Little known sci-fi fact: The accident that gave us the lightsaber

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Marc Bernardin
Dec 17, 2012

When he was tasked with doing the sound design for the first Star Wars film, Ben Burtt faced having to conjure audio for things no one had ever seen before. And when it came down to the lightsaber, an elegant weapon from a more civilized age, Burtt stumbled across genius.

In this clip from a documentary that came on one of the thousand different Star Wars home video releases, Burtt reveals the method behind this particular madness—and how a walk across the room led to the lightsaber breakthrough that not only won him his first Oscar but basically created modern sound design as we know it.

Burtt would go on to do sound design for the rest of the Star Wars saga (and assorted Star Wars videogames), as well as the Indiana Jones films, WALL-E and the Star Trek reboot.

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