Jimmy MacDonald holding the roll of bamboo that was used to create one of the sound layers for the devastating forest fire in Bambi.
It has been said that during times of national economic hardship, people look to entertainment for relief. Taking that with a grain of salt, Walt Disney couldn’t have revealed Mickey Mouse at a better time. Though on the verge of the Great Depression, and with the film industry making its swift yet awkward transition into synchronized sound, Walt Disney Studios released Steamboat Willie in 1928, securing animation on the cutting edge as a medium capable of expressive sound effects and coinciding scores.
In her blog post, Kate Finan of Boom Box Post, explains how the Big Three – Walt Disney, Hanna-Barbera and Warner Bros. – developed their signature sounds for a form of entertainment as undeveloped as its film stock. Through compatible relationships and mentorship, these legendary sound teams were able to transform the initial utterances of animation sound into a dialect where KOs naturally produce a flock of warblers and pointy objects always make a nice sharp “poing!”
There’s a lot of things to like about Frozen. The animation is beautiful, the script is tight, the performances are great, and it even features a catchy tune or two. It’s also got some great sound. Check out the opening ice cutting sequence. It probably had whole cinemas ducking for cover in 3D but even in plain old 2D it works. The effects are great and when you get out from under the ice into the open air there’s that indefinable ‘softness’ to the soundstage that only happens in a snowy environment. And the film has a lot of it; ice, snow, crunchy, soft, cracking, and exploding and it all sounds just right. But my favourite thing about Frozen are some door knocks from right at the start.
In a recent post on the blog over at A Sound Effect, Asbjoern Andersen interviews long-time animation sound pro Jeff Shiffman of Boom Box Post. They discuss Jeff’s workflow and approach to sound design, as well as the specific challenges and successes he had working on numerous animated shows. Take a look at the interview here.
In this exclusive SoundWorks Collection profile we talk with Sound Designer Tom Myers of Skywalker Sound about his work on Pixar Animation’s latest film, Monster University.
Be sure to check SoundWorks Collection for other great audio profiles.