Exciting sounds of "Star Wars"






still a student at the University of Southern California, Ben Burtt (Ben Burtt) dreamed about space. In 1975, his dream came true. But thanks to NASA.

Once George Lucas, screenwriter and director, asked Gary Kurtz producer (Gary Kurtz) find some students who would not have to pay a lot, so he began to look for new sounds for the film. Harry called the University of Southern California and asked if they "Walter Mёrchey future?" There he recommended Ben Bёrtta. "Most of the students want to become writers or directors, but certainly not zvukovikami" - says Bёrtt

. While Ben and I could not imagine that the film Lucas and Kurtz's "Star Wars" will make all the participants of shooting Hollywood celebrities. However, he already felt that his first encounter with the film industry will remember for a long time.

Often in the film involves a minimum of three experts, on which depends the quality of the audio track (in fact, there may be more, or one person can both work on different tasks). One of them - it mikrofonschik, which is responsible for the sound recording during filming. Wielding a microphone, he writes the dialogues and all that happens on the site. The second profession - is sound. This person works with a collection of sounds recorded with the recorder. A third man - a sound dubbing, whose task - to bring all the sounds, dialogue and effects in a final audio track

. "Usually all the duties strictly delineated. If you - mikrofonschik, you will not be engaged in editing and installation, and sound will not be engaged in rewriting. I was no exception to the rule - says Bёrtt. - I had to come up with a new term to describe their occupation, because I called themselves "director Sound Effects" (sound designer). Ben gave advice where to find certain sounds, looking for and recording their own and engaged in editing and mixing. "While such a frequent change of role for me was something unusual," - he said

. At the beginning of Ben asked George Lucas, what movie they create? Realistic, like "Space Odyssey" by Stanley Kubrick, or a movie, where you can spit on the physics and do what they like? Lucas said that the space frames will be accompanied by music because the sound can do anything you want. "We forgot about physics and decided that we will have a sound in space - it made the movie much more interesting", - said Ben

. A graduate of the University, Ben Burtt liked to use to solve the problems of a systematic approach. He asked himself, "If this place really existed, what sound he uttered?" His goal was to make the audience believe that this object, transportation, weapons or place actually exists. The best way to do this - to use real objects sounds

. And so, armed with a microphone and monorekorderom Nagra, who provided his new bosses, Bёrtt went to collect sounds for a variety of creatures and mechanisms that have appeared in the script. "While they were filming, I went to different places and looking for sounds. In the zoo, I wrote the voices of animals, and at airports - the sounds of engines and aircraft. I even visited the military base where the recorded sound of machine gun fire, - says Ben. - I once went to a water park «Marineland» in Long Beach, California, in the hope that the voice of the walrus is suitable for a Wookiee. "

"The sound of lightsabers - this is one of my favorite sounds. I did it in the first place, despite the fact that at first I had to come up with a "voice" for Chewbacca and R2-D2, and only then work with blasters and all the rest, - says Bёrtt. - As soon as I read the script and saw the illustration made Ralph McQuarrie (Ralph McQuarrie), lightsabers captured my imagination »

. At that time, Ben Burtt was still a graduate student of the University of Southern California, where earned a projectionist. In the cinema hall were set very old floodlights which published an interesting humming sound. However, it was not enough - the picture is incomplete. The new sound was found quite by accident. "I walked around the studio with a microphone, when held close to the TV. The microphone was right on kinescope, and because of this there was a strange noise - a strong buzzing, - says Bёrtt. - I wrote it the buzz and combine it with the sound of the projector. Thus was born the sound of a lightsaber. "




The main villain Darth Vader in the scenario described as an evil being connected to a life support system. At first, Vader was very "noisy": he was breathing loudly and stridently like a windmill, and when turned down - you could hear the sound of the mechanisms. It made him too much like a robot, so we had to depart from this concept. In the first trial records sounded like Darth walking resuscitation.

It is believed that in order to record the sound blaster, Ben climbed the Golden Gate Bridge and banged on its tension cables. Ben's father Benjamin Bёrtt Sr. says that's not true. In the 70 years they spent in the Pocono Mountains, and Ben as usual took a recorder Nagra. "On one of the hills standing radio tower, we have got there, and a couple of times I hit a stone on one of the cables, - says Bёrtt senior. - At this point, my son said, "I guess this is how should sound blaster!" After this incident, Ben Jr. decided to record the same sound again, but this time in California, when he found a suitable rig in the Mojave Desert.




"These findings led me to believe that the search for the sounds - it is an adventure," - said Ben. And he was right. In 27 years Bёrtt received his first Academy Award, for his achievements in the creation of votes for the alien creatures and robots in the "Star Wars" movie, which has raised the bar of cinema to a new level.

In the 90 years from Bёrtta an opportunity to go back in time. By the release of the movie "Star Wars. Episode I: The Phantom Menace, "the studio has decided to carry out restoration of the old trilogy. For example, in some places, the special effects have been added directly to the film after the completion of the work, because few blasters and ships make no sound. Ben Burtt says, "The film" Star Wars "became the first major project that I worked on, so I was glad to any result - but these shortcomings a bit irritated me»

. Lucas Bёrtt and the team compiled a list of the changes and, "based on the record of twenty years ago, and my memory," began to edit movie soundtracks. As usual, Lucas gave Bёrttu complete freedom of action. "Most of the sounds in contemporary films - it just faded and inexpressive noise - says Ben. - We have tried to "hug" the sound of the audience. " Original sound effects were digitized and processed by the Digidesign Pro Tools, but to add sounds to your movie, the team had to literally cut and splice tape on which audio tracks have been recorded. "As for the music, we wanted to use the original recordings to preserve the feeling which gave the compositions of John Williams (John Williams)», - said Ben

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Bёrtt pleased that "Star Wars" have radically changed attitude to the sound in movies. "I worked and learned new things in a team with experienced sound engineers from Hollywood, - he said, comparing himself to a young Luke Skywalker in the world of audio. - The result of our joint work shocked the world »

. Since then much has changed, but some things remained the same. "I still have my Nagra, - he jokes. - This is a very reliable recorder that refuses to break. I'm going to use it the rest of my life. »

P.S. By the way, recently we have started to develop the theme of portable recorders, and on our website.

Source: geektimes.ru/company/audiomania/blog/271368/

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