Sound Design In 1941 Was Amazing

The DAW has helped us in so many ways when it comes to audio production of just about any type. We can manipulate sounds to an amazing degree and the precision of when they occur is many times beyond what a person can do. That said, there is the performance aspect in the process that added that extra human element that’s missing today, for better or worse. It’s that way with music, and likewise in sound design, as you’ll soon see.

Sound design in 1941

I was just watching a documentary on the making of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon album where both the band and engineer Alan Parsons talked about the mix as a performance, with everyone in the band manning a control on the console since there was no automation back in 1968. The mix became a performance similar to being on stage since everyone had to do their job correctly for the mix to succeed.

I’ve heard similar stories from Ken Scott about doing Supertramp mixes that were so complex that they could had to go section by section of the song, then edit them together later. I’ve experienced it as well in by formative days in the studios that couldn’t afford automation, but I’d have to say that those mixes were probably the most fun I’ve had in the studio. And you never had to worry about the artist or band not liking it since they literally had their hands on the mix as it was being done.

That was certainly the case with movie sound design as well. In the video below we see how the sound design was a true performance as it was all done with one take. On this short Walt Disney cartoon from 1941, we see how both musicians and sound designers create all the sounds that make up the background sounds. Again, it’s all in one take.

Watch this short video, then head over to Pro Tools Expert where Mike Thornton gives a nice scene by scene explanation of what’s happening.

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