Monday, October 4, 2010

Sound of The Social Network

The Social Network
David Fincher’s new film, The Social Network, tells the story of Mark Zuckerberg and the origin of Facebook. It’s not often that we get sound news and profiles about dialog heavy films that make virtually no use of visual effects. This kind of films are usually very interesting sound-wise and also hard to do, as the soundscape has to be believable and unobtrusive.
Responsible for mixing this film were Ren Klyce, David Parker and Michael Semanick. In charge of sound design and supervising sound editing duties was Ren Klyce, who also did sound design for most of Fincher's films (including Seven, Fight Club, Zodiac and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button).

Also worth checking out is the soundtrack by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. Certainly not your everyday music for film, and rather something that fans of Nine Inch Nails will particularly enjoy.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Sound of Inception


While Inception isn’t graced with the sound services of Skywalker Sound, the staff includes a handful of amazing Skywalker regulars. This includes Lora Hirschberg and Gary Rizzo.

Inception is the latest film by Christopher Nolan (director of Memento and The Dark Knight, among other great films), which deals with the world of dreams.

And here is also Mix’s article, which gives you a more detailed tour of the sound for Inception.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Sound of Toy Story 3

Toy Story 3 has just opened and this is the first installation in the series in which Gary Rydstrom wasn’t involved. This time sound designing duties have been taken by the always magnificent Tom Myers (who also has a long relationship with Pixar, having done a few of the post-Rydstrom Pixar shorts), he was an assistant sound designer on Toy Story and sound designer on Toy Story 2. Joining Tom on supervision and re-recording mixing is Michael Semanick (wonderful mixer), with whom they also did Wall-E and Up.

Update 7/9/2010:
A neat interview to the sound team, conducted by the guys at Designing Sound. Read it here.

What do you think of it being mixed in 7.1?

Sound Department (credits provided by SoundWorks Collection)
Sound Designer -Tom Myers
Supervising Sound Editors – Tom Myers & Michael Silvers
Re-recording Mixers – Michael Semanick & Tom Myers
Sound Effects Editors – Dustin Cawood, Teresa Eckton, Al Nelson, Tim Nielsen
Foley Editors – Pascal Garneau & Dee Selby
ADR Editors -Steve Slanec & Gwendolyn Yates Whittle
Assistant Supervising Sound Editor – Mac Smith
Assistant Sound Effects Editor – Frank Clary
Assistant Sound Editor – Benny Burtt
Foley Artists – Jana Vance & Dennie Thorpe
Foley Mixer – Frank Rinella
Foley Recordist – Sean England
Mix Technicians -Tony Sereno & Jurgen Scharpf
Digital Transfer – Marco Alicea & John Countryman
Recordist – Ron Roumas
Video Services – John “J.T.” Torrijos
Engineering Services – Steve Morris & James Austin
Digital Editorial Services – Tim Burby, Dave Hunter, Danny Caccavo

Sunday, May 9, 2010

How Your Dragon Sounds

This week we bring you some insight into the sounds created for the animated feature ‘How To Train Your Dragon’.

I really liked this movie and also enjoyed the fact that the dragon sounds were very distinct and different than the classic dinosaur-like sounds usually used on creatures like this.

Here is sound designer Randy Thom talking about the film:

For further detail I highly recommend this insightful interview with Thom, Jonathan Null and Al Nelson, conducted by Designing Sound.

On a more colorful note, “Paco” a famous Chihuahua on YouTube was recorded by the folks at Skywalker Sound and used on this movie.

You can read more about it here.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Sound of Pandora


Hello there! I had this blog terribly abandoned, I know. I’ve noticed we’ve have many more readers, so welcome to all of you!
Ok, let’s try to catch up on the doings of Skywalker Sound.

Here it is Chris Boyes talking about sound design for Avatar:

and also this quite interesting sound panel featuring Mr. Boyes, James Cameron, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson and producer Jon Landau.

Finally, you can read even more about the film’s sound on this Mix Magazine article.

