How To make a Lightsaber-Sound

DJ Food hat ein tolles Dings aus seiner Flexidisc-Sammlung online gestellt, Ausgabe 34 des Star Wars Fan Club-Zines Bantha Tracks vom Herbst 1986. Darin erklärt Ben Burtt und die Sound Design-Wizards von Sprocket Systems (später dann Skywalker Sound), wie sie die Lichtschwert-Sounds hinbekommen hatten.

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Die haben im Prinzip zwei Summgeräusche (von einer Fernsehröhre und ’nem Projektor) zusammengemischt und das Lightsaber-Gefuchtel haben sie aufgenommen, in dem sie ein Mikrofon über einer Box geschwenkt haben. Der Telegraph hatte da neulich auch ein Posting dazu mit Zitaten aus J.W.Rinzlers The Sounds Of Star Wars:

"In the booth where we projected films we had these projectors and they made a hum when they were idling. The motors would sit there with this magical, mysterious humming sound that I thought was musical in a way. I thought, ‘That’s probably what a lightsaber would sound like’. “

But Burtt needed one more ingredient, and while searching for it a broken microphone element on his tape recorder picked up a buzz from the picture tube in his TV. “I said, that’s a great buzz, that sounds dangerous. So I recorded the buzz. Normally a sound person doesn’t want a buzz or a hum. In this case, the buzz and the hum were the answers.”

He took those elements and mixed them to give the swish and movements of the sword, waving an electric wand in front of the microphone to synchronise with the actors’ movements. When the sword hit something, he used the crash of a stick smashing into dry ice and even added a hint of vacuum cleaner swoosh.