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Tip #791: Tips for Better Battle Scenes
Creating visceral battles only requires emphasizing basic tenets of filmmaking
This article, written by Jourdan Aldredge, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. These are the highlights.
If you think about it, every battle scene comes down to one thing: one side wants something that the other side doesn’t want to give up — the high ground. A beach. A prisoner, information, or maybe a way home.
Fortunately, creating visceral battles in smaller film projects only requires some of the most basic tenets of filmmaking — world-creating, empathetic storytelling, safely performed stunts, and lots of simulated explosions.
Here are some tips:
- Create an Accurate World. When it comes to classic battle scenes, you can’t do much better than the harrowing, large-scale sequences found in the Francis Ford Coppola horrors-of-war epic Apocalypse Now. And, while it’s a bit dated (released in 1979), its world building is by far the standard for great battles and impressive set pieces.
- Long Takes Add Realism. Shoot long sequences that keep your viewers on the edge of their seats, trying not to blink. The long take sequence is a hallmark of many notable action, adventure, and war movies like Saving Private Ryan and The Raid: Redemption.
- Compositing Stunts. Compositing action sequences in post is a great way to create highly technical stunts in a safe and controlled manner. This approach is perfect for anyone with limited production resources who needs battle, fight, and action sequences on a budget.
- Explosion Sounds and Visual Effects. War and battle scenes have only grown more over the top over the years. However, an alternative for DIY filmmakers is working with explosive elements in the edit.
- The Importance of Your Soundtrack. Background music highlights cinematic elements and heightens the narrative stakes. The right background music elevates individual scenes and adds an undeniable high-production-value sheen to your entire project. Don’t sleep on your soundtrack.
The full article, linked above, has videos and links that illustrate this in much more detail.