Monday, March 2, 2009

Sound Effects

I often tell my video production students about a documentary I saw that had a short segment describing how they got the sound effects for Star Wars. Essentially some guys went out and recorded various sounds in the world and then used them as the basis for the effects in the film. The one I always remember is a man with headphones and a recorder hitting the guy wire for a structure. That sound eventually became the laser blast sound you hear in the movie. I encourage them to be creative in their projects and not just use the same canned sounds that everyone else uses.

My enthusiasm falls on deaf ears. If I'm not going to grade them on it, assign it or twist their little adolescent arms and walk them on their tiptoes over to the sound equipment, it's not going to happen. The other video teacher and I have been talking a lot lately about how our students are doing great with the visual aspect of their projects but tend to ignore the sound. So, I've been thinking about ways I can get them to start listening. Paying attention to the sound levels. Maybe build an assignment around creating sound effects as the first step towards building an audio awareness of their work.

So, I was pleased to see this Guide to Sound Effects. It will be a part of my new improved lessons on sound next year.

[Update: Found this site about the man who did those star wars effects, Ben Burtt]

[via Make]

[Image: "Headphones, glasses, smile": Flickr: Uploaded on June 10, 2007 by allaboutgeorge: Creative Commons]


  1. Good luck getting your students to think critically and carefully about sound. And thanks for using my picture, heh.

  2. I loved this shot when I first saw it. The lighting. The sly smile. Thanks for making it available to the world.