Pro Sound Effects Blog

Jurassic Park Sound Design Explained by Gary Rydstrom

Dive into the iconic sound world of Jurassic Park with sound designer Gary Rydstrom.

INDEPTH Sound Design is a treasure trove of sound design deconstructions and aural inspiration created by Mike James Gallagher.

A recent string of videos from INDEPTH features Academy Award®-winning sound designer Gary Rydstrom (Saving Private Ryan, Terminator 2) breaking down scenes from the classic 1993 film Jurassic Park

In the video above, Rydstrom breaks down the essentials of a T-Rex Roar and how different sounds were used to fill up the frequency spectrum of a conceptually big animal. He also praises filmmakers for thinking about sound ahead of the scene to draw out more tension:

“Spielberg was great in the T-Rex scene by getting several minutes of tension because you knew it was coming before you saw it, so it was cleverly planned to scare people that way.”

Randy Thom – another legendary film sound designer on films including The Revenant and The Incredibles, and current Director of Sound Design at Skywalker Sound – shared the video on Facebook and provided his own compelling insight for sound designers and filmmakers alike:

  1. Scenes need to be designed in certain specific ways to use sound well. Most directors desperately need to be taught this fact. 
  2. Very little processing was used on these sounds. Most of the magic is in finding and choosing great sounds, not in manipulating the sounds. Stop thinking about plugins. Spend your time finding great sounds and experimenting with placing them in contexts different from where they originated. 
  3. ........Spielberg and Rydstrom are geniuses.

In the next video below, Rydstrom deconstructs the layers of the Velociraptor Scream. There are various animal sounds included, and even a human, to bring this incredible scene to life:


These breakdowns give an insight on how sound can be used to make a scene extremely terrifying and elevate the tension that Spielberg envisioned.

See below for two more full deep dives on Jurassic Park sound design.

Follow INDEPTH on Instagram and YouTube for the latest breakdowns, and support on Patreon for more education sound design videos to come!