How Sound Engineers Made the Millennium Falcon's Most Iconic Noise

By Darren Orf on at

The Millennium Falcon is the king of cool when it comes to classic sci-fi spaceships. The vessel is a kitbashed masterpiece and bold image that screams Star Wars. It's also a "piece of junk," a "bucket of bolts," and constant headache for Han Solo and company, but hey, she's got it where it counts.

The most famous Falcon sound from the original trilogy is the sci-fi "wah-wah" when Solo fails to jump to hyperspace. You know, the one that sounds like "beeeeew-bew-bew-bew-bew." Posted via YouTube by Eyes on Cinema, this three-minute interview with sound engineer Ben Burtt, conducted in 1980, walks through all the disparate noises needed to make that strange mechanical wheeze. In the process, it also shows that sound engineers are woefully under appreciated for their audible efforts.

The sound is primarily driven by a the inertia starter of a 1928 biplane and is then textured by a dentist's airjet, motors, tank turrets, and some groaning water pipes. Throw 'em all together and there you have it. [Eyes on Cinema via Digg]