Droids have an interesting creative process surrounding them. Not only are they an amazing feat of mechanical and digital technology, but there’s a whole lot that goes into designing the voices, which complements their respective personalities. R2-D2 was the big game-changer in sound design. Yes, he may have been a droid, but through a series of beeps and modified baby-like sounds, sound designer Ben Burtt was able to imbue him with an unprecedented amount of life for what amounts to a bucket of bolts.
In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the filmmakers were given the difficult task of not only creating a droid that could match R2-D2 in memorability, but creating something that stands completely on its own in a completely different way as R2. The end result was BB-8, who ended up being just as much of a spitfire as R2, but in a completely unique way. There were a variety of factors that contributed to this. The first was his unique soccer ball-like appearance, his relationship with Poe Dameron, and of course, his voice.
Like R2, his voice was a mixture of synthetic sounds mixed in with organic voices, which up until now I only thought came from actor Bill Hader. Well, it turns out I was only half right. In a new video released via the official Star Wars Twitter account (a video that will be in the Star Wars Collector’s Edition Blu-ray), we saw actor Ben Schwartz (who most may recognize as Jean-Ralphio from Parks and Rec) laying down a track that the sound designers used as a guideline for the end result, which incorporated Bill Hader’s own vocal talents.
Check out the video below:
As with all creative endeavors, there is hardly ever a specific throughline to the process. Often ideas and processes end up being tangents of tangents of tangents before a method is finally nailed down, and based on what supervising sound editor Matthew Wood had to say, this is also true with how BB-8’s voice was made.
“The first iteration of BB-8, [director J.J. Abrams] had…Ben Schwartz come in and fill in where BB-8 would speak. That gave us a nice clear path of conveying emotion, and where he was supposed to speak.”
“[The other sound designers] both came up with ideas that had a talkbox with a tactile interface. So we had Bill Hader come in. We sat with Bill and recorded with J.J. controlling the synthesizer, which he really like, because it was almost like a performance tool, which gave us a huge library of material.”
Goes to show how even the most under-appreciated jobs in filmmaking are sometimes the most interesting.
What do you think of this fact? Do you enjoy seeing how something like BB-8’s voice was accomplished, and will you be buying the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-ray? Let us know your thoughts down below!
Don't forget to share this post on your Facebook wall and with your Twitter followers! Just hit the buttons on the top of this page.
SOURCE: Star Wars