Burtt in 2013
Benjamin Burtt Jr.
July 12, 1948
|Alma mater||University of Southern California|
|Children||Benjamin A. Burtt|
Benjamin "Ben" Burtt Jr. (born July 12, 1948) is an American sound designer, film editor, director, screenwriter, and voice actor. He has worked as sound designer on various films, including the Star Wars and Indiana Jones film series, Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), WALL-E (2008) and Star Trek (2009).
Sound design is the art and practice of creating sound tracks for a variety of needs. It involves specifying, acquiring or creating auditory elements using audio production techniques and tools. It is employed in a variety of disciplines including filmmaking, television production, video game development, theatre, sound recording and reproduction, live performance, sound art, post-production, radio and musical instrument development. Sound design commonly involves performing and editing of previously composed or recorded audio, such as sound effects and dialogue for the purposes of the medium. A sound designer is one who practices sound design.
Film editing is both a creative and a tech part of the post-production process of filmmaking. The term is derived from the traditional process of working with film which increasingly involves the use of digital technology.
A film director is a person who directs the making of a film. A film director controls a film's artistic and dramatic aspects and visualizes the screenplay while guiding the technical crew and actors in the fulfilment of that vision. The director has a key role in choosing the cast members, production design, and the creative aspects of filmmaking. Under European Union law, the director is viewed as the author of the film.
He is most notable for popularizing the Wilhelm scream in-joke and creating many of the iconic sound effects heard in the Star Wars film franchise, including the "voice" of R2-D2, the lightsaber hum, the sound of the blaster guns, and the heavy-breathing sound of Darth Vader, made from himself breathing into a scuba regulator. Burtt is also known for "voicing" the title character, WALL-E, in the 2008 Pixar movie WALL-E. He also created the robotic sound of WALL-E's voice, along with all the other characters in WALL-E, and was the sound editor of the movie.
The Wilhelm scream is a stock sound effect that has been used in at least 416 films and TV series, beginning in 1951 for the film Distant Drums. The scream is often used when someone is shot, falls from a great height, or is thrown from an explosion.
A media franchise, also known as multimedia franchise, is a collection of related media in which several derivative works have been produced from an original creative work of fiction, such as a film, a work of literature, a television program or a video game. The intellectual property from the work can be licensed to other parties or partners for further derivative works and commercial exploitation across a range of media and by a variety of industries for merchandising purposes.
R2-D2, or Artoo-Detoo, is a fictional robot character in the Star Wars franchise created by George Lucas. A small astromech droid, R2-D2 is a major character and appears in nine out of the ten Star Wars films to date. Throughout the course of the films, R2 is a friend to C-3PO, Padmé Amidala, Anakin Skywalker, Leia Organa, Luke Skywalker, and Obi-Wan Kenobi in various points in the saga.
The winner of four Academy Awards (two of which are Special Achievement Academy Awards), he is the director of various documentary films. He is also the editor of the Star Wars prequel trilogy.
The Academy Awards, also officially and popularly known as the Oscars, are a set of awards for artistic and technical merit in the film industry. Given annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), the awards are an international recognition of excellence in cinematic achievements as assessed by the Academy's voting membership. The various category winners are awarded a copy of a golden statuette, officially called the "Academy Award of Merit", although more commonly referred to by its nickname "Oscar".
The Special Achievement Award is an Academy Award given for an achievement that makes an exceptional contribution to the motion picture for which it was created, but for which there is no annual award category. The award may only be conferred for achievements in productions that also qualify as an eligible release for distinguished achievements and meet the Academy's eligibility year and deadlines requirements.
Burtt was born in Jamesville, New York, and graduated with a major in physics from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania.[ citation needed ]
Syracuse is a city in and the county seat of Onondaga County, New York, United States. It is the fifth-most populous city in the state of New York following New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, and Yonkers.
New York is a state in the Northeastern United States. New York was one of the original thirteen colonies that formed the United States. With an estimated 19.54 million residents in 2018, it is the fourth most populous state. In order to distinguish the state from the city with the same name, it is sometimes referred to as New York State.
Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its motion, and behavior through space and time, and that studies the related entities of energy and force. Physics is one of the most fundamental scientific disciplines, and its main goal is to understand how the universe behaves.
In 1970, he won the National Student Film Festival with a war film citation needed , reputedly after following exposure to classic aviation drama through making an amateur film at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, a living aviation museum in Red Hook, New York, under guidance from its founder, Cole Palen.[ citation needed ]
War film is a film genre concerned with warfare, typically about naval, air, or land battles, with combat scenes central to the drama. It has been strongly associated with the 20th century. The fateful nature of battle scenes means that war films often end with them. Themes explored include combat, survival and escape, camaraderie between soldiers, sacrifice, the futility and inhumanity of battle, the effects of war on society, and the moral and human issues raised by war. War films are often categorized by their milieu, such as the Korean War; the most popular subject is the Second World War. The stories told may be fiction, historical drama, or biographical. Critics have noted similarities between the Western and the war film.
"Citation needed" is a term used by editors of Wikipedia and refers to the name of a Wikipedia template, added to articles for requesting citations to be added to unsourced material. "Citation needed" is a characteristic of the policy of verifiability in Wikipedia; it has also become a general Internet meme.
Amateur film is the low-budget hobbyist art of film practised for passion and enjoyment and not for business purposes.
For his work on the special-effects film Genesis, Burtt won a scholarship to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California, where he earned a master's degree in film production.
Special effects are illusions or visual tricks used in the film, television, theatre, video game and simulator industries to simulate the imagined events in a story or virtual world.
The University of Southern California is a private research university in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 1880, it is the oldest private research university in California. For the 2018–19 academic year, there were 20,000 students enrolled in four-year undergraduate programs. USC also has 27,500 graduate and professional students in a number of different programs, including business, law, engineering, social work, occupational therapy, pharmacy, and medicine. It is the largest private employer in the city of Los Angeles, and generates $8 billion in economic impact on Los Angeles and California.
Los Angeles, officially the City of Los Angeles and often known by its initials L.A., is the most populous city in California, the second most populous city in the United States, after New York City, and the third most populous city in North America. With an estimated population of nearly four million, Los Angeles is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. The city is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood and the entertainment industry, and its sprawling metropolis. Los Angeles is the largest city on the West Coast of North America.
Burtt pioneered modern sound design, especially in the science-fiction and fantasy-film genres.Before his work in the first Star Wars (now known as Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope) in 1977, science-fiction films tended to use electronic-sounding effects for futuristic devices. Burtt sought a more natural sound, blending in "found sounds" to create the effects. The lightsaber hum, for instance, was derived from a film projector idling combined with feedback from a broken television set, and the blaster effect started with the sound acquired from hitting a guy-wire on a radio tower with a hammer.
He is personally responsible for some of the sounds heard in films. In the Star Wars series, part of R2-D2's beeps and whistles are Burtt's vocalizations, also made using an ARP 2600 synthesizer, as are some of the squawks made by the tiny holographic monsters on the Millennium Falcon spacecraft. In Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005) he provided the voice for Lushros Dofine, captain of the Invisible Hand cruiser. The heavy-breathing of Darth Vader was created by recording his own breathing in an old Dacor scuba regulator.
Burtt used the voice of an elderly lady with a very low voice that he had met in a photoshop for the voice of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial . The woman's low voice was the result of very heavy smoking, specifically Kool cigarettes. He created the "voice" of the title character and many other robots in Pixar's film WALL-E (2008), about a lonely garbage-compacting robot. Additionally, he is responsible for the sound effects in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008).
Burtt has a reputation for including a sound effect dubbed "the Wilhelm scream" in many of the movies he's worked on. Taken from a character named "Wilhelm" in the film The Charge at Feather River , the sound can be heard in countless films: for instance, in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope when a stormtrooper falls into a chasm and in Raiders of the Lost Ark when a Nazi soldier falls off the back of a moving car.
