The Sounds of Star Wars

Are you someone who likes to stay put in your seat after watching a film and watch all the credits? It helps you perhaps place an actor you recognised but could not name, let you know where some scenes were filmed, or give you the name of a song you liked on the soundtrack. Or you could be a huge movie nerd who likes to check who the DPP or lead grip is (Me? Guilty as charged.).

One name you might have seen a few times since 1977 is Ben Burtt. He’s a sound designer, whose name has appeared attached to such films as:

  • Indiana Jones
  • E.T.
  • WALL-E
  • Star Trek (2009 version)

He first came to prominence in 1977 working on a little film called Star Wars, aka Star Wars episode IV: A New Hope, and went on to work on all the subsequent Star Wars films. Including the ones about, aaaah, trade negotiations.

Burtt really did hit the road and think outside the box to gather and tweak his sound platter for Star Wars, and ‘The Sounds of Star Wars’ tells the story of how he produced the Academy Award-winning sounds for the film

The ‘The Sounds of Star Wars’ uses text and 300 photographs to tell that story, plus a neat little multimedia feature. Through the book there are 250 small, red, numbered dots appear on photographs. Type the corresponding number into the plastic pad on the right-hand side of the book, and the sound effect being discussed plays out over the book’s stereo speakers.

The Sounds of Star Wars book

Where to buy

The Sounds of Star Warscan be purchased online at Amazon.

This five minute or so video gives you a good look at the book: