Apple Shares Star Wars Day 'Behind the Mac' Film

In celebration of Star Wars Day, Apple today shared a "Behind the Mac" film featuring Skywalker Sound, the sound effects division of Lucasfilm known for films like Star Wars and Indiana Jones.


Skywalker Sound uses 130 Mac Pro racks, 50 iMac, 50 MacBook Pro, and 50 Mac mini computers running Pro Tools, all of which remotely connect to a central machine room. The studio also uses a fleet of iPad, iPhone, and Apple TV devices to aid its production process. Staff at the ranch even emphasized the role of older equipment such as the Apple PowerBook.

Ben Burtt, the sound designer of the original Star Wars trilogy, the prequel trilogy, and the Indiana Jones franchise, said that his journey started with a Macintosh SE, and urged young people who want to work with sounds in movies to begin building a sound effects collection using "inexpensive applications that you can have access to now on your ‌iPad‌ or your MacBook, that you can actually do all kinds of cutting and sound-mixing at home."

Sound editor and sound designer Al Nelson said that ‌iPhone‌ recordings are "perfectly useable" in a professional context. Seven-time Oscar-winning sound designer Gary Rydstrom explained:

You can tell a lot of the story with sound in a way that is less expensive than visuals, usually, and sometimes more emotionally powerful. If you're interested in sound or filmmaking, you can record 4K+ video on your iPhone. There's no excuse. The stuff that's part of our day-to-day lives is the same stuff you need to record sound and make movies. That's the real revolution. Ultimately, it will democratize the whole process.

See Apple's full press release for more information about how Skywalker Sound creates its iconic, cinematic soundscapes.

On Monday, May 9, 2022, Apple will host a unique online Today at Apple session with Skywalker Sound's Leff Lefferts and Apple Music's Eddie Francis, featuring footage from Skywalker Ranch and the opportunity to learn from an Apple Creative Pro how to make vocal effects for a character using their voice, everyday objects, and GarageBand. Participants can sign up at apple.co/skywalker-sound.

Top Rated Comments

heystu Avatar
8 weeks ago
Well that was FREAKIN' AWESOME! Have so much respect and appreciation for sound designers after watching this video, especially liked the quote at the very end - "If you do your job right, no one will ever know..."
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Think creative Avatar
8 weeks ago

Unlike fangirl in the beginning of the video who thinks it's funny to resuse sound effects she likes, which anyone will tell you is a bad idea and breaks audience immersion.
Maybe This week of all weeks don’t make glib sexist remarks about a pro who’s at the top of her field? I love her enthusiasm, and I’ve watched both Mando and TLJ a ton and never noticed that sound until she pointed it out. It’s a sound Easter egg really, and pretty cool. Like the very famous scream that’s reused constantly. It doesn’t break the immersion, just adds another layer of flavor.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Jared Strike Avatar
8 weeks ago
And to think, people say Apple computers are not used in big-budget Hollywood film productions.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dwright1974 Avatar
8 weeks ago

Maybe This week of all weeks don’t make glib sexist remarks about a pro who’s at the top of her field? I love her enthusiasm, and I’ve watched both Mando and TLJ a ton and never noticed that sound until she pointed it out. It’s a sound Easter egg really, and pretty cool. Like the very famous scream that’s reused constantly. It doesn’t break the immersion, just adds another layer of flavor.
This. I would love to get as much out of my job as she does.

This video was great, and she was the shining star (sorry for all the shes, I can’t remember her name).

- D
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
orbital~debris Avatar
8 weeks ago
This is a fantastic short film! Loved watching and listening to it.

The enthusiasm of the sound engineers & designers is luminous.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BWhaler Avatar
8 weeks ago
Definitely watching this tonight. Looks really interesting.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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