Star Wars and the Sound Revolution of ’77

by Saul Edmonds
1977-web.jpg

The Force / Of Sound

“It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.”(Star Wars Episode IV)

The success of Star Wars was underpinned by the creative brilliance of Sound Designer Ben Burtt.

George Lucas’ resolution of diverse story elements - from fantastical characters to futurescape weaponry and worlds - is indebted to the imaginative sound solutions intuited by Burtt.

Sound Maketh the Man

Consider Vader, R2D2, The Lightsabre, The Tie Fighter

In many instances these sounds have become as iconographic as the characters themselves. The audio was carefully hand crafted by Burtt from a creative palette that extended to found sounds, field recordings, electronics and studio based technical enhancements.

Welcome to 1977

Significantly, 1977 also saw great progress in the evolution of cinematic sound.

Star Wars became one of the first films to fully exploit the new surround sound technologies of the Dolby A System.

As a sound designer Burtt made full use of the capabilities of the Dolby A System Standard, which specifically featured an enhanced tonal range and better sonic and textural response. In effect, this technology specifically enhanced the illusion of cinematic realism.

Dolby & Star Wars

Dolby Laboratories was founded by Ray Dolby in the mid 1960’s.

The initial goal was to develop a sound system for cinema that reduced noise level and permitted a greater frequency range to be utilized.

Innovation and marketing by Dolby led to the development of an ‘optical stereophonic system’. This enabled high quality audio to be fully integrated with the 35 mm prints used by studios and cinemas. The Stereo System itself consisted of three loudspeakers placed behind the screen (left, centre and right) with a fourth surround channel using various speakers throughout the auditorium which broadcasted non-directional sound.

Star Wars’ sound designer Burtt evinced a great understanding as to how an audience responds intuitively to a sound landscape at a subconscious level. He noted the significance of spatial positioning where sound content is best perceived within a dramatic context. The Dolby Stereo System offered the ‘three-dimensionality’ needed by Burtt to effectively create the heightened realism required to realize the Star Wars experience.

The success of Star Wars ensured that subsequent film makers appreciated the potential for sound technology to greatly enhance the cinematic experience. There are now over 70,000 Dolby equipped cinemas.

It is of interest to note : since 1977 - all but one oscar winning ‘Sound Categories’ movie has featured a Dolby Stereo Soundtrack.


Contact Roundhouse Now! 
Book an obligation free consultation to find out more and learn how to leverage mobile technology to grow your opportunities and business revenue.

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Get to know Saul Edmonds & Roundhouse

As Creative Director & Roundhouse Founder Saul Edmonds has over 20 years professional design and digital experience. 

He is an expert on Brand, Website and App Development. He has worked with clients across all industry groups - including startups, small business, government and entrepreneurs - on projects of all sizes and budgets.

Saul and his team can help you grow your business and discover new possibilities with :

  • strategic brand design
  • web design & development
  • app design and development 
  • digital marketing 
  • creative engagement 

    Saul Edmonds believes that every project begins with a story. 

    Saul and his team offer a one to one, tailored service - where he works with you closely to develop innovative solutions that will take your business to the next level. 

    Find out how Saul can help you turn your ideas into reality.

    Book an obligation free consultation with Saul Edmonds for ideas and strategies to take your business or project to the next level. Click here to arrange your booking.

    Phone : +617 1300 727 749
    email : us@roundhouse.cc

    • Learn about our web design here.
    • Learn about our app development here.
    • See our brand and logo portfolio here.

    Connect with Saul Edmonds on Linkedin here or Google+ here.
    Connect with Roundhouse on Google+ here.

    Iconic Science Fiction and Sound Design

    by Saul Edmonds

    “There is no route out of the maze. The maze shifts as you move through it, because it is alive. ”

    (Philip K. Dick)

    Sound and Suspension of Disbelief

    Sci - fi directors rely on audio to make their movies work. The history of sci-fi cinema reveals a progressively innovative and sophisticated use of sound. Sound design developed as an art form portraying these future visions. Immersive and hyperreal cinematic worlds utilized the sonic landscape to come to life in new ways.

    Effects need sound. Imagine a silent light saber in a silent world.

    Sound as Subliminal language

    Strong, memorable, creative. Iconic sci -fi movies consistently feature audio that is interwoven with reference and meaning. It functions to articulate both character and environment.

    The sound designer has been an integral collaborator in the realisation of the fantastic. Moments of tension are syncopated with aural detail. Dramatic themes are infused with delicate biological and mechanical textures.

    A spirit of experimentation is evident throughout.

    New music for new movies

    Listen carefully. The sound is alive

    5 Icons of Sci Fi Cinema + Excerpts of Sonic Inspiration

    2001: A Space Odyssey

    A minimal score and spareness of script gave dramatic tension to the silent, scientific landscape.

    The Spacewalk Scene

    The Star Gate Scene

    Alien

    Alien features a menacingly beautiful orchestral score with an eclectic use of ambient noise. Silence, script and sound is used in a dynamic mix to build dramatic suspense and fear throughout the film. Of note is the innovative absence of spoken dialogue in the third act.

    Original Trailer

    Jonesy the Cat Scene

    Blade Runner

    The romance of film noir with futuristic synths.

    Main Titles

    Tears in the Rain Scene

    Star Wars (Episode IV - A New Hope)

    Innovation and a classical score. Every major character has a unique leifmotif

    Princess Leia’s Theme

    The mischevious R2D2.

    Terminator 2

    A hyperrealistic sound mix where everything is bigger than life. There is a careful rhythm between audio and action.

    Biker Bar Scene

    Cyberdyne Explosion

    Let us know your favourite moments of sound design within sci -fi.


    Contact Roundhouse Now! 
    Book an obligation free consultation to find out more and learn how to leverage mobile technology to grow your opportunities and business revenue.

    Saulke (1).png

    Get to know Saul Edmonds & Roundhouse

    As Creative Director & Roundhouse Founder Saul Edmonds has over 20 years professional design and digital experience. 

    He is an expert on Brand, Website and App Development. He has worked with clients across all industry groups - including startups, small business, government and entrepreneurs - on projects of all sizes and budgets.

    Saul and his team can help you grow your business and discover new possibilities with :

    • strategic brand design
    • web design & development
    • app design and development 
    • digital marketing 
    • creative engagement 

      Saul Edmonds believes that every project begins with a story. 

      Saul and his team offer a one to one, tailored service - where he works with you closely to develop innovative solutions that will take your business to the next level. 

      Find out how Saul can help you turn your ideas into reality.

      Book an obligation free consultation with Saul Edmonds for ideas and strategies to take your business or project to the next level. Click here to arrange your booking.

      Phone : +617 1300 727 749
      email : us@roundhouse.cc

      • Learn about our web design here.
      • Learn about our app development here.
      • See our brand and logo portfolio here.

      Connect with Saul Edmonds on Linkedin here or Google+ here.
      Connect with Roundhouse on Google+ here.

      by Saul Edmonds