What Does a Superhero Civil War Sound Like? Inside the Sound Design of 'Captain America'

Can you hear that? It's the sound of Captain America: Civil War.

If your social media feed hasn't been overrun with posts about this movie, you are living under a rock — on a distant planet outside of this solar system — that still uses Myspace. In its opening week, Captain America: Civil War has gained the most in advance ticket sales for any superhero film ever, having grossed $673.1 million worldwide.

It makes fans and filmmakers alike wonder about what went on behind the scenes, and SoundWorks Collection has shared an exclusive sound profile featuring the Skywalker Sound team, including Supervising Sound Editor and Sound Designer Shannon Mills and Supervising Sound Editor Dan Laurie.

Action flicks are known for requiring complex and extensive sound design, and many who have never attempted to create such complicated soundscapes would be wise to learn a thing or two about how Mills and Laurie went about it for Civil War. They mention several obstacles they had to overcome in designing the sound effects for the movie, like revitalizing Spiderman's web slinging sounds, making impacts sound powerful enough, and even recording a falconer and other flying devices to be able to work with real audio for the Falcon character. 

One particularly interesting technique Mills mentions (that may be unique to designing the sound on a superhero franchise) is creating leitmotifs for each character. This alerts the viewer that a particular character has arrived, whether they're visible on-screen or not. It definitely helps the audience orient themselves, perhaps on a subconscious level, during an action-packed scene in which a lot of characters are moving in and out of the shot.

Have you seen Captain America: Civil War? What did you like/dislike about the sound design? Let us know in the comments below.     

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