Behind the magic: an inside look at Skywalker Sound

March 12, 2015

“Skywalker Sound. Maybe you haven’t heard the name before, but you’ve definitely heard it. Or at least its product, anyway.

In the last decade Skywalker has mixed and made sound for hundreds of projects, everything from Pixar’s adorable animations to blockbuster action films like The Dark Knight.

It’s pretty good at it, too. Skywalker has won 18 Academy Awards and a handful of Golden Reels – the audio industry’s award for sound engineering – in a little over 25 years of operation.

The 40-or-so team members at Skywalker Sound work on a not-so-modest ranch in Nicasio, California – about 45 minutes north of San Francisco. The ranch, appropriately, is called Skywalker Ranch and is owned by none other than George Lucas.

Getting to the ranch is a bit of a trek, and security is tight – guards greet you on your way in and out of the complex. But once you’re past the collapsible iron bridge you’ll find anything you could ever need, sound mixing or otherwise.

Wandering around the property I saw cattle, a stable equipped for horseback riding, rows upon rows of crops and a vineyard. Inside the Tech Building was a red-brick labyrinth of million-dollar recording studios, original 1940s movie posters and a mostly organic buffet.

I was there to watch video game icon Tommy Tallarico and electronic dance music star BT work on their new album, Electronic Opus.”

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