It’s been so long since I last blogged that the film has come out already on BluRay/DVD. It has no extra features or anything really, just the same film you saw on the theater. A longer cut with additional features will be released later this year (and next year, probably a 3D version and 10 years later an anniversary edition).

What did you thought of the sound for Avatar?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ben Burtt awarded The Charles S. Swartz Award.

"Another post and yet another introduction, this time a nice little piece by Matt Marks (an audio student at The Art Institute of Austin) on Ben Burtt and an award he was recently given.
- Sam"

We all know Ben Burtt as the Golden Ear who created some of the worlds most recognized movie sounds – the Star Wars Lightsaber hum, R2-D2’s voice, Indiana Jones’ Whip, WALL-E’s vocabulary, and of course Darth Vader’s deep breathing. Because of his accomplishments within the sound world, Ben Burtt has received numerous awards including Special Achievement in Sound Editing Oscars® for “Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” – and on November 12th, 2009 his legacy was honored once again when he received The Charles S. Swartz Award from the Hollywood Post Alliance.
“Star Trek” Director JJ Abrams presented the award, following a short presentation commemorating some of the iconic movies and sounds credited to Mr. Burtt. The acceptance speech itself is inspiring and full of advice - by the man of the hour himself. For anyone interested in Skywalker Sound, its roots, or just the legend that is Ben Burtt – this video is a must see:

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Lightsaber Sound

Happy new year Skywalkers!
I was fortunate enough to have been contacted by a few readers regarding my last post. That means that this new year you'll also be reading new contributors.
So, let me introduce to you Mr. Noah Jurcin, aka Phonaut. He is not only a lover of all things Skywalker Sound but also a sound designer himself, working on the videogame industry. Without any further ado, I'll let you read this wonderful post he prepared for us.

- Sam

The Lightsaber sound. What more can be said about one of the most iconic sounds in one of the most iconic sagas in film history? Rather than retread what has already been discussed about these futuristic swords of light, this month's blog entry is a convenient roundup of resources available on the web about how this sound was created, and how you can make similar sounds using easily available and inexpensive gear. Let's start with Ben Burtt's own comments about how he discovered and created the components of the basic lightsaber humming noise:

As mentioned in the video clip, the lower-pitched component of the saber-hum originated from a Simplex projector with interlock motors, while the brighter, buzzing component came from the quite serendipitous action of walking around a cathode ray tube while he was holding a microphone. The interference from the CRT as captured by his particular microphone created a textural sound which, when combined with the projector noise, created the lush drone we all know as the lightsaber sound. You can approximate these effects without having access to these exact pieces of equipment. Radio Shack stocks an inexpensive ($8) item called the "Recorder Telephone Pickup" which you can use to make the basic humming loop.

I plugged one of these into my handheld recorder and captured a multitude of strange, otherworldy electronic noises simply by walking around my apartment. All electronic gear creates an electronic field just begging to be tapped into by anyone interested enough to tap into it. Check out this small collection of sounds produced by commonplace household devices such as a laptop, microwave, a CRT computer monitor, and a clock. You will hear that my loops contain the all-pervasive 60Hz hum that wall-outlet electronics in the USA create (or 50Hz outside the USA).

The next step brings us to the remarkably simple technique Burtt used to add movement and realism to the hum. This technique tricks the listener into thinking the lightsabers are moving around in space by adding subtle doppler shifts to the humming loop. Just play one of the steady loops out through a speaker in a room while holding a microphone in your hand. A shotgun mic might work better because of the elongated shape. By swinging the mic toward and around the source speaker playing the loop, you will add slight doppler shifts to the microphone recording you are making. I approximated this effect by moving my telephone pickup device in various ways around my kitchen microwave. This method didn't add doppler shifts per se, but did add textural variations of interference which mixed in different ways depending on the position of my pickup device.

For sound designers ready for a much more meticulous and detailed account of recreating lightsaber sound effects, I highly encourage you to stop over and read the Lightsaber Sound Cookbook put together by Derrin Blondin.