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STAR WARS sounds- how'd they do that?


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i remember reading that the blaster sounds were made by a guy tapping on a guidewire, but does anyone know how they got some of the other sounds? when he made the original, lucas specifically wanted "natural" sounds, so he hired a guy to do location foley for about a year. #1: artoo how'd they do that? what are his beeps & whistles? #2: jango/slave 1 charges i mentioned them in the "so.... how was it?" thread (so did popmusic). the audio goes all quiet right before they explode, then BWOOOAAAAAAANNNNN. it could probably be emulated on a moog, but it sounds.... i don't know. #3: ships slave 1 sounds incredible, i don't remember it sounding like that in ESB. the very first star destroyer in ANH was pretty dramatic, and the naboo ships at the start of AOTC sound pretty cool, too. #4: AOTC misc fett's toxic dart, mos espa robot chauffeur (could be as simple as over-autotune), wat tambor (my avatar), the flying creatures' energy weapons in the conveyor belt scene, tusken roar.... i can't think of any other specifics right now. i don't want to sample these sounds, i want to make them myself. any ideas? -------------------------- use the force, wewus.
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I think the "BWOANNN" sound was some sort of something being plucked. Maybe a detuned guitar string played close to the bridge. Did you notice the feedback used as FX during the chase scene in the city?
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my research has continued. ben burtt, the "supervising sound editor" for the original series, is the editor for the prequel trilogy. not the sound editor, the EDITOR. the sound editor for the prequels is matthew wood. he recorded sounds in the field with a portable recorder, just like burtt did. wood also rerecorded dialogue using a portable mac system. [url=http://www.starwars.com/bio/matthewwood.html]matthew wood bio at starwars.com[/url] [url=http://www.demon.co.uk/gallery/AppleFeature.html]a small bit on how he used macs & protools[/url] [url=http://www.starwars.com/episode-ii/video/making/making7.html]a "making of" documentary featuring burtt & wood[/url] (9.5MB- i haven't downloaded it yet, it'll take forever on my dialup) [url=http://www.episode-ii.co.uk/newsletters/starwars_com_Homing_Beacon_21_.htm]an issue of "the homing beacon" (starwars.com newsletter)[/url] a quote: [i]"During production, Wood championed the use of a new recording technology, continuing Episode II's groundbreaking nature. "The production sound was recorded at a 24-bit rate on a new hard-disk technology called [/i] [url=http://www.coffeysound.com/store/deva.html]Deva[/url] . [i]It's a four-channel hard-disk recorder that records onto DVD-RAM"[/i] more quotes: regarding some sounds that ben burtt recorded for EP1 matthew wood: [i]"The droids fly these little bikes called staps. To create their sound, Ben took an electric razor and put it in a frying pan. So he recorded that and then processed the sound with various effects. The pod race was really the main effects sequence of the film. That sequence includes the sound of formula racecars, helicopters, and high-octane engines with a fair amount of processing... Actually, one of the creatures in the underwater sequence is Bens two-year-old daughter making growling sounds. One day he heard her making these noises in her crib, - so he recorded her and then processed the sound." "Ben used a Synclavier and something called a [/i] [url=http://www.symbolicsound.com/brochure/]Kyma[/url] [i] for sound design. The Kyma is a DSP farm with a software interface that can export files to Protools."[/i] . whew! -------------------- BWOOOAAAAAAANNNNN
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[quote] [url=http://www.starwars.com/episode-ii/video/making/making7.html]a "making of" documentary featuring burtt & wood[/url] (9.5MB- i haven't downloaded it yet, it'll take forever on my dialup)[/quote]the video is GREAT. i couldn't figure out how to save it, but there are a couple of quick shots of their workstation that i need to freezeframe to identify gear. the video mentions that burtt was sound editor on ep1 (i said he was editor above). wood worked for lucas, and was hired to bring burtt into the present as far as sound technology. he took over as supervising sound editor for ep2 when burtt became editor (although lucas was basically editor, too). most of the video is wood recording and commenting on an old british airplane with a wooden prop. friggin cool. he used a boom mic with a grey fuzzy windscreen that i've seen before. anyone know what it is?
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[quote]he used a boom mic with a grey fuzzy windscreen that i've seen before. anyone know what it is?[/quote]A fishing pole holding a shotgun mic, that's in a zeppelin covered by a dead-cat? -Danny

