What’s more satisfying than seeing someone get punched in the face? I suppose seeing someone who truly deserves it, but that’s beside the point. Someone once said there is beauty in violence (and if no one has – I just did) and that is certainly the case when it’s done well on screen. However, I will say there may be beauty in seeing someone being shot to bits but there is an unadulterated joy in seeing a well-executed punch to the face. Punching people on film, or in most cases, pretending to punch people on film is a crucial part of the industry. Many actors, stuntmen, directors and whole special effects departments have this down to an art form.
In the end, though, what’s really needed to sell that connection is sound – the more brutal the crunch of the biff, boff or zowee the more intense a reaction. There is honestly more punch sound effects under the sun than I care to count. Each is like a snowflake unique and nuanced only to itself.
The Punch sounds above were created by me for a film I did a few years ago. It was a mockumentary and the scene containing said punch was not being played for laughs so I wanted the sound to be more realistic that a big heavy blow. I wanted it to seem like someone really got punched and the camera mic just picked it up. To do this I took a large, raw steak and pounded the shit out of it. I wanted some give – like a head snapping back after a punch so I held the steak (in place of a cheek) in my left hand (in place of a skull) and threw some haymakers. The sounds above are the 4 best from the recording – and yes that’s me reacting in pain. My hand was bruised for 2 weeks.
That’s all for now – I gotta go punch the clock. More next week.