Ben Burtt Interview: Star Wars Sound Design

Ben Burtt, sound designer of the Star Wars films, details how he created the sound design of the original trilogy in this vintage interview.

In a film such as Star Wars, Burtt explains, the soundtrack is completely fabricated in a studio. Only about 15 to 20% of dialogue was recorded on-set; everything else was recorded later, including sound effects from footsteps to cloth rustle to exploding Death Stars.

Everything that goes into a final soundtrack requires organization, eventually becoming an encyclopedia of sound. Sound designers collect sound and catalog it. “I think I have 6,000 tapes,” Burtt says, consisting of everything from animal growls to jet engines. Thus, part of being a sound designer is “being a librarian.”

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