Star Trek Post Production Complete + Oscar-winner Ben Burtt Provided Sound Design

JJ Abrams’ Star Trek film is officially complete. According to sources, post production on the summer 2009 film was actually completed Christmas week, shortly after JJ Abrams posted his Holiday greeting on Facebook. The final step of the post production was sound editing, and to help out they brought in Academy Award winner Ben Burtt.

Star Trek’s Post – March to December 2008
The post production for this Star Trek movie took just under nine months, which makes it the second longest in the franchise behind Star Trek The Motion Picture in 1979. Even though Paramount moved the released during production, JJ Abrams and his team decided not to make any significant changes to their delivery schedule (they have other projects to move on to and didn’t want to spend any more money than was needed). Once the first cut of the edit was completed over the summer, the major work to be done was with the visual effects by ILM and the recording of the score by Michael Giacchino. The last task in the post-production was the sound editing, including sound designing and recording. According to a trusted source, all of the recording of Majel Barrett Roddenberry’s voice work as the Enterprise computer was completed well before she passed away in late December, with the source noting "she is all over the movie."

Burtt gets heard in Trek
According to a studio insiders, one of the last people to join the Star Trek movie team was Academy Award winning sound designer Ben Burtt, best known for his work on the  Star Wars franchise. Burtt worked on all six Star Wars films and created most of the iconic sounds, including Chewbacca’s roar, light sabers and the droids. Burtt also worked as a sound designer on all of the Indiana Jones films, E.T., and last year’s Pixar hit Wall-E. Burtt is working alongside Mark Stoeckinger who was the sound editor for JJ Abrams Mission: Impossible: III. According to the source, they needed all the help they could get for the sheer number of new sounds that had to be created for this new Star Trek. Even though the film re-uses some iconic TOS sounds (like the Red Alert klaxon), all the sounds still need to be recreated, and then there are many more new sounds as well. Apparently Burtt is a huge Trek fan and was thrilled to get a chance to be involved.

Wall-E Behind-the-scenes feature on Burtt

Next steps – it’s all marketing
The new Star Trek movie is now four months away. All the activity between now and then will be in the hands of the marketers. Expect to see more images released and clips as well as the full theatrical poster and possibly another theatrical trailer.  There will also be a significant amount of merchandising closer to the film as well as additional promotional tie-ins, like the one with Intel. The big push will begin in the Spring with advertising, lots of interviews, a likely Paramount junket and all the stuff that goes along with a summer tent pole.

Another Star Trek milestone
What a long strange road its been. News of this Star Trek movie first arrived in the Spring of 2006, after months of behind the scenes discussions. In the end the film took a bit over three years from the first phone between Paramount and the new team, all the way to finalizing the film. Here are the major milestones along the way

late ’05  First discussions initiate between Paramount and Abrams/Orci/Kurtzman about a new Star Trek movie
4/20/06   Variety first reports JJ Abrams in talks to produce Star Trek film
7/15/06 Paramount announce multi-pic production deal with JJ Abrams / Bad Robot (to include new Star Trek movie)
7/22/06   Comic Con: Paramount release first teaser poster (showing blue & gold uniforms, hinting TOS era), indicated ‘2008’ release
1/07 Script completed / Paramount gives green light, begin discussions on director
2/24/07   Paramount announce green light, Abrams as director, Christmas ’08 release date
4/07 Abrams first confirms Kirk-era storyline for Star Trek
7/27/07 Comic Con: Zachary Quinto and Leonard Nimoy announced as ‘two Spocks’, release new teaser poster showing "Star Trek" as title
8/07-10/07 Casting rest of main ‘crew’ and cast
11/11/07  Principal photography begins
1/18/08  First teaser trailer released (w/ Cloverfield) + official movie site & ‘viral’ site launched
2/13/08 Release date changed to May 8th, 2009
3/27/08 Principal photography wraps, post-production begins
7/18/08 Comic Con poster with cast photos revealed + official site updated
8/1/08 First cut completed, shown to Paramount execs
10/14/08 First official images released (online & in Entertainment Weekly)
11/14/08 Theatrical trailer released with Quantum of Solace  (official site updated following Monday)
12/23/08 Post-production completed


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Is it May yet?

