Sound And Visual Effects Team Discuss The Force Awakens at NAB Trade Show

Matt+Wood+Bryan+Bishop+NAB+Show+Star+Wars+IclL666_tP3lMore than 100,000 attendees were expected as the National Association of Broadcasters trade show opened inside the Las Vegas Convention Center on Monday. A panel featuring the amazing artists responsible for the audio and visuals of Star Wars: The Force Awakens spotlighted the event. In front of a room that was jam-packed like an ocean of bobbing and staring heads, visual effects supervisor Pat Tubach, visual effects art director James Clyne, and supervising sound editor Matthew Wood broke down their work on the film from conception to the finished film.


Yesterday, Bryan Bishop from the Verge moderated a panel about the making of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Those in attendance got a chance to see several special visual effects breakdowns as well as a ton of new information and details, including an Easter egg hiding in the Falcon chase, and how they created the look and sound of Kylo Ren’s new lightsaber. The team also displayed behind-the-scenes footage, concept drawings and the original Post-it Note sketch of the fan favorite BB-8 droid.


11 - Falcon-tatooine

Skywalker Sound’s “Sound Editor” Matthew Wood gave a little bit more insight on the origins of some of those “Star Wars” sounds. He talked about how vital it was for the new audio effects to match those in the original Star Wars films. Even for such seemingly inconsequential sounds as the noise made by the Millennium Falcon’s seats.


“So we found out the kind of motor that was used in the original,” he said. “We got that motor again and re-recorded it, so the sounds would be exactly the same.”

“We don’t want to change those things,” Wood added, “because sound has such an easy sort of emotional and subliminal way to put you back in the universe again.”

Standard Fighter

Ever wondered where the sound of a speeding Tie Fighter comes from? The creative team revealed the sound came from the cry of an elephant mixed with cars driving over wet pavement.


That was just the tip of the iceberg covered in the “Force Awakens” panel during the National Association of Broadcasters Show. In the world of audio and visuals, there is no film more iconic or revolutionary in sound design and visual effects than Star Wars. Making a good movie is hard enough, but carrying on the legacy of a saga that is cherished by billions of people is even harder. For any team working on a Star Wars film, the goal was to deliver a film that would be both groundbreaking and an instant classic at the same time.


For the complete experience, you can view the entire panel here.



Be sure to check back for more breaking Star Wars news here at SWNN.


May the Force be with you…



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24 thoughts on “Sound And Visual Effects Team Discuss The Force Awakens at NAB Trade Show

  • April 20, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    I was initially concerned at Ben Burtt’s lack of involvement in TFA. But these guys did an amazing job.

    • April 20, 2016 at 4:35 pm

      Yep. Star Wars movies and games have always been strong in the sound department and it looks like that isn’t going to change. Well done!

      • April 21, 2016 at 1:17 am

        I was a bit let down by the lack of new sounds… most of the new stuff we heard was on Jakku. Each previous film has had a noteworthy sound that’s hard to forget/ that blows us away… I didn’t get that from TFA.

        I had high expectations because Burtt did AMAZING work on the new Star Trek films, which IMO have some of the best sound work done in recent memory.

        • April 21, 2016 at 1:19 am

          Though I will say the Falcon sounded better than ever though… I was just hoping to hear some new engines that sounded cool.

        • April 21, 2016 at 3:38 am

          Did Burtt even work on his one? I think Wood took over who’s okay but no legend like him.

        • April 21, 2016 at 5:49 am

          “A new sound that blows us away”

          And by “us”, I’m guessing you mean the .1% of people who actually care?

          • April 21, 2016 at 6:21 pm

            That’s a fair point, the sound editting was excellent in the film… I just wasn’t a big fan of the disappearing light saber sounds during the Kylo/ Rey battle.

            But yeah I know what you mean, no podrace-esque sequence to show of new sounds. (not that I’m trying to defend the PT, but the sounds in that were awesome).

    • April 20, 2016 at 4:36 pm

      I thought Burtt has some involvement. Of course Matthew Wood was pretty much his apprentice.

  • April 20, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    Sucks that we can’t see what they were looking at.

  • April 20, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    Not the complete experience because the camera never pans up to show the display screen their all talking about.

  • April 20, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    I think the sound mix was the weakest part of TFA. There were several shots, specifically when the X-wing is chasing a TIE on Maz’s planet, where the trailers had a better sound mix than the movie.

    • April 20, 2016 at 7:51 pm

      I thought there was a notable lack of environmental sound both when Kylo was pursuing Rey in the woods, both on Takodana and Starkiller. On Takodana, you have a huge battle going on close to where Rey and Kylo are, and you hear no sounds of the battle. On Starkiller, you have a battle going on, again very close to where they are, plus the implosion of the planet, and again, you hear none of the sounds of this happening in the distance.

      • April 20, 2016 at 9:35 pm

        Depends on what they want the audience to focus on at the times noted. I am sure they sat and discussed this endlessly while watching the scenes in editing.
        It’s all personal preference.

        • April 21, 2016 at 1:15 am

          That battle scene’s sound really bothers me as well… but for a different reason. Anyone notice how the sound of the lightsabers was very weak? It almost sounds like it disappears in a few places (like as the sabers are being swung around). I actually listened for that at multiple theaters. Though I didn’t check it out at home yet… where I have a dolby atmos system setup.

          • April 21, 2016 at 2:47 am

            People will always find new things to complain about. I had heard very little about this until this week. And I am on these type boards a lot. Too much, really.

          • April 21, 2016 at 6:50 pm

            Just pay attention to the saber sounds the next time you watch the movie, & compare to the other films. There are times where Kylo’s saber completely disappears as it’s swinging.

  • April 20, 2016 at 11:01 pm

    I live in Hope that discussions like this (with footage etc) have been done for a collector’s edition at some point. The current bluray is so weak for extra stuff when compared to Lord of the Rings for example. I just can’t imagine that thIs is all we get for extras. What do others think ?

    • April 21, 2016 at 1:23 am

      I totally agree with you. I was hoping for a 2 hour making of documentary like on TPM DVD and a bunch of other tidbits. I wasn’t expecting anything like LOTR but I was expecting more than what we got.

      • April 21, 2016 at 3:37 am

        But then they wouldn’t have anything to include on the 3D release out in November or so.

        • April 21, 2016 at 11:46 am

          And us non 3D people have to miss out to all the 3D people? I call discrimination.

          • April 21, 2016 at 12:24 pm

            I honestly can’t name one person who has a 3D TV and now they are trying to push 4D on everyone.

          • April 22, 2016 at 8:31 am

            No neither can I. Even my brother-in-law who is a tech head won’t buy one. I think that sort of technology is best used for the cinema anyway.

          • April 22, 2016 at 2:51 pm

            Only reason I own any 3D ones is because all the good stuff is on them, you get the BD with it, and I usually find them on clearance months later like I will with ths one.

      • April 21, 2016 at 1:41 pm

        I mean surely Disney is not so lame that it takes The Verge to gather together their own people to discuss interesting inside “making of” topics like this. Nothing against the Verge, I congratulate them for doing this so we could listen in. But come on Disney…..

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