VIDEO: Profile of the Sound of Star Trek 2009

One of the most celebrated parts of JJ Abrams new Star Trek movie is the sound. The Blu-ray for the movie has a great feature about the work of Academy Award winner Ben Burtt, but that covered just part of the sound of Star Trek. Now the sound obsessed site Soundworks has a great video profile on the sound of Star Trek including interviews with more of the sound team. See it below.


The Sound of Star Trek (From
The Soundworks profile of the sound of Star Trek includes interviews with Alan Rankin (supervising Sound Editor), Scott Gershin (Sound Designer), Mark Stoeckinger (supervising Sound Editor), Ann Scibelli (Sound Designer), and Tim Walston (Sound Designer). They discuss many of the aspects for Trek sounds including the ‘warp boom’, weapons, and more. The video has some cool reveals, including where the new door whoosh came from (turns out it is a toilet flush from a Russian train, although perhaps that is TMI).

Sound Oscars for Trek?
Although Star Trek is still a long shot for Best Picture, it is considered one of the front runners for the two sound Oscars (Best Sound Editing & Best Sound Mixing). The above Star Trek profile is part of a series being run by SoundWorks, looking at all the contenders for the year. Check out for their profiles for 2012, Up, Watchmen and more (with more to come).


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It’s too bad they didn’t touch on the mix parts… I remember reading articles earlier about how they had too much sound, so they reduced the mix. Also someting about the ‘pinging’ of the bridge.

So that’s the one who messed up the doors – if my doors made a sound that loud and for that long I’d make them manual again…

…do people not understand – if it aint broke dont fix it!!!

from a simple sssshhhhhh, to a sound that made every door some sort of high pressure chamber.

Fix the doors lady!!!!!! Forget your russian toilet!!!!

So did these guys work with Ben Burrt?

#6 yeah i agree. My only problem with the sound was the doors. Ironically the new doors make me think of 60’s sci fi and the original ones make me think of modern sci fi. Everything else sounded great.

Overall, I thought the sounds were great except for the doors, as mentioned, and I also felt the photon torpedoes launching sounded weak (in the last battle scene). I thought they should have had a little more punch to them, more so than the phasers. Instead they were kinda anemic sounding to me.


I think these guys initially were working on Star Trek, until Benn Burrt was brought in late in the production. I’m not sure though…. can anyone please correct me ? Because i remember hearing something like that.

Non the less, amazing job Benn Burtt and the entire sound team did with this movie ! Especially Benn Burtt….. His sounds in Star Wars are now part of my childhood memories ! Memorable sound effects !

In the Ben feature he talked about the door sounds being made from an airhose and sneakers on a linoleum floor.

I thought the photon sound was weak compared to the original sound effect. I think one of the best translations was the transporter. It was close to the original.

Ben is listed in the credits here..

Wait- I really don’t get it. Was this the sound crew that Ben Burrt replaced or did they work together? Please do some digging.

If Star Trek gets an Oscar for Best Lighting, I’m gonna eat my Blu-Ray discs, all three of ’em!!!
Then the box…..

More evidence to me that everything is subjective. I am a relative newcomer to Star Trek. and though I can see the merits of this movie over earlier ones, I can honestly say I never really noticed the sound design before, but this one got in the way a lot for me. I found it distracting more than once. There were just too many unique sounds competing for the same airwaves. If this wins an Oscar over Avatar I will be stunned.

Seems they only put in enough original sounds to make us happy. And why change like the weapons fire and doors, but leave the bridge sounds, and the transporter? Why not just use basically the same sounds? Just another reason I didn’t care much for the movie.

And Anthony, If I’m being a “cupcake” maybe you should Bite Me!

Did NOT like the phaser sounds at all. Besides, changing them from beams to ILM/Star Wars-style bolts really sucked.
I really miss that uber-cool classic phaser sound.
The door sounds had that high-pitched squeal that every sci-fi movie these days seems to NEED to use for some reason. (Much like resturaunts putting red onions in everything… but that’s another story.)
The photorps did also sound very wimpy.
Yeah, if it ain’t BROKE…
(Actually I think Al Howarth’s sound work on TMP was better.)


Yeah, I’m glad the Kelvin used the original style phaser beams, not that I hated the “bolts” as you put it, but it was one of a few reasons that I enjoyed that whole Kelvin sequence more than the rest. However, I did enjoy the movie overall.

I heard on the DVD extras feature about the sound that they couldn’t find the original sound effects, but that is silly, they are on CD even. I’d have rather heard one lifted from the CD master than a weaker recreation that sounded “pretty close” like the doors, photon torpedoes, or transporters.

I’m all for new effects, but not when they aren’t as good as the originals. The torpedoes sounded like a digital dictation recorder sound capture from a video game, no power at all.

Can’t say I really noticed the door swooshes while watching the movie, but given the opportunity now to listen to them specifically, they do seem way over the top. It’s all very well creating lots of points of interest and a rich experience, but sometimes, less is more.

The door swoosh didn’t have to be identical to the TOS one, but something quieter and more subtle would have been better than what we hear in this video. I did really enjoy the movie, but it seems like there’s a lot of style over substance (and common sense).

You all are forgetting so soon? The sounds you heard are from an alternative(parallel) universe, not the one from the past you’re used too! Cough, cough, sputter, wheeze.

The high-pitched sound the Kelvin (and other ships to some extent) makes when it passes in the opening shot is actually one of my favorite things about the movie, I wish they discussed that a little more since it is a bit of a departure from the typical low jet engine rumble used for external ship sounds.

as I understand it, Ben Burtt was brought in late because there was more work than they expected and need his help. He didnt replace as much as he augmented the team

Is it just me, or are the phaser sounds more reminiscent of the fighter guns from Babylon 5?

I award the Oscar for Best Lens Flare to Star Trek.

@ 25.

lol, its not that bad !

I thought the Lens flaring was a refreshing/innovative new style. I liked it. It worked well with the theme of the movie (optimistic bright future)

I especially loved the sound of the transporter too- the best was when Spock was going to beam to Vulcan- I loved the kind of whine right as the transporter is beginning to beam him down- So Cool!!!

Not to beat a dead horse, but a few of us have re-created the original sounds with additive synthesis:
If they wanted them, they could have done an even better job. The truth is they wanted to use their own sounds.