I've been asked a myriad of times to provide an "Epic" soundtrack.

Depending on the project, I do my best to turn over a rich, deep and dramatic palette and mix it in such a way to contribute to the storyline's tension and climax.

What does the word "Epic" mean to you when you're asked "Make me an epic soundtrack for this film"?

Does it mean higher resolution recordings? More low-end and LFE? Make more room for a gigantic orchestral score? Or does it mean something more to you? I'm curious to what you think.

3 Answers 3


Brian De Palma, Kathryn Bigelow, Christopher Nolan, Steven Soderbergh, Francis & Sofia Coppola, Chan-wook Park, Kinji Fukasaku, Takashi Miike, Shusuke Kaneko, ... I mean I could go on...

The reason why I start with directors is that you can only have an epic soundtrack when your picture is just as epic as the soundtrack. If you have an overly ostentatious soundtrack with a picture that lacks any kind of important element, then this could hinder making an epic movie (which most of the time requires an epic soundtrack that FITS). The director makes or breaks the film's epic-ness as a whole.

Definition of Epic: heroic; majestic; impressively great; of unusually great size or extent

So on sound side based off of that definition, in my opinion, audio that brings you closer to the hero, spans clarity over an environment creating a majestic soundscape, tells the story with great detail and thought, and sometimes my favorites are enormously spectrum filled monster roars (see World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Trailer)

One of my favorite cinematic openings is "Old Boy": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFzFOwdh5QA Quality has been smashed and the impact is softened by no subtitles, especially if you havent seen the movie. But if you have, you rock.

Have you ever tried to design sound to an animation that lacks detail? You can design the most intricate detailed spectrum-interesting filled sound fx for an event, yet if the picture has nothing to visually emit your unbelievable sound design... then its pretty hard to make it epic. HOWEVER, art movies like "koyaanisqatsi" (Scored by Philip Glass) and documentaries like "Rivers and Tides" are in my opinion epic not because of the detail, but of the minimalism involved with the soundtrack that MATCHES the minimalism of the film.

Epic for entertainment, I believe, is a balancing act between picture and sound.

In just audio? Pink Floyd, Mars Volta, Led Zeppelin, King Krimson... on and on and on :)

  • 1
    Thanks. Great answer. Yes, I've had a few bad visuals to cut sound to, as well as beautiful visuals with distorted dialogue - I too believe proper integration is key. P.S. Just attended "The Wall" concert yesterday. It was amazing.
    – Utopia
    Dec 1, 2010 at 6:57
  • YES! Dude high five for prog rock!!
    – C3Sound
    Dec 1, 2010 at 7:38
  • Epic sound in not-so-epic-but-really-funny video: youtube.com/watch?v=cbBlYfTbA44
    – cambraca
    Dec 1, 2010 at 16:53

I have to have a bit of a rant on this: i think if someone asks for an "epic" sound track, it indicates a lack of understanding of sound design on their part.

Given the time, i'd get the client to give me examples of films/scenes with sound that resonates with their ideas for their project and try to figure out what they like about it. Asking for an epic soundtrack is like sitting down at a restaurant and saying "i'd like a delicious meal please".

I agree with C3Sound on the matching of production values too; the films that are most commonly described as epic got that way by careful coordination of every audiovisual element. To use another food metaphor: you can put chocolate ganache on a piece of toast, but that doesn't make it a cake.

It must be lunchtime.

  • 6 more characters left to say...I concur.
    – C3Sound
    Dec 1, 2010 at 19:25

Epic to me is like the wonderful discovery of cockroaches infesting my kitchen or clicking my pen IN

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