A director friend sent me this video from The Battle of Britain. In this clip there are no sound effects, only music!
This got me wondering: what is more important, music or sound effects?
The decision is context-dependent, of course, but in an action scene like one, what would you say creates a more visceral gut reaction from the audience: an orchestra pumping away this incredible action music or the sounds of planes, guns and explosions?
Personally, I like both. I found this scene felt odd without the sound effects, but these days things have gone the opposite way and sound effects drown out the music almost entirely.
This is what I think: we all know what running feet sound like, guns, explosions and all other elements of an action scene, but we have never heard the music score which is unique to any given film.
So I think the music should be mixed clearly and the effects mixed lower so that they don’t drown out the music but are still audible.
We only need an impression of the sound effects for them to be understood by our ear, but not so with the music.
That’s what they did in Indiana Jones 3 during the tank chase scene, for example. The tank effects tracks never drowned out the music, even though the action occurred right next to the tank and even on the tank!
I believe in the magic of music and image, that it is a special element of film making.
If I dare say, the sound effects add the realism, make us believe what we see on the screen. but it is the music that brings the magic.
But I am a bit biased!