The Sound Design of ‘The Lord of the Rings’


Welcome to The queue – Your daily distraction from curated video content from across the web. Today we’re watching a video essay on sound design in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

When I hear the phrase “behind the scenes”, I think about Peter Jackson‘s Lord of the Rings Trilogy. The special features on these DVDs got me excited about filmmaking. And one of the things that hadn’t crossed my mind at the time was the work and creativity I used to create the sound of films.

The video below is based on the Blu-ray commentary tracks and summarizes the voices of various members of the sound design team (including) David Farmer, Ethan Van Der Rynand the late one Mike Hopkins. If you’re the type of person who likes to look behind the veil of movie magic, this feature-length highlight role is an absolute treat.

My personal favorite breakdown is the story of how they crafted the tingling screams of the Ringwraiths at the eleventh hour thanks to the terrible vocal skills of the Lord of the Rings film co-writer (and Jackson’s wife). Fran Walsh.

Given the length of the compilation, I thought I’d take a page out of Rob Hunter’s comment comment column and tempt you with some amusing context-free choices:

  • “The team put all these bottle tops together and put them two by four and strapped them to our feet … it was a great day.”
  • “For the Fellbeast, I knew from the start that I wanted it to be a donkey.”
  • “Since we didn’t have sixty thousand skulls …”
  • “Maybe they can play a little mug band off-screen … an orc mug band.”

Do you feel tempted? Of course you are! Then press to view the full video below.

Clock “MASSIVE sound design breakdown of the Lord of the Rings trilogy“:

Who did that?

This video is from INDEPTH sound design, a YouTube channel that performs profound deconstructions of cinematic sound design. Mike James Gallagher runs the channel that aims to inform its audience about the philosophies and techniques of sound design. You can subscribe to them here on YouTube. And you can follow them here on Twitter.

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