One of Burtt's more subtle, but highly effective sound effects is the "audio black hole." In Attack of the Clones , Burtt's use of the audio black hole involved the insertion of a short interval of absolute silence in the audio track, just prior to the detonation of "seismic charges" fired at the escaping Jedi spaceship. The effect of this second or less of silence is to accentuate the resulting explosion in the mind of the listener. Burtt recalled the source of this idea as follows: "I think back to where that idea might have come to me...I remember in film school a talk I had with an old retired sound editor who said they used to leave a few frames of silence in the track just before a big explosion. In those days they would 'paint' out the optical sound with ink. Then I thought of the airlock entry sequence in 2001 . I guess the seeds were there for me to nourish when it came to the seismic charges."
Burtt was among the golden ears that critically reviewed the various audio compression systems that were proposed for the ATSC 1.0 digital television system.
A tongue-in-cheek homage to Ben Burtt appears in the 1997 Activision PC game Zork: Grand Inquisitor - the spell 'Beburtt', which 'creates the illusion of inclement weather', plays dramatic thunderclap and rainfall sounds when cast.
Burtt directed several IMAX documentary films, including Blue Planet , Destiny in Space , and the Oscar-nominated Special Effects: Anything Can Happen .He edited the entire Star Wars prequel trilogy, and several episodes of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles . Burtt is also credited as the writer of several episodes of the 1980s Star Wars-based cartoon, Droids .
He makes a cameo appearance in two of the Star Wars films as an extra. In Return of the Jedi , he appeared as Colonel Dyer, the Imperial officer who yells "Freeze" before Han Solo knocks him off a balcony. The scream as he falls is his own imitation of the Wilhelm that he popularized. In Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace Burtt appears as Ebenn Q3 Baobab in the background near the end when Padmé Amidala congratulates Palpatine.
|Death Race 2000||1975||Yes||Uncredited|
|The Milpitas Monster||1976||Yes||Special effects artist|
|Star Wars||1977||Yes||Yes||1997 & 2004 versions|
Special dialogue and sound effects
|Invasion of the Body Snatchers||1978||Yes||Special sound effects creator|
|More American Graffiti||1979||Yes||Yes||Supervising sound editor|
|The Empire Strikes Back||1980||Yes||Yes||1997 & 2004 versions|
Supervising sound editor
|Raiders of the Lost Ark||1981||Yes|
|E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial||1982||Yes||E.T. voice designer|
|The Dark Crystal||1982||Yes||Special sound effects creator|
|Return of the Jedi||1983||Yes||Appeared as Commander Dyer and voice of Tortured Power Droid|
|Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom||1984||Yes||Yes|
|The Adventures of André and Wally B.||1984||Yes||Short film|
|The Dream Is Alive||1985||Yes||Short film|
Supervising sound designer
|Howard the Duck||1986||Yes||Sound effects editor|
|Nutcracker: The Motion Picture||1986||Yes|
|Niagara: Miracles, Myths and Magic||1986||Yes||Yes||Yes||Short film|
|Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade||1989||Yes|
|The True Story of Glory Continues||1990||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|The American Gangster||1992||Yes|
|Destiny in Space||1994||Yes||Co-director|
|Special Effects: Anything Can Happen||1996||Yes||Yes||Yes||Co-writer|
|Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace||1999||Yes||Yes||Yes||Supervising sound editor|
Appeared as Naboo Courier
|Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones||2002||Yes||Yes||Yes||Supervising sound editor|
|Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith||2005||Yes||Yes||Yes||Supervising sound editor|
Provided voice for Lushros Dofine
|Munich||2005||Yes||Yes||Supervising sound editor|
|WALL-E||2008||Yes||Yes||Provided voice for WALL·E / M-O / Robots|
Supervising sound editor
Provided voice for WALL·E
Special sound effects recordist
|Star Trek||2009||Yes||Yes||Sound editor|
|Super 8||2011||Yes||Yes||Supervising sound editor|
|Red Tails||2012||Yes||Yes||Yes||Supervising sound editor|
|Star Trek Into Darkness||2013||Yes||Yes||Supervising sound editor|
|Escape from Planet Earth||2013||Yes||Additional sound design|
|Star Wars: The Force Awakens||2015||Yes|
|Star Wars Holiday Special||1978||Yes||Television film|
|Star Wars: Droids||1986||Yes||Yes||Episode: "The Great Heep"|
|The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles||1992–1993||Yes||Yes||Yes||Second unit director (2 episodes)|
|Star Wars: Forces of Destiny||2017–2018||Yes|
Burtt was awarded the Doctor of Arts, honoris causa, by Allegheny College on May 9, 2004.
