer track which are the first and the second climax.

Remember what I explained earlier:

Often a trailer cue does not build up properly enough because there is way too much going on in the build up already. You might incorporate some hits here and there but I would highly recommend saving all the energy for the culmination of your trailer track.

When you start incorporating hits and impacts into your tracks you should make sure to emphasize the beginning of each or every second measure by working in some kind of a really big impact sound, optionally with a bit longer tail, at these points. You can highlight the main hits by adding whooshes, taiko rolls, cymbal rolls or a short rise right in front of your main hits. You can even combine those elements.

These main hits will finally be the main syncing points your editor can make use of.

Besides these, you can add hits with a short sound tail in between to create some kind of a rhythm. Whenever you plan to incorporate hits into your track you should imagine that each hit usually represents one video cut in the potential trailer (hence, don't go too crazy and insert hits in 1/32 intervals or similar).

This would only cause trouble on the side of the editor. Finally, he might be forced to completely remove your "FX - Hits" audio stem and license individual hits from specific SFX catalogs which are out there in this industry as well. He would have to create his own hit patterns using those sounds which again causes inconvenience. It's all about deadlines and speed in this industry!

This happens here and there, especially if the editors and supervisors really love the musical arrangement. However, if you can deliver a perfect product then why not simply doing it?

Creating big and powerful hits

Now let's go over and talk about the second question: How do I create big and powerful hits?

A good sounding hit is all about having a full sound which means that we will need to combine low end (boom, depth) mid range (punch, body) and high-end elements (snap, crunch, sizzle, air) to achieve it. Think of it as if it was a puzzle. You want the hit to sound full and complete so you will need to put together all the puzzle pieces.

When putting together low-end, mid-range, and high-end elements you could equalize away everything that you don't need properly. Too many similar, overlaying elements could cause muddiness in your mix. Just try to use low-pass or high-pass filters and you will be fine!

Which sample libraries?

If you don't really know which sample library you should use for creating big sounding hits and impacts I would highly recommend to start with Heavyocity's flagship library Damage. I would venture to say that this is THE sound library a trailer music composer should absolutely have in his sound arsenal.

Last but not least let's have a look at a few trailers so that you can actually see and hear what this chapter is all about. Pay attention to all hard video cuts and the associated hit and impact sounds. All the listed trailers are just a few examples. You can literally hear those big in-your-face sounds in pretty much every trailer out there.

Gods Of Egypt:

Jason Bourne:

Assassin's Creed:

Captain America - Civil War:

X-Men Apocalypse: