February 18, 2019

Original Star Wars Raw Footage Reveals Sound Design's Impact

Original Star Wars Raw Footage Reveals What Made The Movie Great
Yes, it seems Han had a couple girlfriends before he met Leia. But that's not all this reveals. 

If you've never glimpsed the dailies from Star Wars before, we highly recommend that you do it now. Check out the famous cantina scene (posted here by Kcho santiago) in its original glory: 

Not too long ago RocketJump put together this awesome video outlining how the editorial process 'saved' Star Wars, given its poor reception at original screenings etc. 

There is a lot to take away from both of these videos, and all the raw clips floating around out there from Star Wars. But the big one, in our opinion, is the sound. 

Look, and Feel... and Sound? 

We talk a lot about the look and feel of a project. We obsess over cameras, capturing devices, color schemes, production design to a lesser extent. 

People aspire to be directors, writers, cinematographers. Few realize the impact that sound design is having on the movies they know and love. We can appreciate the genius of George Lucas, but his greatest creation is a testament to the work of many craftspeople and artists who worked in various departments and innovated. VFX, obviously. Editorial as well. 

But also in sound. 

How a movie sounds is overlooked far too often. The truth is a movie can get away with rough around the edges image quality. Sometimes that's a choice. 

But you can't get around poor sound. It'll sink you right off the bat. 

Star Wars production sound was rough and raw. When we think of Darth Vader, the iconic villain, do we think of his helmet? His robotic suit? 

Sure. But we also think of how he sounds. James Earl Jones' booming bass. His bizarre asthmatic breathing. The crackle and hiss of his lightsaber. 

His THEME MUSIC. 

Darth Vader isn't complete as an image. All of Star Wars, for that matter, could come off as kinda junky looking. Let's be honest, the visuals aren't up to par with the beautiful visuals in space from Stanley Kubrick in 2001 not 10 years prior. 

Star Wars connected to us with its sounds. The work of Ben Burtt and John Williams created the romance, excitement, and drama of that vast universe. Otherwise, it was a desert in Tunisia, and grey walls on a soundstage in London.

The embellishments in the score harkened to high adventure, they lent the movie the lineage of swashbucklers and Flash Gordon

The unique auditory creations expanded the universe, made us believe the ships were flying, made recognize that Darth Vader was choking that poor underling with the force. That Chewbacca was speaking in a native tongue we'd never heard, not just roaring like a lion. 

Star Wars changed the way movies were made in many ways, but it's sound design set a new standard that has rarely been met since. If you're trying to create a new experience for audiences, don't just think about what they will see. You have an entire other sense to work on. 

 Okay and now that we're done talking about how much the sound design of Star Wars changed the landscape, let's talk about how Han seemed like he was on a date with two women at once before he accepted the Obi-Wan job offer, and why that didn't make the final cut. 

 

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