Some time ago, TRON Wiki published an interview with Frank Serafine, sound designer of the original TRON film in 1982. It’s a very interesting read, where Frank share some details about the sound effects design process, the mix, voice processing, and more.
It really does sound fantastic. Tron is the movie that got me interested in sound effects and made me want to pursue a career in sound.
You know, that’s interesting that you say that. The director that I’m working with right now, Brett Leonard, he didLawnmower Man which I kinda feel is the Tron of the 90’s. And then he did Virtuosity with Denzel Washington and we’re doing work right now. Back when I did Tron, he was like 17 years old and he was an usher at the Mann Theater in Westwood and one of the movies that he loved, probably because it saw it a million times was Tron. He said, “God, when I do my first movie, I’m going to get the guy who did the sounds for Tron and then when he did his first movie, he called me up and I did the sound for Lawnmower Man.
How did you make the sound effects for the disk flying through the air?
That was a combination of a monkey scream backwards processed through a flanger and it was also another one of those weird synthesizer effects that I was able to create through the modulator and also I took a big wire cable spin and that was the whooshing element. The monkey was kinda like the element that was suppose to come around your head because we were doing a lot of surround effects with that disk throw stuff and we wanted it to be kinda like something that flew around your head and really scare you, you know, monkeys are kinda freaky sounding. So, I turned it backwards and you couldn’t recognize that it was a monkey scream really. I affect the pitch the little bit, you know, what I like to do was back then I was using 1/4″ tape recorders so I able to create really interesting elements by just turning the speed up and down on the tape recorder. That’s the thing, a lot of the new digital work stations don’t get you the sort of controllers and things we had back then to create special sound effects. They don’t exist in the digital world right now. I’m creating a plug-in called the “Serafine FX Tron” from Sonic Reality and it’s going to be a plug-in that you can play either through Pro Tools, Logic or Soundtrack Pro and you’ll have all the fun stuff that we had back then: turning the sound backwards, affecting the pitch, manipulating all the elements and having a really strong search database engine to find all the effects in the library quickly and then you’ll be able to perform on a keyboard, the same way I did it in Tron. We’re developing that right now because it doesn’t exist and it’s very hard for people, they just basically take sounds out of a library and stick it into Pro Tools and that’s it.
Via: U.S.O Project