Deconstructing the psychedelic sound design of ‘Dune’

The e-book collection Dune is one of the most celebrated sci-fi epics of all time, full of technological motifs like defend belts, hovering devices, and area journey. However for director Denis Villeneuve, who launched the newest movie remake in 2021, “at the finish of the day, Dune is a psychedelic journey.” It’s a drug-fueled exploration of the desert itself.

Certainly, Villeneuve’s Dune is a two-and-a-half-hour artwork movie, much less involved with racing by way of a plot than taking the viewer deep into the ecosystem of planet Arrakis—a spot that by no means rains, however someway helps 1,500-foot sandworms plowing below the earth like subway trains. And on this new, 29-minute, behind-the-scenes video, we get a deep dive into the movie’s considerate sound design, which was essential to creating that world.

Whereas many productions usher in sound designers after many of the visuals have already been finalized, supervising sound editor Mark Mangini (who labored with Villeneuve on Blade Runner 2049) started constructing the audioscape of Dune from its early days of manufacturing. Because of this, the sound truly informs all kinds of issues we see on-screen, and even fills in some of the conceptual gaps of the Dune collection. (How can a large worm truly burrow by way of a lot sand? It vibrates with a low frequency to displace particles.)

[Image: courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures/Legendary Pictures]

Mangini’s workforce arrange in a resort on the edge of Demise Valley, and shortly discovered that one of the tropes of the desert we all know—the omnipresent howl of dry wind—was an invention of movie, repeated by movie. In reality, dunes are sometimes nonetheless, silent locations, and after they aren’t, they really sing and groan much like an ominous soundtrack.


[Image: courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures/Legendary Pictures]

The workforce sourced sounds from nature, dragging microphones by way of the sand to simulate a worm, hammering the earth with a rubber mallet to seize the sound of a “thumper” gadget that the residents of Arrakis use to summon the beasts. Whereas these sounds are post-processed by cutting-edge audio software program to boost numerous traits, the core is natural, and thereby plausible.

[Image: courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures/Legendary Pictures]

I gained’t spoil insights from the total video for you, as a result of it truly is a pleasure to listen to how humble sounds snowball (err, sandball?) into extravagant spectacles. Sit again, seize a pair of headphones, and admire this craft of sound design being carried out at its highest degree. As a result of there’s no means that Dune’s sound design isn’t bagging a pair of Oscars.