Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Happy Holidays!


What better way to start this blog post than showing Skywalker Ranch's Main House (aka George Lucas office and LucasFilm HQ) in it's Christmas light splendor.

And what better way to follow that up than with our holiday card for our readers:

Finally, a little gift to Skywalker Sound fans.
A nice amount of main characters voice files from E.T. The Extra Terrestrial. All of them free of background music and other sound effects, just the voices. You'll probably find that E.T.'s voice, created by Ben Burtt, of particular interest.
Download them here in convenient mp3 files!

Hope you enjoy it.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Closing some tabs

Hi there,
So, I had some more news left I wanted to share. Once I'm done with that I hope to post something a bit more interesting (other than just news) and I'm also preparing a little something for this holidays.

Ok, let's get to the news and close some tabs.

40532909 We can never get enough of good ol' Ben right? Check out this fun little Q&A with the always wonderful Ben Burtt.

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2752554648_864029f84a_b Matthew Wood (right) and David Acord (left) got interviewed by TheForce.net and the resulting podcast (or Force-Cast) is really funny. It's very insightful as well. Get it HERE.

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Well, that's all for now. A couple of things about this blog. I don't really have an agenda (besides posting news more or less as they appear), there are things I know I want to do, but beyond than that is a mystery. Dear reader, you are more than welcome to leave your requests in the comments. If you'd like me to post about a specific thing regarding Skywalker Sound, whether is a sound designer, or a film, or a technical thing, just let me know and I'll see what I can do.

The other thing. Blogger users, dear loyal readers, I invite you to "follow" this blog (so I can have extra motivation for posting). It's right down there on the white sidebar. Did you just clicked on it? Thanks! you are the best.

See you soon.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

More Ben Burtt and awards

257812469_585ee2c693_b  There is a wonderful series of videos of a talk Ben Burtt did at Pixar. Collider was there and managed to get video footage of that amazing event. You DON'T wanna miss it. He seems like a rockstar in there, and he really rocked the house with a cool show, sharing a little bit of what he did for Wall-E and other films.
I'd love to be his friend, not only does he knows tons about sound design and sound for movies in general, but he also seems to be a very nice and funny man.
Go watch it NOW. (I don't really like the videoplayer they used, when I played sometimes it simply stopped).

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You can have a bit more of Ben over here:

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On November 6, the winners of the Hollywood Post Alliance awards were announced. This are awards given in categories all related to post-production. The one that interest us is the category for Outstanding Audio Post in Feature Film, as the award went to Ben Burtt (from Pixar. He seems to be a Pixar employee now, therefor not really working for Skywalker Sound for the time being. But since both companies always work toghether, I bet he'll never be far away from Skysound) and to Tom Myers, Michael Semanick and Matthew Wood (from Skywalker Sound).
The Skywalker Sound Blog (that's us) wishes to congratulate them for this achievement. Well done gentlemen!
You can check the rest of the categories over here.

That's all for now,
May the sound be with you.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sound Treats

Hi there again listeners,

More news and info regarding Skywalker Sound:
sky_spencer  The latest Spencer Brewer album "Cinematic" was recorded at the scoring stage, and one song in particular was written in it, called "The Walls that Move" inspired by the actual moving walls in the stage (which can provide natural reverb). It was released on July 15 this year.

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One of EA's latest games Dead Space, had it's score recorded at Skywalker Sound. The score features over three hours of music (composed by Jason Graves) recorded during two different recording sessions. In the first session Graves conducted sixty musicians of the acclaimed Northwest Sinfonia Orchestra at the Bastyr Chapel in Seattle, and a year later Graves conducted sixty players of the Skywalker Symphony Orchestra and twenty voice choir at the world famous Skywalker Sound Scoring Stage. During both sessions, co-produced by Jason Graves and Rod Abernethy, the orchestra was recorded individually by section (woodwinds, brass, percussion and strings) with multiple dynamic levels and variations to be implemented as adaptive layers of music in the game. EA’s audio team designed the music system to be multi-layered so the music could be mixed at run-time based on gameplay and situation.
Read the whole press release HERE. Dead Space was released on October 14.

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Nice interview with Dustin Cawood, an assistent sound designer and sound effects supervisor at Skywalker Sound. Read HERE.

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sky_clonewars  The new Star Wars: The Clone Wars tv series has recently begun screening on Cartoon Network. Here is a nice behind the scenes video from MovieBeat:

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And that's all for this week folks. See you soon.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Catching Up

Hi there, it's been a while. I've been a bit busy with work and many own projects, but I'll try to post more often. 

So, a bit of news and stuff I've been gathering lately:

Last August an album recorded at Skywalker Sound' Scoring Stage was released. Thinking About Bix by Dick Hyman.
bix A HDCD recorded by Keith O. "Prof" Johnson using custom-made mikes and equipment. I've listened to some of it at Amazon, and it sounds delightful. Musical-wise it's the kind of jazz I sometimes need.

Matthew Wood and David Acord, the gentlemen responsible for the mix of Star Wars: Clone Wars, were recently interviewed at CW31. Pretty great to see sound designers and re-recording mixers on tv!

2586033099_3720d27936_o Now to Ben Burtt being interviewed by The Christian Science Monitor about sound design as an art form.

Sennheiser/Neumann's Mike Pappas gave a recording seminar recently at the Scoring Stage. You can read all about it HERE.

The debut album of Court Mast, called Sausalito Summer, was also recorded at Skywalker Sound, and released on July 29. You can read about it HERE and preview it/download it HERE.

