Few sound effects in film are as iconic as Godzilla’s roar. So the task of updating it for Gareth Edwards’ reboot of the monster franchise was nothing short of daunting.
For starters, there were 60 years of history to contend with. “It’s kind of a part of our culture — Godzilla and his roar,” says Erik Aadahl, sound designer on the film, which topped the box office last weekend. “It’s one of those sounds where you can go anywhere in the world and everybody knows what it is. It comes with a lot of responsibility to redesign it. Our starting point really was wanting to embrace the original and pay homage to it.”
So Aadahl and fellow Godzilla sound designer Ethan Van der Ryn went back to the very beginning. As the legend goes, the team designing the original roar for the first Godzilla film in 1954 tried recording animal sounds, but were unhappy with the results. It wasn’t until the film’s composer, Akira Ifukube, suggested using a musical instrument that they reached their eureka moment: They coated a leather glove with pine tar resin (to create friction) and rubbed the glove down the strings of a double bass, resulting in that classic “aaaAAAAaaaa” shriek.
Aadahl and Van der Ryn embarked on a similar process of experimentation. They also tried animal sounds, and even reproduced the glove-on-strings test, “but it still didn’t feel right,” Aadahl admits. The pair spent six months over a three-year period trying to perfect the roar, and finally found a scream worthy of the King of the Monsters with the aid of new technology, including scientific microphones that record above the range of human hearing. READ FULL STORY