6 Fascinatingly Bizarre Origins of Famous Film Sound Effects

Ever wondered how certain sound effects are made? Often, it can be the actual sound that has been generated being captured and used. However, there are many sounds that are created in weird and wonderful ways that won’t have been made known widely to those who hear them.

Foley artists have been the main creators of certain sounds, using objects and instruments to help them create the desired audio that can’t always be obtained. For instance, they have found ways in which they can create rain hitting a surface by using everyday household items. They’ve even found ways in which they can recreate noises to do with footsteps.

However, there have been some instances in which there have been some notable sounds to have been created through some rather bizarre origins…

1. Lightsabers in Star Wars

Perhaps one of the most iconic sound effects ever to have been created, the Star Wars lightsaber sounds are among those that have a really bizarre story behind them.

Ben Burtt created the initial sound by using two motors from projectors he was using, but he wasn’t quite convinced it was the right sound. Instead, he decided to use the noises that were created when he heard a microphone experience feedback when placed near a TV. He used both of these sounds together, and created what’s known as one of the most iconic sounds in film history.

2. Raiders of The Lost Ark Rolling Boulder

The rolling boulder in The Lost Ark was also the brainchild of Burtt, as it wouldn’t appear to be a shock given the equipment that he used to create the sounds that were made.

To create the effect, he used a car that didn’t have an engine and rolled it, along with a rolling one of the heavy-duty lawn rollers down a hill.

3. Godzilla’s Roar

When looking for sound effects that can incite fear into those that hear them for a project, Godzilla’s roar is perhaps one of the most common to be used due to how scary it is. It’s a sound that many believe to be the scariest in Hollywood history, with the 1954 version being the one that has shocked people to their core.

Indeed, it had an unusual way in which it was created. Japanese musician Akira Ifukube came up with the sound by using a glove covered in thick paint and playing it across his double bass. He would run it across the strings, thus creating the screeching sound that has become synonymous with the famous movie dinosaur.

4. Jurassic Park’s Dinosaurs

Speaking of famous movie dinosaurs, those that were featured in the Jurassic Park film were also given sounds from bizarre origins. Gary Rydstrom didn’t have a lot of source material to go by when creating the audio of this animatronic beasts in his role as the sound designer.

Instead, he would use editing techniques of common animals to help create the roars that are heard throughout the film. He would use geese honks for the Brachiosaurus, combine the noises of cows and horses for Gallimimus, and use a record of his dog’s bark for the growl of the T-Rex.

5. The Walk of E.T.

Steven Spielberg had told sound designer Joan Rowe to make E.T’s walk sound ‘liquidy and friendly’ and she duly obliged. Indeed, it wasn’t a normal process, and one that left her thinking out of the box.

As she walked around the shops, she noted certain sounds and how they could be mixed together to try and give the desired outcome. She found packaged liver in a container to sound ‘cheery’, whilst also believing the sounds that jelly in a wet towel and popcorn in a bag could be mixed together to create the perfect audio for when E.T. walked.

6. Star Wars Laser Blasts

Star Wars has managed to use several sounds from unlikely sources in the past, and the laser blasts from the guns that are used by Stormtroopers and others are among some of them.

Burtt had found that when an antenna tower wire had been hit with a metallic item or a hammer would provide a sound that sounded futuristic weapon. It’s also thought he really liked the sounds that were made as they were using a common object that everyone knows but wouldn’t instantly recognize.

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