Last Tuesday (October 20), Motion Picture Sound Editors presented a new Sound Show, an exploration of the sound of Star Trek, with the award winning Supervising Sound Editor Mark Stoeckinger (Mission: Impossible III, The Last Samurai) and Co-Supervising Sound Editor Alan Rankin (Windtalkers, The Amityville Horror). In the show they demostrated the process for the creation of the soundtrack for the last Star Trek film.
Allison Loring has published on Gordon and the Whale a sneak peek about he event, with info, topics and more:
Since this is a sci-fi film, creating the sound effects for the Starship Enterprise, the creatures encountered on alien planets, and the combustible red matter allowed the sound designers free reign to create, but it also gave little in the way of a starting point of what these different elements should sound like. Abrams has a little-known talent in that he can make or mimic most of the sounds he is aiming for, giving his sound crew a base to work from. Markey and Brandon revealed they kept a recorder in the edit bay so that Abrams could record his sounds to then be passed on to the sound designers and editors as the film came together.
The crew paid particular attention to the reveal of the Enterprise and the first moments spent on the ship. They wanted to make sure they used sounds that original fans would recognize, but they also wanted to make it exciting and interesting for new fans. While getting ready to take off at warp speed, Lt. Sulu (John Cho) punches a series of buttons and, if you listen, the last button he hits makes an almost “uh-oh” sound as a little nod to those paying attention that maybe he did not hit the right sequence. This is proven true when all the other ships warp and Spock points out Sulu’s error before they are able to take off as well.
The roars and growls of the intimidating creatures Kirk (Chris Pine) encounters on Delta Vega are loud, but also alien. Recordings of bears, wolves, and (my favorite) the roars of a speed boat engine were stylized and layered to give the full, piercing effect. Playing each recording individually was certainly loud, but it wasn’t until each were combined and played together that the true impact was achieved.
Abrams really wanted to hear Kirk, Sulu, and Olson (Greg Eillis) breaking through the atmosphere during their skydive to the enemy drill platform. This was achieved through stylized wind whooshes and clothing flaps edited in quick cuts to sound like violent popping as the atmosphere was broken through. It is a sound you probably don’t immediately notice while watching the film, but playing the scene without it is almost like having a scene of people walking without hearing footsteps, proving that every sound matters. In a sound effect-heavy movie like this, you want lots of options, and it is the responsibility of the re-recording mixers to make sure the impact of the scene is not lost because every sound option is used.
Previous Sound Shows:
Did you attend the event? How was your experience!