I want to create a sound for a scene, in which the camera closely travels along a big planet and the planet is spinning in its own orbit slowly.

What would you suggest for this situation? Any references and EQ tricks are also appereciated.

  • Is the PoV in outer space? God's eye view or a character's perspective? If a character, what's her/his environment or location? Oct 15, 2010 at 18:03
  • In addition to NoiseJockey's question, how fast is the planet turning, and how much of the frame does it fill? Oct 15, 2010 at 18:20
  • More questions: what kind of planet is it? Is there life on it? Is it 'bad' or 'good'? Frozen or hot?
    – EMV
    Oct 15, 2010 at 18:39
  • @NoiseJockey POV is in outer space. Not a character, it is god's eye view. Oct 17, 2010 at 19:22
  • @Shaun Farley It is turning very very slowly but the speed of the camera adds some motion and dynamics to the turning effect. Oct 17, 2010 at 19:23

4 Answers 4


Since space is a vacuum, technically there would be no sound at all. Of course we all fall victim to the cliché that things that aren't supposed to emit sound often end up doing so in films/video games/tv shows, like computer graphics and laser guns. But I really do appreciate when sound folks make bold statements like not putting sounds in for things like planets turning, spaceship bys, explos in space, etc. Try it and see how it is received. One television series, Firefly, achieved this with great success.

  • So @Jay do you mean we should prefer a realistic sound design over an artistic sound design? I totally agree on being aware of basic physics warning people about it but i think it is a matter of choice depending on the needs of a project. May be in a space documentary, no planet sounds; may be in a sci-fi film, I would prefer sounds. Oct 17, 2010 at 19:29
  • @Selcuk, the best approach is so dependent on the type of project, mood, and sensibilities of the director/filmmaker, that it is almost impossible to advise you. The best advice I can give is to "tell the story", which may be a broad and overused phrase but it's true; every scene has an area of focus, you just need to discover it and tell that story. (My comment about the absence of sound was slightly in jest, but in practice I do try to incorporate silence as much as possible, and wherever appropriate.) Oct 17, 2010 at 20:00

For a quick fix I'd start off with an earthquake rumble or similar subby sound to lend it weight, maybe even layer a few together or pitch one up or down a few different ways so you can modulate the sound slightly as it turns. If you're fortunate enough that it has a discernible or extreme climate then add arctic wind/fire fx as appropriate. I also used flame throwers recently for texture on a fiery planet sequence and it worked quite well

  • Earthquake rumbles can be a good starting point. What I am going after is actually more like a sub base growl that people do not easily hear but feel the existence of it. Thanks for the suggestion @Charcoal ! Oct 17, 2010 at 19:37

have the ripples in gravity wreck the music instead of producing sound on its own? :D


Like most of the others, I think it really depends on POV (angle, distance) as well as what state the planet is in.

That said, I really liked what Ben Burtt did in the opening scene on Star Trek (2009): http://designingsound.org/2009/09/ben-burtt-special-star-trek-2009/

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