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Watch a half hour documentary on the sound of Star Wars Rogue One

For lovers of sound design – cinematic or otherwise – Star Wars is always good reason to nerd out. But Rogue One is something different, as the first film to be a standalone or spinoff. On the music side, it meant a new composer who wasn’t John Williams (Michael Giacchino). But perhaps the less known story is that sound, too, got a new direction. Filling the shoes of Ben Burtt is no easy task. There’s probably no Hollywood sound creator better known than Burtt. And as with any Star Wars film, you have the unique challenge of trying to do …

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How the Millennium Falcon Got Its Hyperdrive Malfunction Sound

Old pipes? A vintage airplane? Mechanical equipment? Ben Burtt, Hollywood’s master sound designer, is remarkable for his economy and resourcefulness. That’s evident in this charming video in which he demonstrates how he evoked breaking machinery to realize the sound of the Millenium Falcon… not going into hyperdrive. The cinematic challenge is significant. It’s a bit joke, a running gag, but it has to simultaneously build tension in the film. And like the rest of Star Wars, the future is evoked by the past. (It is, after all, a galaxy long ago – and to impact audiences, couldn’t in fact be …

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Way, Way, Way Too Many Wilhelm Screams

What started as an inside joke has become something of a compulsive faux pas: the Wilhelm Scream, a canned shriek that was first cleverly inserted into films as a wink and a nod between sound designers, has gotten a bit out of control. At least some sound designers are now disguising their Wilhelm Screams. But leave it to online chronicles to compile the use of this signature shout. “Ah,” say you, “but I have to watch more than one YouTube compilation to see all those Wilhelm Screams in one place. I want to show them to my sound design class, …

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