It's the skipping, chopped sound in movies like Starwars, Batman and Transformers.

Listen here at 2:08 for example.


What is your take on it?


6 Answers 6


This is just my guess but those films you mention have one thing in common: they are loud films with dense soundtracks & overt sound design. One problem that combination creates is making sounds rate - if score & loud action based sound effects are already driving a scene with a lot of energy then subtle gestures in sound design will struggle to rate (unless a scene or moment has been created solely for that purpose) and one thing with stutter edits is that they draw attention to themselves - your ear & attention is pulled to the discontinuity, because when do such sounds occur naturally? Also the fact that they are not linear stutters (ie tightly following a 16th pattern etc) means they also perceptually seperate themselves from music rhythms...

  • @tim - I'm really digging this explanation. It's logical, insightful and to the point. Our ears do tend to single out and focus on the earcandy. We also focus on the horrible "soundalike" actors used for overdubbing all the "adult strength" language for all-access and public network broadcast of movies. I almost wished they used the Vari-Fi slow down like the rappers do for their radio releases. I'd have an easier time accepting that. Commented Jul 28, 2011 at 16:53

Why are Ferrari sports cars red? It's not to say that it's the best colour but it's an artistic choice that evokes the desired emotions in the consumer. The stutter edit sound effect in the clip was clearly designed to captivate the audience. To draw them into the scene and play with their emotions. I'm guessing a feeling of power and speed was what the sound designer was aiming at.

As with most product-based industries, we see many trends that become replicated and thus, evolve as they do so. Over recent cinematic time, this type of sound has become something we are familiar with and we easily associate it with racing/fast-moving vehicles. One of the earliest examples I can think of is the pod race in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (1999).

I'm sure this won't be the last time we'll see it used.


I think stutter effect here does not only captivate the audience: it also masks the source sound in some way, so the listener couldn't identify it right off the bat, because he have to pay attention to the whole action scene. I definitely hear voice of some animal - something like a lion's roar. It colors the sound of Batmobile, adds feeling of dangerous power.

  • no pun intended :p Commented Jul 23, 2011 at 13:01

I guess cause in big sound systems like cinemas it gives a really booming effect that sounds impressing!


I didn't have an answer for this until today, (yes, I actually searched for this thread afterwards!). I was recording a bunch of kids racing go karts and noticed that the sound of the engines plus the doppler effect actually creates that sound through a one mic setup. So my guess is that is why they do it although they do beef it up too. In case your wondering, the go karts were 2 strokes, about 200cc. I don't know if that makes a difference but that's what I had today.


I was always impressed at what the Waves Time/pitch shifter could do to sounds. Happy it came down in price now that my demo expire`d

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