The film’s fanciful visuals required a novel approach toward sound.

Culver City, CA (February 2, 2018)—The sound team at Sony Pictures Post Production Services responded to the visuals of Columbia Pictures’ Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle with a soundtrack of animal noises and made-up languages.

“The land of Jumanji is fictional,” says supervising sound editor Joel Shryack, who led the sound team alongside sound designer/supervising sound editor/re-recording mixer Julian Slater and re-recording mixer Kevin O’Connell. “The environments and animals aren’t exactly like they are in the real world. That gave us creative freedom, but it also challenged us to bring this world to life, sonically, in a way that’s believable and exciting for the audience.”

The animals needed to appear both familiar and larger than life, says Slater.

The animals needed to appear both familiar and larger than life, says Slater.

The new film centers on four high school students who discover an old video game console and are drawn into the game’s jungle setting. The teens assume the outer form of their game avatars (Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan), while retaining their adolescent personalities, and contend with a variety of menaces, including oversized hippos, rhinos and elephants.

The animals needed to appear both familiar and larger than life, says Slater. “They’re real animals, but they’re 50 percent bigger because this is Jumanji. Many of the animal sounds were designed from scratch and involved a cocktail of sounds blended together. For the hippos and rhinos, we blended in the sounds of tigers and even moose. We pitched them down and put them through filters to make them sound completely different from what we started with. I also used my own voice quite a bit."

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The sound team also took a novel approach with human sounds. One scene is set in what appears to be a crowded bazaar but it wasn’t meant to represent any real-world location. “We brought in actors who could speak a second language and had them make things up, using the cadence of Spanish or an African language, but not the words,” Shryack explains. “The crowds sound foreign, but it’s not a real language.”

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