Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ben Burtt interview - Upcoming Pixar

[photo via]

Sound Designer Ben Burtt moved from LucasFilm to Pixar a few years ago and headed up Sound Design on WALL•E. Have a read of this Q&A below with Burtt, thanks to Upcoming Pixar.

Some excerpts worth mentioning:

BB: I have always felt that the best way to get a robot voice is to have a human element and an electronic element and blend the two. So I worked out a circuit where I started with my voice and broke that down in the computer and then re-synthesized it. And the voice of EVE was done in a similar way. We used a woman at Pixar, who was named Elissa Knight. We started using her as a scratch track and once again, just like with me, once I ran it through the laborious computer process, we got results that we liked, and we felt we should keep it.

BB: I’ve always found, when you’re trying to create illusions with sound, especially in a science fiction or fantasy movie, that pulling sounds from the world around us is a great way to cement that illusion because you can go out and record an elevator in George Lucas’s house or something, and it will have that motor sound. It will be an elevator and you might associate it with that, but if you use it in a movie people will believe it’s a force field, or maybe it’s the sound of a spaceship door opening.
[...] It’s forging those connections between familiar sound and illusionary sound that I think is the basis of the success for a lot of the sounds that sound designers have put in these movies.

BB: I’ve been on this film for three years, so the work was being embedded right from the beginning, sometimes we would do some sounds and then do an animation test to try those sounds out. Those kinds of opportunities are great. So of course I’m very proud of that, what film gives you a chance to do sound effects as well as key voices in the film. Maybe the only other big assignment would be to do a movie with no music and see where you could go...

[some fun facts about
WALL•E’s sound design - promotional PDF]

[read more via]

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