Oh and…FIRST!!!!


Great News! Now you can start working on Star Trek 12. ;-)


Can’t wait!

anyone else comin down with a case of chicken spocks and calling out sick on may 8th? LOL

Ben Burtt’s work is very inspirational.

Great to see Ben Burtt working on Star Trek. His sound design will be just what the movie needs. Seems like they really nailed this one!

I think the sound mix on anything is beyond vital. Bad sound can kill even the best visual film! Just check out the way TMP is improved by the Director’s Editon’s revamped sound mix!

Good news to hear that the new Trek film has gone to town on the sound mix as much as the visuals.

Burtt is the sh*t. He really is.

That’s a great bit of news having him be the sound designer/artist for this flick. The impact he has had on the sounds we have heard (and some of us grew up on) really is amazing.

Darth Vader breathing

And that’s but a fraction of just one movie. Who knows which sounds from Trek will become the new iconic sound?

… and the sky’s the limit …

Note that according to Anthony’s chronology the studio was talking to Abrams and his people about taking over “Star Trek.”

This was during about the same period that Erik Jendresen was telling folks that, regarding the Berman/Kerner film based on his script “I’m excited about this project and I think the chances of it getting made are good.”

Bottom line is that the higher-ups never really had much interest in that project.

So did anyone notice in ‘Eagle Eye’ the enterprise Klaxxon in one of the scenes? I guess not..

No, but I downloaded it from iTunes and am now using it as my alarm clock. I also just ordered one of the movie posters.

I am pumped.

Talk about an emotional roller coaster for the Trek world. May 8 can’t come fast enough!!

So now that it’s finished, anyone can tell us the running time of this puppy ?

Ben Burtt has been heard in Star Trek before, when whoever “designed” Star Trek V put a Star Wars blaster sound where the Klingon ship kills “God”.

Wow ben burtt really?

they really have pulled out all the stops on this one…

Its funny – years ago when Trek was at its Berman Treknobabble height (or more low point as I considered it) i used to fantasise (but not in a dirty way) about a mega budget Star Trek film with big stars and the absolute cream of hollywood behind it (with Cameron or Spielberg at the helm as id never heard of Abrams then)…but i never really believed it would ever happen….even though the Trek concept was there (mankind in the future travelling the galaxy on huge starships..transporters..phasers..etc)…it was all too embroiled in spin offs of spin offs and Technobabble etc……and now its really happened….(even Spielberg has been involved a little)…..crazy stuff

Actually in sometime in 2005 before this film was announced and when berman was prepping his rather dull sounding prequels about the formation of the Federation or whatever he was doing (set before or around the time of ‘Enterprise’?) I could hold it no more and i posted a thread on the Star Trek: The Beginning imdb forum where i said if they are intent on doing a prequel film they should do a film (or series of films) charting Pike on the NCC 1701..maybe even showing him take over command from Capt April in the 1st one (therefore set pre Cage) or had Pike as the very 1st captain of the just built NCC 1701. That way wed see the original Ent on the big screen again along with the early incarnations of the familiar stuff the fans love – phasers, communicators, uniforms etc (yeah im talking The Cage/WNMHGB uniforms, phasers etc…they wernt that different to TOS)…plus it wouldve allowed for stuff and ships looking different as it wouldve been set prior to TOS and even The Cage..

They couldve got a big star for Pike like Cruise or Crowe or whoever (as pike was about 40 in Cage so around that age or even younger) and had the rest of the cast – No 1, Boyce, the gee wizz navigator etc with lesser known actors (like they have in this new film)…as for Spock I suggested a young Nimoy lookalike (so I guess if theyd gone the full Pike route they couldve still got Quinto)…if theyd had Capt April – wouldve been just a cameo of Pike taking over from him and couldve been another huge star (Harrison Ford?)

