The Importance of Sound Design in "Star Trek: Into Darkness"


Much to the delight of Trekkies and science fiction fans everywhere, “Star Trek Into Darkness” is in theaters.

Moviegoers will see big names such as Chris Pine and Zoe Saldana in the credits, but may miss another key role: that of sound designer.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes listen of how the sound effects were created in a studio far from Hollywood.

Star Trek Into Darkness brings beloved characters from the original 1960s TV series back to the silver screen.

But what really brings this movie to life are the sound effects, as created by sound designer Ben Burtt.

Burtt says, “Everything is imaginary: the places, the vehicles, the weapons, the creatures, whatever it might be. All of these things will need sounds to be created after the fact, after the film has been shot.”

Burtt says the average feature length film has 400-500 different sound effects.

This new Star Trek movie? Over 15 hundred.

“I spent a tremendous amount of time doing weapons in this film. JJ Abrams was particularly demanding in terms of wanting these weapons to be distinct and different.”

Some of the sounds Burtt uses are collected in the field. Bubbling lava was really dry ice tossed in a stream. And sounds aboard the Enterprise came from a good old fashioned vacuum cleaner.

Burtt elaborates, “I got some styrofoam and cut it up and it would squeal as it went through the vacuum cleaner input. A lot of that is used for the hatches opening and closing in the ship.”

As a long time Star Trek fan, working on this movie was a dream come true.

He comments, “We could vicariously be part of their adventure.”

An incredible adventure into a world of imaginary sound.

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