The sound team responsible for the sound design on Star Trek XI explain how they created the sounds heard in Star Trek XI.
Some sounds in Star Trek XI are recognizable to old school fans of the original series, while new ones were created to meet the demands of modern day audiences.
According to Sound Designer Scott Gershin, it was necessary to update Star Trek for today’s audiences while still attracting the established fanbase. “The challenge was, how do we support the fanbase that’s familiar with the show,” he said, “but at the same point, bring in something that is new and fresh, something that makes sense in today’s society, the level of where audio is, in movies today.”
To impress today’s audiences, sound effects need to have more going for them. “When Star Trek was a TV show,” said Gershin. “There was no sub, there was no 5.1, so for my job, when the Enterprise fired…you need the power, you need people going ‘Wow that’s awesome!'”
Supervising Sound Editor Mark Stoeckinger spoke about creating sounds in space. “Interesting enough, at first, J.J. [Abrams] wanted it to be potentially silence in space and see how that was going to play and so the first sequence we worked on was the opening of the film and the Kelvin. And there was so much interesting action and visual effects and everything that was happening in space that we just felt like we gotta do something in sound. So we did put sound in space.”
An unfortunate occurrence for a Kelvin crewmember meant an opportunity to use silence in space to good effect. “There was an opportunity when one of the crewmen gets sucked out of a hole in the Kelvin to go to silence,” explained Stoeckinger, “and to experiment with that silence a bit and see what it could do and use it for dramatic purpose which I think worked out really well. And I know J.J. was very happy with that.”
Sound Designer Ann Schibelli spoke about sound effects with which most Trek fans are familiar, such as the swishing sound when ship doors are opened, and sounds associated with the transporter. “The design for the Enterprise door is such a signature sound that we’ve heard throughout the original series,” she said. “…I wanted to make it sound, you know, that classic [sound]. I was working on another project and we had recorded some Russian toilet flushes on a train. And it was one of those air flushes that had just a really cool vacuum suction sound. And as soon as I heard it, I said, ‘this is the sound for the Enterprise door.’ So that’s really what it is, a toilet flush.”
“The energize sound is from the original series,” said Schibelli, “the beam [transporter sound] is also from the original series, so there’s a lot of original elements from the original series that the audience can recognize and is familiar with.”