How the Sound of a Giant Shark in The Meg

August 19, 2023
David Sunnyside

There’s a lot going on in the summer blockbuster The Meg, with explosions and submarines and gargantuan prehistoric sharks on the beach. It’s a wild ride and, thanks to the aural magic of Dolby Atmos, it sounds pretty amazing. We talked to the team behind the film’s sound design to find out how they created the sound of this mega beast.

One of the big challenges is that real sharks don’t make sounds, but you need to be able to get the feeling of their power in the movie. So the re-recording mixers worked very hard to make sure you could hear their power and weight in the dialogue. There’s a moment in the movie where you can hear this massive, multi-ton creature chomping down on a window and it needs to be a visceral experience for the audience.

Another big challenge is the giant’s voice. In the beginning he’s very grating and metallic, but in the end he becomes more human. That’s a tricky thing to do, but you need to be able to hear that change from the first time he speaks to the last.

To get this sound, they recorded a Klavins piano model 370i which has a very large soundboard – almost double the size of a standard concert grand. Then they used a special technique called ‘effect convolution’ to recreate the sounds of different sized objects, including this massive cargo container. There’s also a second instrument, called Giant Cinematic, which contains more weird and wonderful sound effect-style patches.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
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