In Attack of the Clones we have a chase of Obi-Wan Kenobi by Jango Fett through an asteroid field wherein Fett detonates a series of "seismic charges".

The interesting things about the accompanying effect is the long delay between the visual effect and the sound effect.

Now, this is a depiction clearly inspired by a real world effect due to the difference in the speed of travel between light and sound. (It is readily apparent in the delay between observation of lightning and thunder.) Putting aside the question of what exactly the sound effect represents in space (It looks like it's supposed result from some kind of matter shockwave):

Is this the first instance of such an effect in space?

  • Is the sound really delayed, or is it just coming from when energy sphere "collapses"? – Skooba Feb 3 '17 at 15:54
  • @Skooba, well, it's a subtle point. I would consider any effect where a significant burst of light silently precedes a significant sound to be qualitatively the same for the purpose of the question. But there could be gray area (what counts as 'significant'?) – ThePopMachine Feb 3 '17 at 17:32
  • The more I look at this, the more interesting the effect is. You have flash; quick expansion to a sphere of finite size; collapse of the sphere into a disk; quick and unbounded expansion of the disk along its plane – ThePopMachine Feb 3 '17 at 17:35
  • No doubt it is an interesting effect. The more I watch it the more I am convinced the collapse is causing the sound (like when you clap your hands), but it then raises the question why the initial burst did not cause any sound! – Skooba Feb 3 '17 at 18:10
  • This has always been one of my favorite Star Wars space weapons. The sound effect gave me the impression of what a huge scale explosion was created. – Josh B. Feb 7 '17 at 19:46

The effect appears to have been created specifically for the movie. Attack of the Clones sound designer Ben Burtt has referred to the effect as an "audio black hole." It was inspired by previous sound design techniques and not by a specific effect found in nature.

I remember in film school a talk I had with an old retired sound editor who said they used to leave a few frames of silence in the track just before a big explosion.


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    Downvoted. Nice quote, but it doesn't answer the question. – Tim Feb 7 '17 at 19:43
  • Ben Burtt was the sound designer on Attack of the Clones. He created the actual effect described in the OP, and I quoted his inspiration for the sound effect. – pnschofield Feb 7 '17 at 19:52
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    it still doesn't directly answer the question as asked. It is good info though, - you maybe could get away with that citation and changing the answer to be 'no - the effect was invented for this film specifically' (which is what I think you are going for - no?) – NKCampbell Feb 7 '17 at 19:58
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    @Tim - Partial answers need love too... – Valorum Feb 7 '17 at 20:20
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    Partial answer gets the full bounty because no other candidates. – ThePopMachine Feb 10 '17 at 5:09

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