The Hollywood Post Alliance awarded him with The Charles S. Swartz Award for outstanding contributions to the field of post production.
Return of the Jedi is a 1983 American epic space-opera film directed by Richard Marquand. The screenplay is by Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas from a story by Lucas, who was also the executive producer. It is the third installment in the original Star Wars trilogy, set one year after The Empire Strikes Back. The film stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew and Frank Oz. It is the sixth film in the nine-part “Skywalker saga”
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith is a 2005 American epic space-opera film written and directed by George Lucas. It is the sixth entry in the Star Wars film series and stars Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Lee, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, and Frank Oz. It is the third installment in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, following The Phantom Menace (1999) and Attack of the Clones (2002), and the third film in the nine-part “Skywalker saga”.
The Star Wars science fiction universe, created by George Lucas, features dialogue that is not spoken in natural languages. The lingua franca of the franchise, for which the language the works are dubbed or written stand in, is Galactic Basic. Characters often speak languages other than Basic, notably Shyriiwook spoken by Chewbacca, droidspeak spoken by R2-D2 and BB-8, and Huttese spoken by Jabba the Hutt.
The Academy Award for Best Sound Editing is an Academy Award granted yearly to a film exhibiting the finest or most aesthetic sound design or sound editing. Sound editing is the creation of sound effects. The award is usually received by the Supervising Sound Editors of the film, sometimes accompanied by the Sound Designers.
Skywalker Sound is the sound effects, sound editing, sound design, sound mixing and music recording division of Lucasfilm. Its main facilities are located at George Lucas's Skywalker Ranch in Lucas Valley, near Nicasio, California.
The 50th Academy Awards were held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, California on April 3, 1978. The ceremonies were presided over by Bob Hope, who hosted the awards for the nineteenth and last time.
Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy is a 2004 documentary film directed by Kevin Burns and narrated by Robert Clotworthy. It documents the making of the original Star Wars trilogy: Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Return of the Jedi (1983), and their impact on popular culture.
WALL-E is a 2008 American computer-animated science fiction film produced by Pixar Animation Studios for Walt Disney Pictures. It was directed and co-written by Andrew Stanton, produced by Jim Morris, and co-written by Jim Reardon. It stars the voices of Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin, Fred Willard, John Ratzenberger, Kathy Najimy and Sigourney Weaver, and was the overall ninth feature film produced by the company. It follows a solitary trash compactor robot on a future, uninhabitable, deserted Earth, left to clean up garbage. However, he is visited by a probe sent by the starship Axiom, whom he falls in love with and pursues across the galaxy.
Special Effects: Anything Can Happen is an American documentary film directed by Academy Award-winning sound designer Ben Burtt and narrated by John Lithgow. It was released to IMAX theaters in 1996.
Craig Barron is an American visual effects artist, currently Creative Director at Magnopus, a Los Angeles media company that produces augmented and virtual-reality experiences.
David Randall Thoms is a sound designer, and the current Director of Sound Design at Skywalker Sound.
Richard Hymns is a sound editor. He has won 3 Academy Awards for his work on Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Jurassic Park and Saving Private Ryan.
Richard L. Anderson is an American sound effects editor, best known for Raiders of the Lost Ark. He has been nominated twice for sound editing, and received a Special Achievement Academy Award in 1981. He has nearly 140 film credits since his start in 1972.
Tom Bellfort is a sound editor. He has done sound editing on over 80 films since 1983.
Christopher Scarabosio is a sound editor who started working in sound on Gumby Adventures (1988) as a Sound Effects Assistant, and later as a Sound Editor on The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. He usually works at Skywalker Sound.
Lorne Peterson is a Canadian special effects artist most known for the Indiana Jones and Star Wars films.
Pablo Helman is an Argentine special effects artist. He has worked on nearly 30 films since 1995.
Benjamin A. Burtt, also known as Benny Burtt and Ben Burtt Jr., is an American sound editor for Skywalker Sound.