Sound designers, editors, mixers, geeks and Star Wars fans. Our day has come! Ben Burt has presented “The Sounds of Star Wars“, a new book written with J. W. Rinzler. Inside it you’ll find all the secrets behind the making of the sound effects of Star Wars, and also the book includes a sound module with speaker and external output for playback of 250 different sounds (pretty amazing, huh?).
Guests at Celebration V in Orlando were honored with a rare appearance by legendary sound designer Ben Burtt. Burtt should be a familiar name to fans from his iconic work on all of the live-action Star Wars and Indiana Jones films. His accolades include academy awards for A New Hope, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and nominations for many more. As panel moderator Pablo Hidalgo puts it, “He’s the reason so many of us have high-end surround sound systems in our home theaters.”
Burtt came to discuss his latest book project, The Sounds of Star Wars. Written with New York Times best-selling author J. W. Rinzler, Sounds tells the intimate details behind your favorite Star Wars sound effects. From the majestic hum of a lightsaber to the lowly chitter of a Jawa, every effect has a story. This lavishly illustrated tome is more than just a book, it includes a sound module that lets you listen to over 250 original sounds from the Star Wars series in high-quality stereo as you read along.
And if there’s not enough, check this out:
This book has more than just sounds from the films; it also includes sounds taken from the original recordings that are only available here. It includes all of the growling and snarling recorded for the reptilian bounty hunter, Bossk, most of which was not used in The Empire Strikes Back. Burtt mixed recordings of himself growling into a microphone for most of the effects. “Paul Hirsch, editor on the film, was up to that scene where the bounty hunters are briefed by Vader. He just needed something quickly so I just went down and made that sort of snarly, vomit-producing [growl].”
It’s not just the sound designers themselves being recorded, often it’s the sound designer’s friends and family. After playing a booming, growling sound that reverberated through the auditorium, Hidalgo explained, “That is the sando aqua monster, one of the largest creatures in the Star Wars movies. Where did that sound come from?”
“That’s my lovely daughter, Emma,” Burtt beamed. “When she was about three months old, she had a growly, little cry. Of course, I recorded it because it was interesting. I thought, ‘I have to use this for a monster,’ so I slowed it way down to match the size, the mass of the creature. It’s a performance, it’s her wanting milk… or maybe a diaper change.”
Well, more than a must-have for me. What about you? Do you want to get it? If so, It’s only $60 and it’s available to buy right now at Chronicle Books.
UPDATE! It’s available on Amazon at $37,80!