I said the final scene of the maybe the 3rd film (if they did a pike trilogy) could have been Pike ‘handing over the keys’ to the new captain whilst stationed in spacedock…doors swish open…cue a 1966 ‘Where No Man Has Gone Before’ Shatner stepping onto the bridge via Forrest Gump/Trials and Tribulations CGI…takes the chair…then pike watches the Ent leave the startrek III mushroom spacedock as Kirk takes her out and records his ‘space the final frontier’ speech with Spock at his side…Alexander Courage theme kicks in…end credits…’Star Trek Begins’ as it were – then everyone could go home and put on the 2nd pilot..(like the way the end of Revenge of the Sith made everyone want to watch A New Hope straight after)

Anyway whats turned out looks like it’ll even better than how i thought that sounded

16 – i wanna know who was responsible for the screaming satellite after the Klingon BOP attacks it

As long as Burtt doesn’t use the Mac startup sound when the Enterprise computer powers up for the first time… and the sound effects in the final mix don’t overwhelm Giacchino’s score, I’m okay with this choice.

J.J. has said that it’s right around 2 hours.

#10, 14 – The only difference of recollection I have with Anthony is that “The Beginning” was being discussed in mid-to-late ’05, just after “Enterprise” was canceled. I don’t recall hearing anything about a movie deal before the show ended.

#18 That would be George Takei.

wall-e ruled, pixar is the genius storytelling entity of our time.

i have a few reservations about the new picture, but man, i cannot wait to see it.

i’ll be the guy first in line.

#17 – Actually, screaming satellite, I like your idea much better than what the actual movie seems to be doing. :)

This site rocks. Thanks Anthony.

24 – thank you very much Alex…however i much prefer whats happening myself. Its really Kirk, Spock and the rest who ARE Star Trek..and in my ‘version’ they would just be minor characters (well Kirk anyway who would just have a fan pleasing cameo at the end)…the focus would be on Pike and maybe Dr Boyce (im thinking similar a relationship to how the Capt and Dr played out in Master & Commander..which itself had alot of comparisons to trek – specifically TWOK).

Plus the only familiar ‘character’ that would appeal to the mainstream in something like that would be spock (who would be in the background abit) and the original Enterprise herself…Althought Pike is as well known to us Trekkies as Santa Claus, mainstream America would have little idea who he was..and would be wondering where the heck Capt Kirk is…

Having the film focus on kirk, spock and co is a MUCH safer bet for mainstream success than a full on Capt Pike adventure..even if it was a big A list star cast

#26Master and Commander is Star Trek 2. The Island is the Genesis planet, the fog bank the Mutara Nebula. The ship was even ambushed like the Enterprise.

I really believe that this will be the most successful Trek movie. It literally has everything going for it.

Brad Grey took over at Paramount around March 2005.

Jendresen was quoted as saying that Berman was attached to the film “in name only” and had no involvement in his script draft.

Frankly, I think most of the play on the Jendreson draft came out after it was dead, and that certainly the regime change to Brad Gray was responsible for its abandonment.

Plus, with ENTERPRISE having failed as a prequel era, it would be a no-brainer to dump another attempt at a 100 year prequel.

Finally, Abrams, Orci and Kurtzman are giving Star Trek fans what they’ve wanted since the summer of 1969 . . . Star Trek with Kirk and Spock and the basic trappings of TOS.

Gene didn’t really give us that in 1979 or 1987 and neither did Rick Berman in the 3 subsequent series claiming to be Star Trek. Its been a long wait!

Just to clarify, I’m inclined to agree that the higher ups never had much interest in the Jenderson project.


