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Is there such a thing as a real laser sound?

I am working on a documentary that centers around the laser. The director wants big laser sounds in sync with moving beams and such. But because this is a documentary that is about the laser an over the top sci-fi sound does not work. The shots are of anything from a check out line scanner in the grocery store, to a laser pointer, to lasik eye surgery stuff, to big military blow ups. I can certainly come up with with some interesting noise for what the laser touches and frys, but what about the beam itself.

Any ideas for big, yet natural sounds?

I think this is an oxymoron because the beam itself most likely does not make a sound and viewers are familiar with the idea that lasers don't make sounds. Any ideas fellow sound folks?


Try a droning buzz, like a flourescent lamp, but sped up. You can apply a doppler effect to the drone to simulate pass bys, etc.

Sincerely, Ric Viers The Detroit Chop Shop

You are correct. A laser makes no sound. In most cases, the laser-generating equipment also doesn't make a sound except a very faint 60 cycle hum.

Todd Bradley

Neon, Microphone cable (no Mic though...) Move it around in the Neon field...


Since lasers don't make sound, why not accompanying the lasers with music? It wouldn't even need to be a full arrangement. Since most people have futuristitc conntations associated with lasers, a sweeping synth chord or two could work well. I guess it depends on the mood of the documentary.

John Pospisil

This is tricky. It's a doc, so you have to consider the information or misinformation associating a sound with a soundless device will impart.

It's like the practice of editing in tire squeels on dirt road car chases. Tires don't squeel on dirt, but it adds to the drama. Or adding clacking to the stenographers machine. They are built to be silent, but sound can add to a dramatic shot of the stenographer taking down a key peice of information. Remember silence is also a choice and can be even more dramatic than a sound effect.

Charles Dayton

Thread "Realistic Laser Sound" started Mar 14, 2007 at Sound Design discussion list

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