Grace, Peace, V, and Hz,

 

Danny

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[quote]Originally posted by wager47: [b]he used a boom mic with a grey fuzzy windscreen that i've seen before. anyone know what it is?[/b][/quote]It's a windjammer with a 360 degree windshield inside, always used with a very finely tuned suspension for the microphone. It starts with the suspension: [img]http://www.noyzboyz.nl/ryc-sus.jpg[/img] Scroll down [url=http://www.noyzboyz.nl/rycote.html]this page[/url] to see some very intresting suspensions for a variety of microphone setups including XY & MS stereo! Then you add the windshield: [img]http://www.noyzboyz.nl/ryc-ws.jpg[/img] And finally, the windjammer: [img]http://www.noyzboyz.nl/ryc-wj.jpg[/img] When disasembled, the whole package looks like this: [img]http://www.noyzboyz.nl/RYC.GIF[/img] Clever stuff, isn't it? It's made by [url=http://www.rycote.com]Rycote[/url] . (They also manufacture shock mounts for studio use.) /Mats

http://www.lexam.net/peter/carnut/man.gif

What do we want? Procrastination!

When do we want it? Later!

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[quote]Originally posted by wager47: [b] [url=http://www.starwars.com/episode-ii/video/making/making7.html]a "making of" documentary featuring burtt & wood[/url] (9.5MB- i haven't downloaded it yet, it'll take forever on my dialup) [/b][/quote]Urrgh, login required. Nevermind, I'll pass. -- Rob
I have the mind of a criminal genius.....I keep it in the freezer next to mother.
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you're lazy, young padawan dude. like any login site, you just do it once. starwars.com is for star wars fans. if you like sw, you need to check it out. there's a feature called "star wars databank" that contains detailed information about every character, location, and item, cross-referenced. if you ever had ANY question about sw, the answer is there.
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Hey Wager, Like any login site, I refuse unless I absolutely need/want to access the info. I watch the movies, I own the movies, I don't need to know the minutae. If they offered a video cam into Natalie Portman's shower, I'd sign up. Otherwise I can get by on my own :wave: -- Rob
I have the mind of a criminal genius.....I keep it in the freezer next to mother.
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am i obsessed with star wars? yeah maybe. but so what? as you can tell, i've done a lot of research, and i figure since i'm interested in stuff people write about here- on most any sound or music related topic- someone might actually follow this thread. my copy of MIX showed up today, and there's an AOTC article! woohoo! of course since it's MIX and i'm a musician who is just [i]learning[/i] recording techniques & lingo, a lot of this mag is over my head. i'm lucky if i understand 47% of it. i'm getting smarter, though. it's a tech article by larry blake. most of it is about mixing. he adresses a couple of issues that popmusic did in another thread here. i didn't notice the occasional (actually, frequent) noise during some portions of dialogue the first time i saw it, but after pop's post, i did the second time. this article says that [i]"about 45% of the dialog in episode 2 is from production, perhaps an all-time high for the star wars series." ... "the noises on the set, including wind machines and mecanical devices, made it a difficult film to record sound on. george shooting wide and tight [simultaneously] makes it almost impossible to use boom microphones."[/i] and also [i]"the disadvantage of filming high-definition... was the amount of noise-producing equipment added to the set: plasma screen monitors, HDCAM decks, hard drives, associated video testing gear, etc. supervising sound editor matthew wood says, 'there was a constant drone. i brought [dialog recording mixer] michael semanick in early to see how much of the noise we could get rid of. most of it we could, but sometimes we had to loop lines because the noise was dynamic and broadband. as the 24p technology evolves, i'm sure it will become more like a broadcast HD setup, with the wquipment in trucks parked outside the set.'"[/i] ("looping" in films is overdubbing dialogue in the studio) dialogue noise is especially noticable to me in the arena battle scene, this article notes that the music was dropped from that scene in the final mix. music might have helped to cover up some noise. (i mentioned above that they used a 24bit [i]Diva[/i] to record production sound, the main mikes were sennheiser mkh-50's & 60's (stage) and 416s & 816s (location).) pop also mentioned that he thought the movie wasn't loud enough- at least compared to the other sw films. apparently they tried to not make this a "loud movie", but [i]"build in dynamics, like a symphony."