The Dolby Institute and the SoundWorks Collection have launched a series of 10 “Conversations with Sound Artists” podcasts, kicking off this week with Randy Thom, Skywalker Sound’s director of sound design. Thom discusses what makes great soundscapes with the Dolby Institute’s Glenn Kiser and the influence of “Apocalypse Now” on modern sound design (listen to a clip below).
Thom, a two-time Oscar winner got his break working as one of Walter Murch’s mixing assistants on “Apocalypse Now,” and it provides a crucial lesson in teaching the viewer how to listen to sound. Indeed, the film memorably opens with an unforgettable sound: “a ghostly synthesized helicopter,” Thom recalled.
As with great visual storytelling, the best sound design provides questions and a sense of mystery. “We don’t understand this ourselves — the filmmakers — you bring your history and your knowledge and your imagination into this,” Thom added. “Here are some clues that we have and you try and make sense of it.”
Thom, who most recently worked on Blue Sky’s “The Peanuts Movie” (Nov. 6),
suggested that Pixar’s “WALL-E” contains one of the bravest uses of sound
design in animation with the first half containing no dialogue. He
wishes more animation relied less on dialogue.
Upcoming podcasts include sound design for games, creative sound for docs, the art of sound mixing and sound for TV.