Did you know that the screech of a TIE Fighter is a drastically altered elephant bellow. Or that the voice of Chewbacca was constructed out of pieces of walruses and other animal sounds?
Lucasfilm has published a new book, The Sound Of Star Wars, that looks at the work of Academy Award-winning sound designer Ben Burtt.
In this aurally astonishing and visually engaging book, New York Times best-selling author J. W. Rinzler reveals the illuminating history of the sounds that make the Star Wars universe so believable, as recounted by their creator, legendary sound designer Ben Burtt.
An attached sound module with an exterior speaker and headphone jack lets readers listen to more than 250 unique sound effects, and more than 300 photographs illustrate the epic’s many memorable scenes.
Yes – one more reason to give George Lucas your money – but the excerpts make it pretty tempting.
Here, Burtt explains why he favored found sound over electronic sound:
When George Lucas approached Burtt about making the first Star Wars film, he had specific desires for how his fantasy world should sound. As Burtt puts it, the sound effect “language” of science fiction films at the time was pretty much electronic. Early films such as The Day the Earth Stood Still, Forbidden Planet, and War of the Worlds were created with clean, electronic-sounding sound effects and most films and television series after were created in the same mold. During Lucas’ first conversation with Burtt, he stated that he wanted an “organic soundtrack” and a “used universe
” He wanted squeaky doors, rust, and motors that didn’t start up quickly. Burtt’s solution was to collect sounds from the real world rather than use a Moog synthesizer as an initial source. “We did incorporate an element of electronic sound,” Burtt continued, “but it was imbedded in a world of organic sounds.” With sound devices based on the real world, the effects would seem authentic to the listener in some way even if they couldn’t identify the source of the sound.
If you’ve read The Sounds Of Star Wars, leave a comment with your thoughts!