May the 4th is universally considered “Star Wars Day” and to mark the occasion, Apple has showcased how an array of its products, including the Mac Pro, MacBook Pro, Mac mini and iOS devices, has been employed by Skywalker Sound artists to help create the movies we know and love.
The professionals at Skywalker Sound – a Lucasfilm company based at George Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch near Nicasio, California – have used Macs not just for recent Star Wars productions, but throughout the decades dating back to earlier days of the franchise.
Acclaimed sound artist Ben Burtt, for instance, has spoken of having “started out with a Macintosh SE, way back,” adding: “Word processing was a huge leap forward for me as a writer.”
He continued: “Sound editing in a way is really the same as word processing; cutting and pasting files. All the experience I had on the Mac immediately gave me training for what came along in cutting digital sound.”
Needless to say, Skywalker Ranch continues to keep up with the latest Macs today. In the Cupertino company’s words, “with the power of approximately 130 Mac Pro racks, as well as 50 iMac, 50 MacBook Pro, and 50 Mac mini computers running Pro Tools as their main audio application, along with a fleet of iPad, iPhone, and Apple TV devices, Skywalker is advancing sound artistry and reshaping the industry.”
Right now, the team’s use of Pro Tools for audio recording and editing is complemented by the Keyboard Maestro automation software and the post-production tool Matchbox.
You can find out even more in Apple’s latest episode of Behind the Mac, which is available on YouTube, and embedded in this AppleMagazine article. Apple has also published an in-depth newsroom post detailing the long relationship between Star Wars and the Mac, and how it continues to thrive today.
Fans can expect to learn even more ‘behind the scenes’ information in an upcoming Today at Apple session, featuring sound designer Leff Lefferts. The virtual session goes ahead on May 9 and is completely free, although users are required to book a place on the Today at Apple site.