TimesOnline visited what they call "Star Wars HQ", which is actually Industrial, Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound. About our beloved place they say:
photo_about5 "Over the hills and far away... well, about a 45 minute drive across the Golden Gate Bridge, way up into Marin County, Lucas' reknowned Skywalker Sound is housed in the grounds of Skywalker Ranch. It's a beautiful spot. Made all the nicer by enjoying a glass of the locally produced organic wine. Okay, maybe two glasses. Fine, I'll have the bottle. The plantation-style building overlooks Ewok Lake (no, really) and there are AT-ATs patrolling the area. Ok, maybe no AT-AT's but there are other, more subtle security measures. Where are all the cameras? Well maybe they're hidden in some of the fake boulders placed at strategic points around the grounds. But those rocks look real! Yes, well the guy does have the best special effects team in the world at his disposal."

HDFilmtools had a very HD interview with Matthew Wood. Mostly about the job of a Supervising Sound Editor. You can also see the ProTools ICON console. Very neat. Watch it/download it HERE.

The last thing for today (there is more, but I'll post it later) is another album recorded at Skysound, which will be released tomorrow.
Speak Low by Boz Scaggs. More good jazz, awesomely recorded (I assume, since I haven't heard it yet). "The sense of intimacy you get there is quite remarkable," Scaggs says. "You think you can get closer to the music in a smaller room, but that's not always true. At Skywalker, the vastness brought us all together.... The quiets in that room are much quieter, and all of the dynamics are really vivid. It's a great room to sing in."
You can purchase it HERE.

That's all for today folks, I'll be coming back soon (I hope) with more things Skywalker Sound

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Scoring Stage On The Cover


This month's cover of Mix Magazine has Skywalker Sound' Scoring Stage all over it (those beautiful diffusers aren't hard to recognize).
I would like to start by pointing out that the Skywalker Sound HQ is actually called Technical Building and not "Technology Building" as it is in the article). Other than that minor detail, it is an interesting read. Of course it features the amazing Leslie Ann Jones, head of the Scoring Stage and overall genius.
This article informed me about a couple of things I didn't knew:

* They switched digital recording from Euphonix R1 to ProTools HD
* They are recording a considerable number of videogame scores.
* They are having a BIT of a hard time filling the studio (at least compared to .... say... Abbey Road)

"Over lunch on the back porch of the ranch's white-clapboard Victorian mansion-style Main House, the studio's director of scoring and music recording (not to mention record producer and Grammy-winning engineer), Leslie Ann Jones, notes that it is exactly that sort of diversification that has kept her studio busy: film and game scores, major- and indie-label work, classical and rock music, local and national talent."

Read it all HERE!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

All Things Ben Burtt on Wall-E


The recently released Pixar's Wall-E has caused a unique phenomenon. I don't know of other occasion in which a sound designer was interviewed as much as Ben Burtt was regarding Wall-E.

Here are all the interviews I collected:
* CanMag
* Movies Online
* SFGate
* Los Angeles Times
* Syracuse.com

And now the multimedia interviews. First a podcast from Studio 360 which is one of the best interviews with Ben:

A Space Journey In Sound:

And a /Film 4-minute Wall-E making of Featurette which has a segment on sound.

I saw Wall-E today and the sound design is the best by far of any movie I have seen this year. Also the story is quite awesome, heartfelt and smart.

On the sound design aspect, I love how Ben Burtt used a wacom tablet to change pitch on sounds in a very creative way.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Chris Boyes on Iron Man


Ok, so I had no feedback but I think that's mainly due to the fact that I haven't promoted the blog in the slightest.

Let's just jump to the content of the blog right away.
Recently the Iron Man film was released, in a very successful fashion. I haven't seen it yet, but I'm looking forward to.
Not only because of all the nice things I've been hearing about it, but also because the nice people at Skywalker Sound handled the sound post-production of the movie.
Chris Boyes (of King Kong, The Lord of The Rings) was in charge of the sound design and mixing of Iron Man.
Mix Magazine sat with him and recorded a nice interview about his job on this film.
Unfortunately he was in a protools room, instead of a lovely mixing room in front a huge console. But I think that is due to the fact that since Episode 3, Skywalker Sound changed it's way of working to have a more Protools-driven and basic set-up all the way to the end (they mainly use the big consoles at the final mix stage).
I've heard they even have an Icon, although I haven't seen any picture of it at Skysound yet.

Anyway, despite this tiny detail of wanting to see their great equipment, it is a very nice interview. Chris Boyes is a very good sound designer, so check it out.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Coming Soon

So, this is somewhat strange. I really don't have much spare time to work hardly on this, but for some reason I felt compelled to do it.
I really love Skywalker Sound, it's the reason why I fell in love with sound design and film post-production. I have a ton of information and pictures about it, and have been thinking on making a fan website for quite a few years now. Finally I decided that a blog would be the easiest way of trying to share all this things I had.

For those who are wondering, Skywalker Sound is a sound post-production studio for films located at George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch in Nicasio, California. The history of Skysound is really attached to the history of sound design, so this might be of interest to those who are into it.

My intention is the following. To talk in detail about what Skywalker Sound is, what it does, and how it does it. I would certainly like to post any news that come out. Maybe even try to interview some of the wonderful people that work there.
The idea is to make this a good read for those interested in professional sound for movies.
So, in order for me to know if I would be doing all this things for anyone out there, or just for me, I'd like that all of you who are interested in the development of this blog to drop a line in the comments (and if you want to make suggestions, go ahead as well).

I hope you like the design, and we'll see how this crazy project works out.
May the force be with you,
- Sam