Director Michael Bay and Producer Steven Spielberg returned last summer for Transformer’s 3, Dark of the Moon. The transformer sound effects, credited to Re-recording mixers Greg Russell and Jeff Haboush, explore both design and foley in Dolby 7.1 surround sound, as well as 5.1 for the rookies.
An interview with Greg Russell elucidated the techniques of capturing the Transformer sound effects.
There are two types of sound effects used in films, design and foley. Design effects are those that cannot be produced naturally; usually used to suggest futuristic technology or musical emotion. In contrast, foley effects are natural sounds that synchronize on screen to plausible events. For example, a door closing or footsteps created in an external environment and placed in a film, are foley.
One effect used in the movie was Dry Ice. The interaction of Dry Ice and certain metals created a buzzing effect used on many of the aircrafts. Erik Aadahl, Supervising Sound Editor and Sound Designer, explains Dry Ice as the “funner” of methods because it allowed for more creativity and experiment.
Dark of the Moon opens with an aircraft crashing on a planet. Dry Ice was used to create the sound of the crash, debris and explosion.
Fireworks are great because they give clean missile sounds. Greg Russell and his team used various environments to record a batch of quality projectile effects.
In many cases, instruments can be used in an abnormal way to produce unique sound. An electric guitar, paired with a screwdriver created a metallic screech used throughout the movie.
In several instances, the guitar created the sound of large turrets attached to the mother ships.
Real Props (Foley)
Michael Bay knows that sound is as impactful as visuals. For quality purposes, Michael and his team recorded sounds that would fit the movie. For example: gun fire and car revs.
The Transformer sound effects team explored both foley and design, ranging from ice to guns. Director Michael Bay and Producer Steven Spielberg strived to match their sound with visual effects in the new Transformers: Dark of the Moon.