Friday, September 22, 2023

Unheard facts about Avatar

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Avatar, the highest-grossing film in the world’s film history.. unheard of things. Skywalker Sound was responsible for crafting not only the ambient noise of Pandora but also its many strange creatures. “A lot of the mandates that we got from Jim were specific sounds for specific creatures,” says Juan Peralta, who heads up postproduction sound at Skywalker and worked closely with Avatar’s sound designer, Christopher Boyce. “He wanted three vocalizations for the viper wolf, a six-legged, dog-like creature: one for stalking their prey, another when they’re chasing the prey—so that they can call to other viper wolves for help—and a third during the attack.” The viper wolf vocalizations came from hyenas and coyotes; much of Pandora’s ambient sound came from recordings taken in Costa Rica and Africa. The sound was originally mixed in 5.1, which will be preserved on the Blu-ray.
The Na’vi never existed outside the virtual world, but their clothes were a different story. “By the time I came into the project, it was pretty well-established what the world would be and the people would be,” says costume designer Deborah Scott, who also worked on Back to the Future, E.T., and Titanic. “It was just sort of a blank space on how the costumes were going to be accomplished.” Though the garment designs were simple, they incorporated many different fabrics and textiles. “The animators needed to have an actual 3D textured piece to make it look as real as it looks in the movie because of the nature of the design and the complicated weavings and the textures of the beads and feathers,” Scott says. Making the costumes in real life also gave animators a reference for how feathers would blow in the wind. “Even though the garments are simple, there’s a lot of movement in them,” Scott says. Composer James Horner was faced with an interesting challenge when crafting Avatar’s score: It had to incorporate instruments that weren’t familiar. “It’s amazing how many sounds sound like instruments from other countries,” Horner says. “I’d make a sound and even though it was made especially for the film, it sounded like something you might have heard, like some Iranian instrument,” Horner says. “And I would find a flute that sounded lovely, but it sounded like a Chinese flute or some weird bagpipe from the Scandinavian countries.” Horner ended up creating most of the instruments’ sounds on the computer; they were then played through keyboards, percussion, and wind instruments. “We had to create a whole world of sounds that Jim would buy off on,” Horner says.

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