Balancing Sound Design, Music, and Non-Stop Action with 'G.I. Joe: Retaliation'

If you've been following the SoundWorks Collection series, hopefully by now you've learned a thing or two about sound design and the professionalism and effort that goes into bringing us the subtle, and sometimes not-so-subtle, effects and mixes that really bring motion pictures to life (I know I have). Michael Coleman, who produces the videos, keeps churning out gold -- this time we've got the crew behind G.I. Joe: Retaliation, and the work that goes into being objective and trying to find the right balance between sound design, music, and dialogue throughout a non-stop action film. Check it out below.

Here's the trailer for the film:

And the SoundWorks Collection video:

Here is a little bit of an extended listen of the Cobra Commander voice:

Filmmakers are constantly trying to find a balance for the audience between bombarding them with too much and not providing them with enough to keep things interesting. Certainly Hollywood films have different requirements than your average character-driven independent film, but all of the same principles can apply regardless of the budget.

One of the big takeaways for me is how important all of these individual elements are in relation to the tone of the film. A movie like this could very easily become downright silly and cartoony if certain aspects of the production are pushed in the wrong direction, and it's easy to forget that sound design plays a huge role in this. Footsteps that seem too dramatic or over-the-top sword sounds could make the film feel like a parody in no time, so it's great to see the director and the sound team addressing this issue (that's why they are working at the highest level after all).

What are some instances where you felt certain movies got too dramatic with sound design in relation to the tone or bombarded the audience with too much audio and visual stimuli?


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Your Comment


do people actually enjoy these kinds of movies

March 31, 2013 at 11:27PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM

john jeffreys

The first GiJoe was a classic case of "so bad it's good" and I really loved it yes. There were moments in it that I still remember fondly.

April 1, 2013 at 10:08AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM

Rafael Lino

To appreciate it, you have to accept it for what it is, and I do.

April 1, 2013 at 2:16PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


G.I. Joe probably ranks as my second favourite childhood toy behind LEGO!

April 1, 2013 at 7:43PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


I really felt this director was far from interesting. He mentions a 3 minute sequence withhout music as a great prowess...but to me that's called cinema.

April 1, 2013 at 8:28PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Beautiful. Long live FILM!!! Digital is an ugly medium.

April 1, 2013 at 10:29PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM