November 13, 2009


The supernatural romance film stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, and centers on the growing relationship between a teenage girl and her vampire love interest, Edward. Chris Weitz directed the project, which is set for release on November 20.

During the initial discussions with Weitz, Hecker was given the direction of creating an immersive sonic atmosphere to underscore the mood and theme of the story. After that, Weitz freed Hecker and his team to explore creatively and contribute their ideas.

With key parts of the story relating to lead character Bella’s dreams and nightmares, Hecker and crew paid particular attention to the sonic transitions in and out of Bella’s waking state. Not only do these design elements guide the audience through the scenes, the sounds draw viewers deeper into the personal arc of Bella.  “This film offered many opportunities for very stylized sound,” notes Hecker. 

When Bella is separated from Edward, she finds that Edward appears to her in a vision if she is in mortal danger. Bella chooses to exploit this by riding motorcycles recklessly and eventually jumping off a cliff into the ocean. Hecker and Hromadka were able to play with the extremes of above-water and below-water atmospheres.

The werewolves presented a new element to this chapter of the Twilight saga.  “The werewolves are the size of cars,” explains Hecker. “When they fly through the air and land, we added processed booms and explosions to give a sense of their power and menace.” 

Due to their size, the werewolves’ growls, snarls, and roars couldn’t just sound like typical wolves either. Drawing on the extensive Universal Studios Sound (http://universal.filmmakersdestination.com/content/sound) effects library, as well as their own personal libraries, Hecker and the sound designers crafted the werewolves’ vocals by processing various sounds of dogs, wolves, bears and lions. To add even more of the supernatural, Hromadka sampled the screams of his teenage son, a death metal lead singer, to add to the werewolves’ sound signature.

In the climactic vampire battle scene that ends the film, vampires fly around in hyper-speed with the camera slowing and speeding up at various points. Hecker and Lee supported these visual speed ramps with dynamic effects to propel the action forward. In the end, Weitz made the decision to leave out the score in this section and use 100 percent sound design. He felt the sound design sold the visceral violence and speed of the vampires.