Home Forums Ganymede & Titan Forum The Sound Design Of Red Dwarf

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  • #264566
    Danny Stephenson
    Keymaster

    Hey peeps!

    I would like to open a thread about the Sound Design of Red Dwarf. I don’t think enough is said about this particular aspect of the production and I just wondered who else might have some thing to say about it.

    Pennycent for your thoughts?

    #264568
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    I don’t think much about the sound design of Red Dwarf… so it must be pretty good.

    #264569
    Jenuall
    Participant

    I’ve always been a big fan of the sound of Lister’s space mumps exploding off-screen, it’s wonderfully evocative and the audience know exactly what has happened even before the reveal of the Cat

    #264570
    Warbodog
    Participant

    I like the triumphant Also Sprach Zarathrustra-ish tone when the white hole collapses, but I think its reuse in Back to Reality is rubbish.

    #264571
    Danny Stephenson
    Keymaster

    Has anyone heard any sounds from Red Dwarf that were in other shows? I know thematically there’s not much of a crossover, but I’ve not heard any sound effects used in other shows from around that time. Possibly even Doctor Who.

    I’ve heard a few sounds in Star Wars that were used in Dwarf in series 3 onwards.

    Hitchhikers would be a good example that could maybe have some similar library usage if indeed that is what it is, but I haven’t seen that show enough to know.

    I’m going to be doing some digging in preparation of a thing I’m working on so any information anyone has about the sound of Dwarf or anything connected would be really helpful.

    #264572
    Danny Stephenson
    Keymaster

    I don’t think much about the sound design of Red Dwarf… so it must be pretty good.

    This is a good point. When done right, it should be invisible.

    #264573
    Danny Stephenson
    Keymaster

    I like the triumphant Also Sprach Zarathrustra-ish tone when the white hole collapses, but I think its reuse in Back to Reality is rubbish.

    That is an instrument that Howard Goodall likes to use a lot.

    Same with the Guitar patch that he uses for Ace’s Theme, but also shows up in some incidental music for Vicar Of Dibley. I believe it’s a Roland module of some kind.

    #264575
    Danny Stephenson
    Keymaster

    I’ve always been a big fan of the sound of Lister’s space mumps exploding off-screen, it’s wonderfully evocative and the audience know exactly what has happened even before the reveal of the Cat

    A lot of the sound effects seem to simple come from vocal sounds, and that one is no exception :)

    #264577
    GlenTokyo
    Participant

    I like that the doors have a distinct sound that everyone knows, varerrerrerrerr g’dshh

    Sign of a good show.

    #264578
    GlenTokyo
    Participant

    I’m sure there’s either a forum topic or an article on here about the sound effects of Red Dwarf, I remember reading and maybe commenting about it, mentioned the ‘Luke’s X Wing/ Starbug’ sound and stuff.

    Had a quick look but couldn’t find it, I did find an old post about a game called Red Dwarf Virtual Slob which released and I can find no record of now, which was interesting.

    #264580
    Danny Stephenson
    Keymaster

    mentioned the ‘Luke’s X Wing/ Starbug’ sound and stuff.

    I’ve located the exact source of that sound! I shall reveal all when the time is right.

    #264581
    clem
    Participant

    I’m sure there’s either a forum topic or an article on here about the sound effects of Red Dwarf, I remember reading and maybe commenting about it, mentioned the ‘Luke’s X Wing/ Starbug’ sound and stuff

    This one? https://www.ganymede.tv/forums/topic/familiar-sound-effects-used-in-red-dwarf/

    From that Keith Mayes interview on TOS: “Cat was going to speak like a cat, so we were going to use a vocoder to make him purr and growl.” !

    #264582
    Dave
    Participant

    I’m not sure it is a very sound design, it’s got a whopping great asteroid stuck in the side of it.

    #264583
    GlenTokyo
    Participant

    I’m sure there’s either a forum topic or an article on here about the sound effects of Red Dwarf, I remember reading and maybe commenting about it, mentioned the ‘Luke’s X Wing/ Starbug’ sound and stuff

    This one? https://www.ganymede.tv/forums/topic/familiar-sound-effects-used-in-red-dwarf/
    From that Keith Mayes interview on TOS: “Cat was going to speak like a cat, so we were going to use a vocoder to make him purr and growl.” !

    Yep, think that’ll be it. Thought it was a bit lengthier but some interesting nuggets on there.

    #264584
    Spaceworm Jim
    Participant

    Put on Justice just now, the sound design is great. When they arrive on Justice world it looks similar to a few corridor scenes set on the Dwarf, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, the sound design really sets them apart and gives off-ship a completely different feel. There’s a lot of examples of this in the show, I’m only pointing this out because I happen to be watching this episode in particular. DNA seems the obvious example, though the alien-ness of the ship they encounter is enhanced by the weird set, I think, whereas Justice World does look a lot like Red Dwarf the ship (no disrespect to designers intended) but there’s something about the atmosphere and mixing (?) of the sound that really makes it feel oddly unwelcoming. Something sterile about it, which intensifies from when they arrive until their minds are read by the probe, and then there’s that sound effect which I don’t recognise from any other episode which reaches the climax of alienation (?) and then it sort of takes it down a gear for the dialogue where Lister poos himself because he stole a bed from a hotel millions of years ago. So there’s a bit of relief in that scene that wouldn’t be there without that sound design, and the pause between the audience realising that Rimmer being found guilty is inevitable is allowed the perfect amount of time before the sinister sound comes back, even more sinister than before. Outright malicious, maybe. Rimmer’s little ‘help’ is louder than the Justice computer’s sentencing, which is the last thing I notice before pausing the episode to make this post.

    These are just a few of the thoughts I have, which can probably all be summed up with, when the sound design is good in Red Dwarf it’s fucking excellent.

    EDIT: Shit, forgot to pause and Netflix is playing Meltdown now.

    #264585
    RunawayTrain
    Participant

    I’m not sure it is a very sound design, it’s got a whopping great asteroid stuck in the side of it.

    Yet has stayed intact for all that time despite having an asteroid stuck in the side of it, so one could argue that is in fact proof of it being a sound design :p

    #264586
    Dave
    Participant

    Fair point.

    #264587
    Danny Stephenson
    Keymaster

    and then there’s that sound effect which I don’t recognise from any other episode which reaches the climax of alienation (?) and then it sort of takes it down a gear for the dialogue where Lister poos himself because he stole a bed from a hotel millions of years ago.

    Even as a kid, I understood there to be something weird about that scene. the absence of atmosphere is really jarring, but in a way that completely serves the story. It’s all about the dialogue right now, not the setting. (Not much of a set anyway but you know what I mean).

    Justice is a good example where sound design really helps the plot. The end fight scene with the simulant is great, the SFX have a real weight to them, and considering how much they’re meant to be hurting each other (themselves?) it really sells it.

    #264588
    Warbodog
    Participant

    I’m not sure it is a very sound design, it’s got a whopping great asteroid stuck in the side of it.

    Sorry to distract by fixating on nebulous canon:

    “A huge, shadowy carbuncle jutted out a mile or so from the red monster’s belly – a small moon, torn out of orbit, had flung itself into the ship’s solar plexus and was now embedded in the hull, hanging there like a giant stone leech.”

    Grant Naylor, 1989

    – “It can have a huge meteor in the side of it that they’re mining as they move along.”

    – “You had this big rock in the side, you were mining that rock and using that rock as power to make the ship go.”

    Grant Bye, 2007

    The Remastered design makes the intent clearer with the asteroid bays, but I’ve always gone with the book explanation/retcon, it gives the ship more character.

    #264589
    GlenTokyo
    Participant

    I’m not sure it is a very sound design, it’s got a whopping great asteroid stuck in the side of it.

    Sorry to distract by fixating on nebulous canon:
    “A huge, shadowy carbuncle jutted out a mile or so from the red monster’s belly – a small moon, torn out of orbit, had flung itself into the ship’s solar plexus and was now embedded in the hull, hanging there like a giant stone leech.”
    Grant Naylor, 1989
    – “It can have a huge meteor in the side of it that they’re mining as they move along.”
    – “You had this big rock in the side, you were mining that rock and using that rock as power to make the ship go.”
    Grant Bye, 2007
    The Remastered design makes the intent clearer with the asteroid bays, but I’ve always gone with the book explanation/retcon, it gives the ship more character.

    My head canon is that the asteroid is rich in whatever they build ships out of, some sci-fi mineral. They identify one and then hollow it out, the hollowed out bits are used to make the plating for the ship, and the parts where the meteor is visible if you were to go inside, the corridors are just carved out of the rock with some sheeting applied to mask the surface, or the cargo bays maybe, but basically it’s just a cave.

    It’d also be responsible for the gravity on the ship, being a huge rock at the bottom, pulls everyone roughly down.

    #264590
    Dave
    Participant

    Yeah, whatever the original intention I like the idea that it’s an intentional thing to have stuck to the ship, that they’re mining it rather than just putting up with it.

    Anyway, sorry to derail the thread.

    I’d suggest that the sound design sometimes says it best when it says nothing at all, to paraphrase Ronan Keating. (Or to paraphrase Kryten, when, there are no sounds to hear.) The sparseness and use of near-silence (especially in the early series) really help to emphasise the loneliness and isolation of being left alone on a giant ship that’s usually meant to be heaving with life. Being able to hear only the mechanical noises and background engine hums that would usually be drowned out by a crew of 169/1,169/11,169 people helps to make it feel like there’s something wrong, something missing.

    #264591

    I’d suggest that the sound design sometimes says it best when it says nothing at all, to paraphrase Ronan Keating.

    At the risk of derailing the thread further, that song is a cover.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/When_You_Say_Nothing_at_All

    #264592
    Dave
    Participant

    I know but I thought Ronan Keating was a funnier punchline.

    #264593

    A meteor that size would have obliterated the ship, so I’m definitely happy to accept the intentional mining idea.

    #264594
    Katydid
    Participant

    There’s a sound effect used for the drone of the Vogon ship in Hitch-Hiker’s Guide that shows up in Gunmen when Starbug is approaching the lava planet.

    #264604
    Danny Stephenson
    Keymaster

    There’s a sound effect used for the drone of the Vogon ship in Hitch-Hiker’s Guide that shows up in Gunmen when Starbug is approaching the lava planet.

    Oh fantastic. I will investigate

    #264610
    pfm
    Participant

    The idea of a huge hunk of rock, from a moon or otherwise, smashing into the belly of the Dwarf (rather than deliberately pulled into a bay) was kind of re-introduced with the new, bastardised version of the re-mastered model, as you can sort of see here…

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