[/i] there was a sw thread in the keyboard forum that linked to an article heavily criticizing the music- specifically lucas' liberal editing of john williams' score (pop may have mentioned that too- what a smart dude he is!). this MIX article confirms that. [i]"lucas would have [the editor] solo the music and would pick through it, commenting on transitions and places to drop or change cues."[/i] that seems a bit weird to me. like jimmy page rebuilding a les paul. another interesting item- in the final audio mix (in protools), most of the 7 reels had 12,000 to 14,000 fade files! it took 20 minutes to open a session! --- i started this thread mostly to answer questions that i had about particular sound effects, but much of the info i've found about "star wars sound" has been about dialogue recording and overall sound mixing. i have found some good effects tidbits (like the coruscant vehicles were layers that included a much-used electric razor vibrating viola, harp, and bass strings) but the main two thing i've learned about sw sound effects are 1: many of the sounds are accidents- burrt is looking for a sound to use as a speeder, but instead finds that it's more usable as a door, and 2: each sound effect is at least a few layered sounds, heavily edited.
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  • 4 weeks later...
wow! i started this thread in may, then the june MIX does a pretty good article on star wars sound. today my final issue of MacAddict shows up, and they have an article called "the sounds of star wars!" lots of pictures and tech details (but not as techy as MIX, obviously). <> MA has a video interview on the cd, too- sweet! sometimes those rock, they did a great BT one a few months ago that was just a camera over his shoulder while he did an "example remix." anyway, i'm still into star wars sounds, and i'm going to keep posting stuff here. even if noboby else cares. i'll post again later today, in fact- after i check this new stuff out. may the force... ah hell, you guys don't need the force. w47 oh- [b]Mats[/b]- i never thanked you for your nice rundown of the windjammer- thanks!
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not too much new info in the article, but the video interview was cool. some highlights: * [url=http://www.mtools.info/]Mtools[/url] this is a sound cataloguing/auditioning utility that they use. it looks damn cool. * as mentioned above, matthew wood made many field recordings to be used as sounds for episodes 1&2, ben burtt did the same thing for the "classic trilogy". one interesting wood quote is about the teamwork- "you can get kind of emotionally attached to a sound recording you've done...", so he gives ben the whole recording, and ben takes what [i]he[/i] likes and edits/pitches/layers it. * anakin's pod (episode 1) recorded at an open racetrack in northern california. "all you had to do was put a number on your car, sign a release, and they'd let you drive." anakin's pod was primarily recordings of some "tricked-out porsches." the mufflers combined with the reverb off of the nearby hills produced "a high phasey quality that matched really well with sebulba's low-end, throaty kind of thing." * sebulba's pod a cigarette boat recorded in S.F. bay. * geonosians a combination of "flying foxes" (a type of fruit bat) and nesting penguins from southern australia. many nature sounds were collected by wood in aus, where much of the prequel films are/were filmed.
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  • 4 weeks later...
i just can't escape this. today i was recording my squeaky bathroom faucet & editing the samples, and now i'm online researching star wars sounds again. i really just do this research for myself, but i wouldn't be surprised if one day i wrote an article on it. i don't know enough (yet) to write for a techy pro sound mag like MIX or EQ, but maybe EM or a movie mag/site. i could probably interview Ben Burtt without asking [i]too[/i] many dumb questions. i've never written for a magazine or newspaper before, but who knows? i guess i'd have to learn how to capitalize at the beginnings of sentences. I could do that. anyway, here's some more stuff. *** from "ask the jedi council", star wars Q & A w/ Ben Burtt http://www.starwars.com/community/askjc/ben/ [b]Q: The sound produced by the seismic charges were simply awesome. How did you get that "twang" sound? A: [/b] I prefer not to discuss in detail this sound at this time. After all, can't I keep a few secrets? I will say that this is something I've wanted to do since A New Hope, we just never had a sequence which allowed the explosion to be featured in a way that I could exploit the idea of delayed sound in space... what I call an "audio black hole", an explosion so cosmic that the energy of the sound is unable to escape at the time of ignition, but is released a moment later. [i](i learned elsewhere that "...Burtt crept underneath a movie theater to record motors that ran the stage; these ultimately became Jango Fett’s depth charge launchings." -w47) (figuring out how this sound was made was the main reason i started this thread)[/i] [b]Q: When creating engine sounds, such as the