The Sound Effects of "Icarus"

3/25/20243 min read

A special screening of "The Icarus Maneuver" is now available for "sound effects only" for those inquiring minds who wish to learn more about the incredibly complex layers of immersion and realism brought to the picture.

Creating sound effects for "The Icarus Maneuver" was an incredibly intricate process. The film's dynamic storyline and thrilling sequences demanded a wide array of complex sound design to enhance the overall cinematic experience. From the thunderous explosions to the sound of people walking around on the bridge, every detail had to be meticulously crafted to captivate the audience. Our team of sound engineers and Foley artists worked tirelessly, experimenting with various techniques and recording sessions to achieve the desired effects. The challenge lay not only in accurately reproducing real-life sounds but also in synchronizing them seamlessly with the visual elements of the film. The result was a symphony of sound that envelops the viewers, immersing them in the world of "The Icarus Maneuver" and bringing the story to life.

The two challenges that director and senior sound designer Mark Edward Lewis faced was creating the massive amount of original sounds required to bring life to the gripping visual effects "ship shots" for the battle and the complex world of a starship at war - while on the bridge.

For the exterior sounds, Mark pulled from his previously recordings and sound libraries used for "Prelude to Axanar" recorded and implemented back in 2014. The special sounds made by both he and the late great Frank Serafine were still powerful even for Icarus, and were also used liberally in "Interlude," an Axanar fan film back in 2020 (which won awards for best sound). Sounds like trucks and stock cars going by, ape roars and other synthetic sounds were used for the sound of the Ares flying by screen. These sounds were resurrected and combined with a few new whooshes to add to the "realism" of a starship flying in a vacuum.

Similarly, the D6 sounds were brought back to life including the "thump, thump, thump" of the D6's temperamental impulse engine (known widely by FASA game players from "Starship Combat Simulator." Being mixed in 5.1 surround sound, the best way to experience the immersion of these exciting sound landscapes (sometimes 50+ tracks deep) is in the theater. Stay tuned to this blog for announcements of Icarus playing a local festival near you.

For the "on-bridge" shots, Mark sought to recreate the anxiety and terror of being onboard a submarine during a battle with a destroyer. Along with the "rigging for Red," coined by our Cinematographer Geoff Faigen, having an undertone of fear was critical to enhance the feel of the narrative. Along with rich foley, ambiences (done by Dana Wagner) and UI sound effects (also Dana), Mark went about crafting a 16 track-deep maelstrom of "call out" voices over the 1MC intercom on the bridge that ebbed and flowed with the emotional tide of the interior scenes.

Recorded by Dana Wagner at his "Middle-Earth" recording studio outside of Atlanta, GA, Dana recorded multiple actors speaking 50-odd lines. Mark then organized the lines across the scope of the scenes, added appropriate effects to make them sound like they were coming from consoles and "small speaker", added reverb to give the feel of them being heard on the bridge...and the undertone of emotion given by these performances gives a potent sense of fear and activity that the picture itself cannot portray.

As you listen to the sound-effects-only version of the mix, pay careful attention to the human sound effects of bodies sitting chairs, turning heads and walking, as well as the "call-outs" and how they powerfully add to the emotion in a subconscious way that the actors and music cannot add.