Creating the sound for the Interstellar movie

The sound for the blockbuster movie Interstellar was recorded using the Dolby Atmos system. If you have a choice, I highly recommend seeing the film in a theatre that has the Atmos sound system. Most of the popular movie sound formats such as THX, DTS, Dolby Digital and now Dolby Atmos play a short jingle before the main movie to highlight the capabilities of their sound system. The jingle for the Dolby Atmos system is no exception, and audiences are amazed by the sound judging by the “wow” ‘s, which has proper surround sound, overhead speakers, and powerful bass notes.

The website Soundworks has a video interview with the sound editors and foley artists that show how they created the amazing sound effects that work brilliantly with the movie.

The movie Gravity won an Oscar for their Atmos mixed sound editing. See another Soundworks video interview about the movie Gravity. I would not be at all surprised if the sound editors for Interstellar win an Oscar.


SoundWorks Collection – The Sound of Interstellar from Michael Coleman on Vimeo.

Stock Screams For The Movies

The Smithsonian Magazine reported on the use of screams in movies. Two commonly used stock  scream sounds are the Wilhelm or the Howie. The Wilhelm scream was first played in in the movie ‘Distant Drums’, from 1951.  The Howie scream was most likely first played in the film ‘The Ninth Configuration’, from 1980. These stock screams are used in numerous movies and video games.

Source: Smithsonian Magazine

Ig Nobel Prize for the Sound of Potato Chips

The 2008 Ig Nobel prizes were awarded recently which included an award to Massimiliano Zampini (University of Trento, Italy) and Charles Spence (Oxford University, UK) for conducting listening tests with people and found that by electronically modifying the sound that a potato chip makes when chewed can make the person think it is crisper and fresher.

Their work was published in the Journal of Sensory Studies.

Hearing loss associated with smoking and obesity

In one of the largest hearing loss studies ever conducted, the results show there is a strong correlation between hearing loss and smoking, and that it is dose-related. There was also a strong correlation between body-mass-index and hearing loss. On the upside, the results from the study show that moderate alcohol consumption had an ‘inverse correlation’ with hearing loss, meaning that some drinking seems to decrease the likelihood of age related hearing loss.

Read the entire journal paper here.

A frog with selective ultrasonic hearing

A collaboration between several research groups has found that a particular frog from China has the ability to ‘tune’ its hearing to a particular frequency range by opening and closing its Eustachian tubes. The researchers claim that this frog is the only known animal that can actively select the frequency range of interest.

Read the full news article on Medical News Today.

Mechanical Cochlear

Scientists at the University of Michigan are developing a mechanical cochlea. The MEMS device is designed to operate underwater and can currently sense acoustic waves in the range from 4.2kHz to 35kHz.

For more information read the UMich press release.