London Brawling: Behind The Scenes


What’s up guys! I’m Nathan the BTS guy!

We had a really cool thread for VGHS BTS back in the day, and I figured we ought to have a similar spot for folks to ask questions about what goes on behind the camera of our RocketJump shorts.

Be sure to check out the newest BTS video for our Kingsman short! It was a lot of fun putting this one together.

London Brawling - Short

Cool, I love the BTS!
Smal question; Is that short even out yet?
I like to watch the the behind the scenes after I’ve seen the scenes :smile:


Hahaha! Yeah, check it out on the main channel!


Awesome BTS as usual! Thank you for bring us this! I always find the BTS to be just as entertaining (if not more) than the short itself. Great stuff!

A few questions:

  • What were the times for the shoot schedules? Clint said it was a two day shoot so roughly how many hours per day did you guys shoot for?

  • How was the choreography planned? Was it figured out before the shoot or on set with the stuntmen?

  • Man, the amount of crew for Rocket Jump has really grown over the years! Was everyone part of RJ or were there people from different groups (like Action Factory).


WOW! I love the fighting choreography! And the way it is captured by the camera! Truly a great video, loved it.

Great BTS also!


Glad you liked it!

  • Both days were ~12 hours.

  • Yung was the action designer, and he, Clint, Lauren, and the stunt guys did a ton of pre-viz for three days before the shoot.

  • We had bit of a mixed group on this one. Some new faces like Yung for example, but Lauren has been shooting with FreddieW/RocketJump since the Flower Warfare days!


Lauren did some awesome camera work! The stunt guys were all very impressed!


Freddie seems to have some real stunt/action skills, aye?


One, Nate is probably the best BTS editor/shooter ever. MAD PROPS

Two, feel free to ask me your camera or operating questions if you want, I’ll be checking in all day!


Great bts and the short was amazing as well!
One question: at one point in the fight scene, how did you do those quick “side zoom” effects? (They start at about 1:21). I am guessing that was just great camera operating skills by @Lauren :smile:


He definitely picked up the choreography very quickly!

Yung rocked it with some sweet action sequences, and actually ended up doubling for Freddie with that big back hit!


Side zoom-- Do you mean the quick pans to left or right? Those were done by operating : )


Yeah, I meant those. Great job on the operating! You’re awesome! :smiley:


How did you avoid all those construction sounds in the audio?


Our audio guy tried to get his boom mic as close to the actors as possible and hoped for the best. Unfortunately there’s not a lot you can do in that kind of situation. In the end, the vast majority of the audio was done in post. Our own Kevin Senzaki designed and mixed this piece.


We also had the actors do a lot of wild lines and wild sounds– recording the audio for grunts, footsteps, hits and yells, without camera, when it was quieter, so Kevin could cut in sounds after-the-fact and still have audio that sounds like it was recorded in that space.


When Kevin records Foley, do you aim for something stylized and cartoony or something more “realistic”? I’m not saying either is bad but how do you get the sound effects to match the “tone” of the clip? Like if I made a “gritty” action flick, the classic swat-watermelon-with-board thing might not work.


Psssst @Kevin_Senzaki, you’re being summoned.


It’s helpful to get some basic library assets so you have a few ready-made options you can try out, use, or blend with your own recordings. While it’s ultimately down to “personal taste,” which is difficult to define, here’s what I think about when approaching a fight scene:

What’s my reaction, as the audience, supposed to be when people get hit?
Unless you’re a very grounded drama (with little fighting) or a very realistic sports film (like say a biopic about a boxer with a documentary feel), you’re probably going to be exaggerating things a lot. Even movies with “gritty” fight scenes have absolutely ridiculous whooshes and hits (see this scene for an example).
I personally feel that violence, in the repulsive, painful sense, is all about the details, not how big it is. If you’re going for a lighter-hearted tone, it’s okay to have big, ridiculous smacks and thuds when people get hit; this actually can help the violence seem less serious. For grittier fighting, I actually tend to tone back the hits to more clothy-feeling thuds, and watermelon smacks can work well for face hits in this kind of film. You’ll notice the few “violent” hits in the Kingsman short (the bone breaks) have extra cracks and pops in them so they feel a little more “harsh” than the other hits.

What subgenre is the fight scene?
While it may sound weird, whooshes can really date a fight scene. Fights up through the mid-90’s often had very vocal-like, mid-range whooshes. The Matrix influenced a trend of equally tonal whooshes, but with a more fluid, watery quality, where the whooshes are long, dynamic sounds that flow around the strikes. I feel like more modern/gritty films overall favor shorter, snappier whooshes that are less mid-range and feel more like cloth snaps. If you’re doing a genre parody, definitely look at references to figure out what’s been done - getting the sound right can subliminally add a lot towards nailing a tone.

For Rocket Jump videos, I typically go for a “modern with a whimsical flair” approach. While all my sounds in the Kingsman scene are exaggerated (to make the scene more dynamic, exciting and cinematic), the whooshes are fairly cloth-heavy (except when Freddie does the “come here” gesture - which I chose to instead play more as a “martial arts parody” with older-sounding whooshes). While the hits are huge, they’re less goofy than old-school martial arts “KA-POW” sounds. I felt that when blows are being traded, the fight is supposed to be “cool” - while there’s humorous use of the umbrella, the hits themselves aren’t supposed to be funny, so I made sure they had some edge to them. The comic moments (like the banana peels) were treated differently, and I used more “conventional” cartoon noises like slide whistles and big splats to emphasize the goofiness.

While I try to game plan in advance when I’m selecting my samples for a project, some of it also comes from experimentation. If you edit something and you’re not sure, try out any other ideas you may have, and compare them. If you have trouble deciding, sometimes taking a short break and coming back can really refresh your perspective, too.

I feel like this got super-rambly, so feel free to hit me back with more questions or things you’d like me to elaborate on! Writing words about sound is tricky, so let me know if I missed part of your question or was unclear.


First, this is absolutely recommended practice! Please, everybody do this! Wild sounds can save your life.

However - for this short, there was so much sound design and a limited time frame, I actually didn’t make much use of the wild lines material. With every whoosh, hit, gunshot, bullet ricochet, and all the umbrella powers requiring my time, I decided to do a quick filter pass (using the iZotope RX noise removal suite) to clean up the production sound as much as possible, and ultimately deemed it “good enough” to use, though this isn’t guaranteed to work. (Hence my always recommending wild lines.)

In the final mix, 90% of the grunts and yells during the fight are the original “dirty” production sound (and 100% of the dialogue, except possibly Freddie’s outro monologue), but I mixed it to try to hide the background noise problems. This is a combination of properly blending your sound levels, adding background city ambiance to help smooth things out, and, in this case, selective ADR to patch holes that I couldn’t fix (I ended up doing all the extra bad guy grunts myself, and Freddie redid a few yells and other assorted vocal grunts).