Monday, February 20, 2006

Getting Movie Bird Songs Right

Monday, February 20, 2006
Earlier here in BOTB I posted about the digitally created calls of the Carolina parakeet featured in the new movie "The New World," directed by Terrence Malick.

A recent e-mail from birding broadcaster, jazz drummer, and BOTB reader Steve Moore included a link to this more in-depth article in Mix Magazine about the team that recorded and created the sounds (natural and otherwise) for the movie. Evidently Malick enlisted a team of experts to help him get the natural sounds, especially the bird sounds, as right as possible for coastal Virginia in the 1600s. And as a tip of the director's cap to birders, he supposedly inserted sounds of an ivory-billed woodpecker double rap into the film's credits.

It's clear that we need more of Hollywood's bigtime directors and actors to get into birding, if only so we aren't forced to hear common loons yodeling in the desert, or California quail calling in an obviously non-western setting. Hats off to Terrence Malick, Hollywood's most prominent birding movie director.


On February 21, 2006 at 10:53 AM robin andrea said...

That is really great. I've read that most directors use the sound of a Red-tailed Hawk for just about every bird of prey. It's refreshing to see a director go for authenticity.

On February 21, 2006 at 5:49 PM kathy said...

I have lots of California quail in my backyard in north-central Washington state. You and Julie have great blogs!

On May 31, 2006 at 12:14 AM Pat O'Donnell said...

Noce to hear that Malick put so much effort into getting bird sounds right. Certainly improves the quality of the movie, especially for astute birders. Some of my favorite vocalization errors:

Screaming Piha in temperate rainforeest in AI. The South American Screaming Piha is fairly ubiquitous in many forest types in movie land.

Dusky Titi monkeys in Congo. At least they were primates in a ridiculous movie about mythical primates. Too bad they are restricted to the Amazon.
Oh yes, there were large Macaw species calling here as well; maybe they took a trip to Africa in conjunction with the Dusky Titis.

Yes, the Red-tailed Hawk calling as Turkey Vulture in many movies and on TV as well.

Hermit Thrush: Ah, the pleasant song of the Hermit Thrush seems to grace most TV and movie soundscapes no matter the land or time.

And of course Mourning warblers and Savannah Sparrows are the most common birds of suburban landscapes in commercial land.

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