In this installment of Sound Effects Sorcery, we take a look at the incredible soundscapes of the heptopods in Arrival. This incredible soundscape came from many tracks layered together with a conglomeration of natural sounds and highly effected sounds.
Over the years, creature-features have gotten a lot more complex, and nowhere has it gotten more so than with the sound of those creatures. From Disney’s “Peter and the Wolf” where a guy flaps lips into a glass lantern globe to hundreds of tracks layered together in harmony for a single alien’s voice. With the advent of non-linear editing and massive computer power, the sky – or space – is the limit on what’s possible.
Arrival is the ultimate expression of that creativity and immersion, and I’m glad it got recognition for it. So powerful are the movies where sound (and even music) is a plot element like “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “Contact,” “V for Vendetta” and many more, Arrival’s entire story is based on sound being so complicated that we have to revert to visual mediums to communicate; a notion I found riveting.
Take a look at this analysis of the heptopod scene and see if you don’t agree with me how amazing and immersive the sound effects of this movie are. For more information about how the sounds were made, check out this article with the Supervising Sound Editor Sylvain Bellemare.