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How sound and music are used to bring a land to life. Copyright The Walt Disney Company.

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Video transcript

we're all probably familiar with how important music and sound effects are in film and theater these elements bring more depth and emotion to storytelling and the same holds true for what we do at Imagineering sound design in our parks presents some interesting and unique challenges and opportunities let's hear from the experts so you build this land and it's got everything that you dreamed of but it doesn't really come to full life until you start to add music and sound so when we first sit down we create an audio centric version of this story where we'll build off of the backstory that's been created by our show writer and we'll flesh that out with audio details what are the types of sounds you hear how do you hear them does it sound different at night than at day is this a scary place is this a whimsical place what is the motivation for everybody that may live in this place there's so much to it there's not only just like the musical theme or underscore but there are sound effects there are character voices there's a couple of different ways in which you experience music as you walk around Disneyland there's a background music track almost everywhere that you are and a lot of times these are tracks that are pulled from many different sources we have music researchers that sit down with the creative directors and they come up with the feel the mood the energy of what a space should be and then they go off and they listens to thousands and thousands of different music cues and then they eventually come down to fit the story to fit the mood and to fit the emotion that we're trying to impart on our guests when we're looking at music for an attraction oftentimes that starts from scratch we'll go out and find a composer usually one that had worked on a film property or one that has created music that's appropriate to this new experience we're creating and we'll work closely with them to design the music in a way that can present well in a specific attraction music this is so key to a major attraction experience because it lets you know how you're supposed to feel it accentuates the sea me too imagine imagine Pirates of the Caribbean without the theme song yo ho yo ho a pirate's life for me imagine it's a small world without the song it's the heart of the attraction there are some interesting practical considerations for how to deliver these sonic elements without taking guests out of the story considerations such as where to place the speakers what kinds of speakers to use and how to keep the sound in one area from being heard in other areas our sound designers work very closely with the people who design the sound systems this is a singular effort because the effect that you're trying to achieve is very dependent on your choice of speaker location your choice of speaker we look very carefully at how all the speakers are aimed and where the sound will probably be perceived as you walk around the park there are dozens of very small speakers that are just a few feet away from you but they're hidden by you know all the devices we use plants hidden to the design of the facilities we take very special care of merge points areas where two tracks could possibly collide there are very very directional speakers that will push sound only in a certain direction and those are helpful in keeping sound contained and then there are materials that will absorb sound very rapidly so it'll drop off quickly and you kind of know that sometimes you just need a boundary between space a and space B to just stop the sound from going and then of course there's volume how loud is the sound knowing it has to be loud enough to be heard over a big bunch of people so it can be too quiet and in the case of treasure Cove there are beautiful soundscapes as you move from the areas that are themed around the Spanish theatrical building that you have flamenco guitar in the background and beautiful Spanish music the sounds you hear coming from the jungle are different there too when you approach the Pirates Building you have that grand score and that music that draws you to that building and then you work around the band you work into the more the Caribbean area where the sound of tropical birds just overwhelms you the design of the sound and the music all moves with you and doesn't bleed from one place to the other so you have a sense again of journey which was really a key theme in our land in the case of Pandora once again we want you to feel completely enveloped in this imaginary world some other planet this environment of sound changes all day long from Sun up to the closing of the part so it's non-repeating like a natural world the sounds that you hear in the morning are totally different than the sounds you hear in the middle of the day and the sounds you hear at the end of the day and the sounds you hear at night and then secondarily there are little stories in those sounds so if you listen carefully you can hear mating calls and mating calls don't sound like alarm calls and you can hear alarm calls territorial calls you can hear little dramas taking place in the forest around you and when that all comes together it's like a wall of sound that you walk into when you walk into this world that surrounds you and helps you to believe that the place is real the audio team that put together the sound of the world as you walk around Pandora built this wonderful living breathing organism of a land but we wanted to create the attraction experience as something different so at the start of the Q line you still hear some of these natural worlds but as you get closer and closer to the moment we're actually going to get on the ride we start to strip these sounds away and you find yourself in almost a sterile lab environment with hospital like sounds and then as you get closer to the experience that physical spaces around you start to contract and they get smaller and they get smaller and we start to build in this throbbing tone that was comprised of a bunch of recordings I did at a power plant you can almost feel that air is energized with suspense and it culminates in you're sitting in this very confined space on this link chair that has this futuristic driving tone that plays off of that energy and then when you go through this leap moment all the sudden all of those natural sounds come rushing back at you a hit you like a wall of bricks you just overcome by it because we've stripped that all away we created a synthetic environment and then we blast you back into the natural world and it really takes your breath away so what will your land sound like what music will you choose to support your story and theme will it be slow and moody or fast and exciting address these questions and more in the next exercise