Now, the film goes into that special vault that Orci or Kurtzman were talking about for the next four months. Godspeed May 8!

God bless!

Ben Burtt is totally awesome…and I say this as a total Star Wars fanboy. Practically all the sounds from the original Star Wars films are so iconic, it’s crazy: just playing one of those sounds, even totally out of context, is enough to immediately take you into the Star Wars universe.

Example: One of the most memorable moments in Revenge of the Sith, for me at least, was at the very end, where the camera cuts across a newly-Imperialized Venator-class Star Destroyer, and several TIE Fighter looking things(V-Wing fighters, to be exact) fly across the screen.

As they do so, the old TIE fighter engine sound plays–and for me, at least, sitting there in the theater, that sound effect, combined with the familiar silhouettes and the classic John Williams Imperial March playing in the background, made for a very, very powerful moment. And clearly a testament to just how iconic Ben Burtt’s sound design was…

Course heading sir?

May 8th…..Maximum Warp!

So “Star Trek” is in the can, is it? Hmmm, I wonder… could we somehow convince Nate Ford and his team to steal us an advance print…?

19. Justin Olson – January 5, 2009
“As long as Burtt doesn’t use the Mac startup sound when the Enterprise computer powers up for the first time.”

God forbid it would be the Windows chime. A simple MBR “Working” would be more than fine.

Pardon me while I reboot just for the pure joy.

This just keeps a’gittin’ gooder and gooder!

If Burtt put a friggin’ Wilhelm scream in this movie, I’ll find him.

I was going to mention the klaxon sound in Eagle Eye. Right after they rob the armored car, sprinkler systems are set off in a bank forcing everyone out into the street. The sound was low in the mix and timed with the music. Could be why some people missed it.

Man it’s coming faster than I thought. And to think I’ve got the final BSG episodes, the BSG TV movie and Fringe to keep me company from here to May. =)

Oh My God . . . Ben Burtt? This is incredible!! What a coup for the Trek crew.

#32 Nathan:
Great example! I had the same reaction to that moment in “Sith.” That, and when Vader takes his first mechanical breath.

If the movie had come out Christmas, and done well, work would’ve started on the sequel. So, Bob Orci are you guys doing ANY type of preliminary work on the next movie anyway???

Jeez i’ve only been on this site since 4-20-2006.. I have been a dedicated follower.. Anthony you must be tired… That timeline makes me realize how big a fan I am.

Is it May yet?

Say what you will about canon (and I just *know* you will), but this movie is going to sound awesome. Ben Burtt rocks my eardrums.

@37: Oh, it’ll be there all right. Maybe it’ll be in Romulan.

By the way, I think this is one of the happiest threads I’ve read on this site :D

Any indication when the score album might be released? In some cases the score is released a few weeks before the film. I’m definitely looking forward to hearing Giacchino’s work.

First!!!! LOL

Time for a lock-up in a vault over the next 5 months. Now, all we need is some major environmental or terroristic catastrophe and they’ll have to go and digitally draw-in the nuclear explosion craters in the Iowa background shots.

How much do you want to bet there’ll be garbage torrent leaks of this movie with words like “DVDSCR” and “TS-DivX” in the filename over the next couple of months… What a waste of nerd bandwidth and time that’ll be. :)

4. vanedge asked:
“anyone else comin down with a case of chicken spocks and calling out sick on may 8th? LOL”

Ha! I’m taking a week-long vacation from May 8th – May 17th! ^_^

“The new Star Trek movie is now four months away.”

I felt a wave of giddy chills when I read this sentence! :)

geeus a gobo:)

46. Raphael Salgado – January 5, 2009
“Now, all we need is some major environmental or terroristic catastrophe and they’ll have to go and digitally draw-in the nuclear explosion craters in the Iowa background shots.”

How about not!
Where do you live and we’ll digitally add signs of terrorism to your home landscape. huh? I know you are just making a joke, but let’s not go there..k?