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AMPAS Lecture by Ben Burtt on Sound


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#1 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
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Posted 18 May 2007 - 01:47 AM

I went to an AMPAS lecture series tonight on "The Sound Behind the Image", a presentation on the history of action/adventure movie sound and its influence on "Star Wars", given by Ben Burtt. Then there was a panel discussion with a lot of the sound people who did "Star Wars" -- about ten Oscar winners there on stage.

The clips were great to see on the big screen of the Goldwyn Theater. We saw the silent "Don Juan" with its original music & effects soundtrack, then a 1930's Tarzan movie, then the 1953 "War of the Worlds", then the opening desert scene in "Lawrence of Arabia" (in 70mm), a Chuck Jones Road Runner cartoon, and finally the opening reel of "Star Wars."

It was a pre-"A New Hope" original release print from 1977, one of the rare Technicolor dye transfer prints made in the U.K. I believe (no color fading!) Dolby-A stereo soundtrack.

They tried showing a 6-track mag 70mm Eastmancolor print from the time (no doubt faded to pink) but apparently the oxide of the mag stripes just fell off while testing the print before the lecture.

But certainly took me back in time to see a pristine (color-wise, it had some dirt & mild scratches) 35mm print of "Star Wars" from 1977 -- the exact version I first saw when I was 15 years old.

And it was great to hear these guys talk about the problems of mixing that movie's soundtrack with the technology of the day.
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