Sound designer Ben Burtt shares how many of the iconic sounds in the Star Wars universe were first created.
I can’t think of a more iconic sound from my childhood than the “bbpshowwunnnnn”Which came from the toy lightsabers that were so popular in the early 2000s right after the release of The phantom menace. It’s crazy to think how that one sound can evoke so many feelings of fantasy and adventure only to find out that its source came from the hum of an old movie projector.
As with many canonical elements of the war of stars The universe that now feels so high and magical comes from so many harmless inventions and happy accidents.
Specifically, focus on the sounds of the war of stars Universe, let’s examine how sound designers Ben Burtt was able to develop many of these iconic sounds from his work Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.
Starting with perhaps the most famous sound in the entire galaxy, the lightsaber’s audio comes straight from the cinema. Burtt relates how the original inspiration for the lightsaber buzz came from his time as a projectionist at USC, as the reveal came straight from old 35mm projectors in the movie booth.
Burtt didn’t find the hum in itself “dangerous” enough, however, so he experimented with a variety of broken microphones, television buzzes, and some clever looping techniques to simulate the sounds of the lightsaber moving.
Honestly, we could highlight any sound effect Burtt lists in this video, but the blaster sounds are especially unique. They also just seem to sound exactly the way laser emitters should. Burtt’s inspiration for the blasters also came by chance when he discovered the distinctive sound made by twisting a radio tower guy rope at the campsite.
To reproduce the sound, Burtt went to the Los Angeles area to find just the right radio tower wire, tapping each with a small metal key until he found one with the perfect sound to record and modify.
Burtt’s first assignment as a sound designer for the original war of stars might be his most famous audio invention. Early in the beginnings of A new hopeBurtt had to rough cut what Chewbacca’s roar would sound like so the production would at least have a scratch mark to work on.
Burtt would eventually choose to use bears as a parent animal, and even cite his preference for a particular cub called the “pooh,” which offered lots of emotional roars. Burtt would then break down those sounds and sort them into different emotions that he would use during the productions.
An acoustic undercurrent for everyone war of stars Movies that you may not always recognize, but definitely should always appreciate, come from how vivid all the sets and space stations are. For the Death Star in particular, Burtt worked hard to give every scene on the gigantic space station a “quiet rumble” and a “rhythmic pounding, almost like a heartbeat”.
When it comes to sound design, it says a lot about how important it is to creating the world in any film or video project. In many ways, sound design can be just as important as the soundtrack in engaging the audience and informing them how to feel.
If the lightsaber could be the most iconic war of stars Sound, the roar of the TIE fighters could be the most terrifying. The way the sound rips your ears as the starfighters flash across the screen is perhaps one of the most visceral elements in the entire franchise. The origins of the TIE chase screech are also some of the most surprising.
While Burtt insists he preferred to create the bulk of the sounds organically for his first one war of stars There were some film that he adapted from the back catalogs of 20th Century Fox and Fox Film. In this case, the TIE Fighter scream was a direct rift and manipulation of the elephant roar combined with a racing car driving over wet pavement.
This is a practice that has continued through and into sound design at the latest war of stars Movies and series like The rise of Skywalker and The Mandolorian.
What’s your favorite sound of the war of stars Universe? Let us know in the comments!
Don’t forget to check out our mega post on education war of stars Links too!