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5 Bizarre Ways Movie Sound Effects Are Made

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Movies and their scores get a lot of attention, but the strange ways that sound effects are created deserve equal notice. Find out how these movie makers achieved amazing sound effects, with sounds from the animal kingdom to Honda, to approximate sounds that don’t currently exist in nature, like a dinosaur’s roar.

Spider Man’s Web Shooter

A crack of a bullwhip and kitten sounds mixed together? Sound department veteran Charles Maynes had many failed experiments before discovering the first half of the mixture. The second he rescued himself! He rescued kittens and noticed the kitten’s mama made a spitting sound. By placing the spitting and bullwhip sounds together, he created the web shooting sound effect we recognize today.

Raptors

One of the most haunting movie sounds has to be the raptors in Jurassic Park; it gives you goosebumps. Sound designer Gary Rydstrom’s approach for creating the sound effect was to find the closest living relative to the prehistoric creatures – the humble tortoise – and it provided the sound at the strangest moment: mating.

Moria Orcs

The sound designer David Farmer on Lord of the Rings heard the perfect orc sound at the marine mammal center. Peter Jackson, director of the movie, wanted the orcs to sound “sort of cockroachy,” so Farmer’s team recorded themselves scrambling wearing cleats and mixed it with baby seal sounds for the full effect.

Indy’s Boulder

Have you ever heard a giant boulder rolling toward you after triggering a booby trap? Probably not, but sound designer Ben Burtt found a convincing alternative: an old Honda Civic. They coasted the car down a gravel hill without the engine running for optimal boulder rumbling sounds. Burtt’s work made him a legend in the business.

Lightsabers

Ben Burtt was also the sound designer for Star Wars, and developed the distinct swish of a swinging lightsaber. With four Oscars to his name, it’s no surprise that he consistently develops creative ways to build sounds. To create the distinct lightsaber sound, a swoosh sound over an electric hum, he blended an old film projector with an old TV sound.

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