Star Wars and Ben Burrt

Taken from Coltsrock56 on Youtube.

Sound Design is something that I haven’t massively looked into until recently. After some research in this area for a project I am currently working on, I began to realise the many opportunities in this area.  In the bid to get some ideas for some foley work, I obviously went to the faithful and always reliable Youtube for some tutorials, mainly expecting freelancers providing information. I was pleasantly surprised to find a Star Wars Documentary.

I am a massive sci fi geek, and growing up with the old Star Wars films it seemed well worth a watch. I am so amazed by the amount of detail of the smallest thing.   My personal favourite was squeezing a grapefruit for the sound of an insect. After watching this it seemed well worth researching Ben Burtt, seeing as he is clearly a genius in the area.

Obviously he is an extremely successful man and the list of the work he has done is extensive, with his work for Star Wars being of particular interest to me. I believe the first time I saw Star Wars I must have been around 5.  I certainly loved the sounds of the lightsaber and the theme music has always been a favourite of mine.  However as a 5 year old you’re not massively capable of sitting there and thinking how every sound has been created.  Well Ben Burtt was capable, “Ben Burtt was a film sound buff as a child (he recorded and replayed the sound tracks of his favorite movies).” (Film, 2014). I suppose when I was growing up somewhere in my head I wanted to know.  Well it wasn’t until a week ago I found out.  All the ways they created these sounds is incredibly interesting.  Rather than listing them all,  here is how they created the Ewokese language and Luke Skywalker’s landspeeder. The Ewokese language “A language created by altering and layering Tibetan, Mongolian, and Nepali languages” (Film, 2014).  Luke Skywalker’s landspeeder – “the whoosh of Luke Skywalker’s landspeeder was achieved by recording the roar of the Los Angeles Harbor Freeway through a vacuum-cleaner pipe” (Film  I think what has stood out for me the most is taking something and looking at ways to merge it or find new ways of recording it.  I strongly suggest looking at this link

I certainly believe we can learn a thing or two from Ben Burrt, and I am certainly looking forward to the next Star Wars film.

Reference (2014).  Sound Design of Star Wars. Retrieved 21st October, 2014, from


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