Sound Designer

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Blog with special focus on sound design in Film, TV, Radio, Video Games and Theme Parks.

Hands-On: Silent Space Sound Design

After my last blog entry about realism in space, I received a lot of feedback about some of the points I made about sound design in space films. While I didn't argue in favour of any specific way of designing sound for films in space, I wanted to show the importance of choosing a certain approach to it. As I said, sometimes the overall style of a film, a director or the story may ask for silence in space. And other times it might draw audiences out of the narrative and distract them if there's no big boom that goes with a grand explosion on screen.

Conforming to one way or another as a filmmaker certainly is an important stylistic decision that should be the outcome of in-depth reflection on the matter. And whichever way you prefer personally, it definitely is worth playing around with different stylistics of sound in space.

In addition to my last blog entry, I wanted to present a more hands-on example of how sound design style can alter the feeling, presence, function and impact a scene can have on audiences. Which is why I decided to take one of the most famous fight scenes in space-film-history and change its approach to sound design. Watch this excerpt of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) - but instead of going big, exterior shots in space now go silent.

After you watched this example of what I call a silent space sound design, ask yourself: How did the scene make you feel? Did you notice any differences as to what you'd feel if you watched the normal version of the scene (please click here for reference)? Is that because you are so used to the way the scene normally sounds, or is it because Star Wars' stylistics demand big sound? Do you think you would feel differently about the scene if it had silent space sound design?

Please share your thoughts with me in the comments section or via Twitter. I'd love to hear what you think.