hyperdrive engine for the Queen's ship or the submarine, do you base these sound designs in physics or simply come up with something that sounds 'cool'? A: [/b]I earned my degree in Physics, so I invariably begin my imaginings of sound on a scientific basis. At first, I may often reason a sound out on the basis of scientific fact, in the end I will make my choice among the possibilities subjectively, not objectively. After all, I put sound in the vacuum of space! Now that violates the laws of physics. I guess I made a good choice, otherwise I would be out of a job. [b]Q: How did you decide on the "personality" of the different engine sounds for each Podracer? What real-world noises did you use? A:[/b]... Pod sounds were made from race cars, boats, warbirds, electric tooth brushes, shavers, motorcycles, rockets, and helicopters. [b]Q: What sounds were used to create Chewbacca's famous voice? A:[/b] Mostly bears, with a dash of walrus, dog, and lion thrown in [b]Q: I've been wondering for 20 years: How are the various lightsaber sounds made? A: [/b]The lightsaber was, in fact, the very first sound I created for A New Hope. Inspired by the McQuarrie concept paintings, I remembered a sound of an interlock motor on the old film projectors at the USC Cinema Department (I had been a projectionist there). The motors made a musical "hum" which I felt immediately would complement the image in the painting. I recorded that motor, and a few days later I had a broken microphone cable that caused my recorder to accidently pick up the buzz from the back of my TV picture tube. I recorded that buzz, and mixed it with the hum of the projector motor. Together these sounds became the basis for all the lightsabers. --- Some of Australia’s fauna provided the sounds of weapons (the blasters of Jango Fett’s ship, Slave I, is really the manipulated screech of a bird). And a submarine riding up and down on the waves next to a Sydney pier ended up as the chilling roar of the Geonosis Reek monster. --- ...the voice of R2-D2, a mechanical droid character, was achieved through the combination of electronic tones and human vocal chords (Burtt's own). --- here's an interesting article on how Burtt conducted a recording session to get background alien voices: http://www.starwars.com/episode-i/news/1999/02/news19990218b.html (starwars.com requires you to sign up, but it's pretty painless. they send one email newsletter a month, and it's optional. no site login if you use cookies, and one popup) --- Burtt: "I look back over notebooks filled with my ideas and notes, and I read entries such as "Weird cry, take horse whinny at half speed and mix it with itself in reverse." I don't know where this flash of an idea came from, but it ended up being the basis for the frightening cries of the mynocks, flying reptiles who attacked the outer hull of the Millennium Falcon in The Empire Strikes Back."
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Hey Wage, aren't you talking about the first Star Wars? I'm pretty sure R2D2 was an Arp 2600, and the light sabres were created with two motion picture projectors and a moving mic. That's all I know...... Wiggum
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hey, what's up Wiggum? haven't seen your name around here much recently. by the first star wars, do you mean the [i]fourth[/i] star wars? ;) actually, i meant the star wars series. all of 'em. and i've done a lot of research. my last post above has a pretty detailed description of how Ben Burtt created the lightsaber sounds, and it does include a projector. also above i mentioned that "...the voice of R2-D2, a mechanical droid character, was achieved through the combination of electronic tones and human vocal chords (Burtt's own)." (i'm not quoting myself) the "electronic tones" may well be an arp, i'll check on that. given the way Burtt assembled other sounds for the films, though, i'm guessing the electronic stuff was something other than a commercial synth. and from other stuff i've read, R2 is [i]mostly[/i] Burtt's vocals, mixed with the electronic tones to make it not sound human. thanks for posting. if you're interested and you have time, read this thread. i know it's huge, but there's some interesting stuff up there.
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[quote]Originally posted by Wiggum: [b]...I'm pretty sure R2D2 was an Arp 2600, and the light sabres were created with two motion picture projectors and a moving mic.[/b][/quote]hey, you were right. in the classic trilogy, R2 was a combination of an ARP 2600 and sound designer Ben Burtt's vocalizations and whistles. both were processed to some degree. thanks for the lead. i knew about the film projector (which was combined with a hum from his tv), but i've learned that he put that sound through a speaker and moved a mic around to get movement and the doppler effect. i've found a ton of info in the last two days, way too much stuff to post here. :) :) :)
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