Dolby reveals how notable movie SFX were made

Brittany A. Roston - Feb 26, 2014
Dolby reveals how notable movie SFX were made

Movies are riddled with sound effects, but some have transcended their cinematic boundaries to become a popular cultural staple, a sound effect that is recognizable on its own and often used and parodied in others’ works. Lightsabers are one such sound effect, the making of which Dolby detailed yesterday in a blog post, along with seven other notable sounds.

Lightsabers are made with a combination of old movie projectors mixed with microphone buzzing caused by TV interference, Dolby points out in the blog post, followed by details on several other sounds. The raining frogs from Magnolia resulted from throwing objects against hams, playing the sounds through speakers, and recording the speakers’ audio from a car while driving past.

The War of Worlds alien tripods is the by-product of roller coasters, trains, and a bicycle chain at different speeds. The sound of Bane’s voice from The Dark Knight Rises, however, is the result of playing his voice through three speakers rather than one, making him more clear to compensate for the lack of visual cues from his mouth when he speaks.

Rounding it all out are the voices in Transformers, which include many sounds, including a whimpering dog, pneumatics, and buzzing bees. The aliens from Signs resulted from walking taxidermy legs around the set, In Time’s futuristic sounds resulted from using foreign sounds for common items, and Master and Commander‘s ship rigging sounds resulted from a carefully crafted box positioned in a moving pickup truck.


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