Getting the right voice-over and music for a planetarium show is essential. If the voice-over artist records a performance that’s too “dry” like they’re reading out of a legal journal, then you’re going to lose the audience. If the music is too “busy,” then it will distract from the show. I was very careful in who I chose to do our Sky Tonight narration and when it comes to music I’m extremely particular. The sound is vital to any type of show. And it’s this process that I found the most taxing on my patience.
You’ve got your script in hand. It’s been run through the Educators and the Editor. It’s all on the up-and-up. Now you just have to have your script recorded by a voice-over artist.
In the first part of “Creating a Planetarium Soundscape” I covered what it was like going from script to the voice-over recording process. But now we’re going to go into what it’s like to actually craft the music, sound effects, and 5.1 surround sound mix of a planetarium soundtrack.
What does it sound like to sling-shot around Jupiter or to crash land on Venus? What does it sound like when molecules rapidly vibrate around each other or when you’re able to fly through a nebula? Writing music for a visual medium can be challenging enough as it is, but when you’re attempting to rhapsodize upon experiences that people have a hard time wrapping their head around it can create a whole new realm of difficulty. I mean, how do you summarize the feeling of approaching a star that’s ten times more massive than our Sun? But aside from the creative aspect, the task of writing music for planetarium productions is completely different than writing music for any other visual medium.