It’s Not Natural, But It’s Necessary

Here’s why sound design and effects are crucial to the quality of a film.

Let’s all agree that even though ‘Bumblebee’ is a Transformers movie, that it was far better than the past few (do me a favor and never watch Transformers: The Last Knight which got a 15% approval on Rotten Tomatoes).

Though we marvel over the quality of CGI and how far animation has progressed, we forget all that goes into sound design for movies, especially for films that are animated and digitally designed. Just a reminder, those sound effects background noises are not natural. Not even a little bit. This is where the Foley team comes in.

Foley sounds are any sounds based on a character’s actions or movements. Usually, this is for humans or animals, but here it’s all about making those Autobots and Decepticons sound lifelike. When it comes to Bumblebee, the team behind creating these sounds pulled inspiration using actual car parts and machine parts to make this alien car seem lifelike.

The genius and creativity that goes into every little sound and movement is mind-blowing. Just watch the scene below two times through, first time on muted then with the sound to see the real impact. And again, remember that none of these sounds are naturally occurring.

Bumblebee Wrecking the House

It may not seem like much, but the fact that we don’t register that these are not natural sounds when we are watching a film or TV show is a sign that these sound designers are doing a damn good job.

However, the next time you go watch any animated or CGI based movie or show, go into it with a different lens and focus on the impact of the sound design, and see if you can figure out how they created those sounds. If we can make Bumblebee feel lifelike, then heck, what else can we do with sound?!