Creating Big Trailer Hits
And I’m not talking about making a hit trailer track either, but rather how to create powerful impacts and hits for your tracks! Good hits will help your track become much more powerful, hard-hitting and licensable. No editor wants to use weak hits in trailers - it’s all about getting those big, rich and juicy hits for the cut points.
So let me show you a way of thinking when it comes to creating these.
It’s all about getting a full sound. If you take an already powerful hit, you can dissect it into 3 main elements (and these are with frequency in mind):
Low end (boom, depth)
Mid range (body, punch)
High end (crunch, snap, sizzle, air)
The low end gives the hit most of the depth and the boom - the part that shakes your local cinema during the trailers and commercials. The mid part creates the main body of the sound, it gives it punch and weight, while the high end provides all the shining high frequencies that make it sound complete and snappy.
What I’m getting at is that your hits need to be created with these in mind. Having all of these three present in one single hit will make that hit feel and sound complete. Take out the bass element and you loose the bassy, shaky feel of it - and the same goes for the other two elements.
Build up your sounds to have all of these present. Also, one thing that goes for all of the under is that when creating a hit with them, you can also EQ away the other parts of the elements. For example if you only want the bass part of a source sound, just do a low-pass EQ on everything over 100Hz, or if you only want the sizzling highs of a sound file, use a high-pass and remove everything under 4 kHz.
The Low End
This element is what every hungers for - the BASS! The thick low end. Slam on some bass in your hits and they’ll sound powerful - but there’s a caveat: bass is tricky to mix, and those low frequencies are quite fussy when it comes to space. Make sure to not use too many bass elements in one hit. 2 or 3 deep (or even just one good one) bass elements should be your maximum, otherwise you risk getting a too muddy low end.
The Mid Range
Most of the sound I’d say lies here - it’s a crucial area. This is where the character, body and punch of your hit lies. A good mid range has the powerful mids of percussion and no muddying bass - simply have good source sounds with powerful mids (Damage anyone?) and your hit will be very powerful and punchy.
The High End
The high end is an area of the frequency spectrum where the air, sizzle and sparkling feel lies. Add on some sparkly, airy and somewhat sharp sounds on your hits, and together with the low end and the mid, your hits will be very much complete. Remember to EQ away some low and mids from your high end elements.
That’s it for now guys. Just remember to layer a bunch of these together, but be careful the lower down you go in the frequency spectrum. Every awesome hit should have all 3 of these present. If you only have one of them, it serves only as a special effect hit, or perhaps just a boom if you remove the highs and mids.
Stay tuned for more in-depth tutorials and courses on this subject; how to create proper hits, powerful sound design for trailer music and much more. Here is one cool little tutorial on how to create a boom!
Until next time - stay creative!
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Co-founder of Evenant, Walid is a composer, mechanical engineer,
concept artist and entrepreneur from Sweden. Travelling and exploring new opportunities, always looking for new things to learn and create.