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Hey guys,

Exciting sound designing times are coming! So please be patient with me.

I'm sound designing a short which at the end, there's a boxing fight in a ring. It's not a proper Las Vegas fight. There's no "Michael Buffer" guy shouting thourgh a mic: "Lets get reay to rumble", and the audience is some how bored looking.

One of the boxers is young, powerfull and the other one is kinda old and slow. So I was thinking to differentiate them sonically. The young's one hits are going to sound big, with a short whoosh before each hit, while the older's one hits are going to sound kind of dull and slow as he is. I've already asked for a pair of boxing gloves to start with. I'm gonna try and see if I can get some foley sounds with them. I was thinking also to try to hit some leather pillows. Of course we'll record some meat hiting and some body hits. For these sounds I'm thinking of trying some dynamic mics also and perhaps some contact micing on the meat and then on the human body.

So after all this talking, is there any advice specifically for the hits? (Material wise, mic wise)

Thank you very much for your time, Marco.

PS: The list of sounds includes: 1. Ring Footsteps (i'm thinking of using also contact mic for this one, to see what comes out for the young boxer's footsteps). 2. Roping practicing. 3. Some heavy bag hiting. 4. Some speed bag hitting. 5. Walla and perhaps some specific lines of words of the guys practicing. Trainers, etc... 6. Audience specifics and general walla. 7. The Bell

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Usually think of it as working in a couple of layers. A realistic sound such as a body hit, this could be on a slab of meat, a slap to the face or hitting your chest and then adding an impact sound. This could be anything really... swinging a wet towel on a wall, hitting a door or a cardboard box, endless as long as it sounds good and mixed with the realistic sfx.

I don't know how effective a contact mic would be on impact sounds, worth a try though, I'd get some close mic action boost the mid and add compression etc.

Maybe think about the breathing, deep long hollow breaths for the slow boxer and something more hissy and fast for the faster boxer.

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  • Usually all of the best combat sounds out there and squashed like crazy with compression. It's where they get the beef from. Same deal with other transient sounds like gunshots and impacts. Recorded raw they all sound week, squash them right and they have a whole new dimension and force. – Stavrosound Jan 29 '12 at 21:51
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Try pushing a kickdrum through the LFE for the baddest punches. When mixed good, this will feel like a punch in the stomach of the audience. Also try to get some hits on crunshed ice (packed in a towel or so), they will give you a nice wet punch. Good luck!

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The game Skyrim has this slowed down and crystally bit crushed sound when you slice someone's head off. At first it was a little disconcerting but it's a neat effect.

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  • I think that was non-intentional. That crystalization happens when you real time slow down a lo-fi sound (16bit/44100khz) with low-res pitch shifter. – Kabraxis Jan 30 '12 at 16:30
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I've heard, from someone who's tried it, that bashing around a raw chicken filled with peanuts (in the shell) is a pretty good layer for body/face hits.

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