Fans of WALL-E and STAR WARS – You Need to Watch These Videos

     November 7, 2008

Written by Steve ‘Frosty’ Weintraub

Most people never notice the sound in a movie theater. As long as they can hear the dialogue and feel the explosions, they’re happy. But for cinefiles and people that understand how movies really work, sound is an art form.

While many have worked wonders bringing inanimate objects to life with sound design in the movies, one of the best working in the entire industry is Ben Burtt.

He’s the man that made millions of children scared of Darth Vader. He gave Indiana Jones a little extra pop when he punched someone. He’s also the one that made all of George Lucas’ CGI worlds in the Star Wars prequels have any life. And this year he made audiences around the world fall in love with a CG robot named Wall-e.

While the movie Wall-e had many challenges, I think the biggest was making people care about a protagonist that didn’t speak. After all, how can anyone know what someone feels when they can’t express in words what’s going on in their head.

But Wall-e did speak.

In fact, I think Wall-e spoke more eloquently than most of the actors I saw in countless movies this year. And the reason was Ben Burtt.

Ben was the one who came up with Wall-e’s sounds and his voice. He’s the one who designed what Wall-e would sound like as he crossed over land and metal. Ben was the reason you believed Wall-e was real.

Now that you know what Ben Burtt did for Wall-e, you’ll understand why I was excited to see Ben demonstrate how he made Wall-e come to life when I went to Pixar a little over a month ago.

The reason I got to visit Pixar was due to Wall-e’s upcoming home video release. As most of you know, Wall-e will be hitting DVD and Blu-ray on November 18th and the disc’s are loaded. While you can buy a single disc edition, I’d strongly advise you to pay a few dollars more and purchase the 3 disc edition – with a digital copy. And for you Blu-ray owners, they’re releasing a 2-disc Blu-ray edition which is going to look bananas in 1080p. When I visited Pixar they said this version is like watching it on their computers. It’s a perfect copy.

Anyway, when I was at Pixar Ben Burtt gave us a 30 demonstration on how he brought Wall-e to life and he answered a ton of questions from all the visiting journalists. Usually I just have a transcript and the audio of my interviews…but not this time! Since they were videotaping the presentation, I managed to get a copy and it’s posted below. So instead of reading the text…you can watch it!

In the coming days I’ll have a write up of what it was like visiting the campus and a few interviews. It was a fantastic trip.

And with that, here’s Ben Burtt. And for all you Star Wars fans…perhaps you might hear a sound or two from those films…

Pixar has asked for the videos to be taken down. I am very sorry if you missed them as they were incredible. If I can ever repost them I will.

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