Please forgive me if this question seems a little bit weird. I'm mixing a feature which has a tunnel scene where police and bad guys are shooting each other. The director added many CGI gun fire on screen so that it looks like everyone is opening fire at the same time! So if I add gunshot sfx on every firing CG, the whole thing will sound like a mess! Does anyone have experience of this kind sound design? What guidelines should I follow?

2 Answers 2


Approach the scene how you would see it. It's likely that all of the guns weren't fired in the same millisecond, plus some guns are louder than others or have different firing patterns that would probably mask other sounds.

There's also other elements to a scene like bullets hitting bad guys, ricochets, sirens, explosions, yelling -- many ways to provide an audio landscape by choosing the proper arrangement of FX as you would perceive them.

  • The main problem is they are mostly carrying same model of gun. There are a few close up shots that two people firing at the same time. Should I eq two gun with different frequency range?
    – Ah Kei
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 5:27
  • Well, the scene is framed to view, so frame your audio to hear what you see. Be there - what are you hearing? Which gun is closer to you? You can definetly eq gunshots to varying degrees based on where they are from your point of view. You can also pan and duck them as the camera dictates. Maybe shell casings hit the ground, maybe police radios are broadcasting, maybe there's background shouting -- there's lots going on and you probably don't need to insert every single gunshot at full volume -- but be creative and immerse yourself and consider what you would hear if you were right there. Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 5:53
  • And be mindful of your eq choices. You would eq differently if the camera was first person for a scared civilian who was covering their ears, verses first person for a cop on the front lines, shooting. 1) what is the sound, 2) where is the sound, 3) what does it sound like from the perspective you are seeing. Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 6:04

That reminds me of the Lord Of The Rings documentary bonus material (almost as good as the movie itself!), in which a sound engineer described the battle with the Oliphants. They first included each and every stamping sound of the oliphants and it was constant thunder. So the only solution was to remove most of the stomping to emphasize it.

And here is my point: The final scene sounds really impressive, although most of the visible stomping makes no sound. As in your scene, there is a lot of noise, even arrows being released and hitting something. The sounds belong to the things the eye is guided towards. So instead of adding all guns, then all cars etc., start with the most obvious items and descend until you reach background noise.

The audience watches the scene only once, and before they notice that one pistol in the corner didn't make a sound, it is already over. Another nice example I think is the famous Matrix Lobby Shoot-Out.

  • There are many video shots that two people firing same model of guns at the same time
    – Ah Kei
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 17:26

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