How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is number one at the US box office, and Oscar-winning supervising sound editor/sound designer/re-recording mixer Randy Thom and MPSE award-winning sound designer Al Nelson were the sonic masters behind the film’s impressively evocative sound.

Here, they describe the sound of the dragon’s Hidden World, and dive into the creative details of creating sounds for new dragons, such as the Light Fury and the Death Grippers, and how they created new, more emotive sounds for Toothless. They also look back at their now-classic sound work on the Dragon films:

Written by Jennifer Walden. Images courtesy of Dreamworks.


Crafting How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World’s impressive sound – with Randy Thom & Al Nelson



Several Bay Area residents worked on the Oscar-nominated blockbuster smash “Black Panther“, up for six awards on Sunday.


One of the biggest elements of making “Black Panther” an international success is something you may not have even been aware of, but most definitely felt.


The sound.


Steve Boeddeker, Brandon Proctor and Benjamin A. Burtt are all Bay Area natives and residents. They worked together with a team of about 15 on the sound design and mixing of the film. Two of the six awards the movie is up for are Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing. The men call it a “team effort,” and said mixing and editing for this movie was unique for many reasons.


“There is an important message to convey with what this movie is doing. It just means so much to people around the world, but it’s also got to be wrapped up in the magic of a Marvel movie,” said Boeddeker.


Proctor chimed in to add, “On this job I was mixing dialogue and Steve and I both share the music duties, which is kind of unique.”


Thousands of layers of sound laid down second by second meant nine long months of work, both at Skywalker Sound in Marin County, then later in Los Angeles.


The secret sauce to making great sound for a blockbuster film?


“We went out of our way to make sure we had a good time and people who came to us always felt the energy in the room.”


“Black Panther” is up against a tough field in both sound categories, including “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “A Star is Born” and “First Man.” The “Black Panther” team isn’t making any predictions for the big night.


Boeddeker said, “I have a very good feeling that I am going to have a good time!”


Proctor said, “to be honest, being nominated is already amazing, you know? There are so many amazing sounding films, just to be a part of those five films is amazing.”


If Boeddeker, Proctor and Burtt win on Sunday, it will be each man’s first Oscar.


Congratulations to the NEXT GEN team for their MPSE Golden Reel Award win this weekend in the category of Non-Theatrical Animation Long-Form!


A complete list of awards can be found here.

Congratulations to Skywalker Sound’s Steve Boeddeker, Brandon Proctor and Benny Burtt on their Oscar Nominations for Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing!


The Oscars will be held on February 24th in Los Angeles.  For the full list of all nominees, click here.


Sound Mixing

“Black Panther”

Steve Boeddeker

Brandon Proctor

Peter Devlin


“Bohemian Rhapsody”

Paul Massey

Tim Cavagin

John Casali


“First Man”

Jon Taylor

Frank A. Montaño

Ai-Ling Lee

Mary H. Ellis



Skip Lievsay

Craig Henighan

Jose Antonio Garcia


“A Star Is Born”

Tom Ozanich

Dean Zupancic

Jason Ruder

Steve Morrow


Sound Editing 

“Black Panther”

Benjamin A. Burtt

Steve Boeddeker


“Bohemian Rhapsody”

John Warhurst

Nina Hartstone


“First Man”

Ai-Ling Lee

Aidred Iatrou Morgan


“A Quiet Place”

Ethan Van der Ryn

Erik Aadahl



Sergio Diaz

Skip Lievsay



More congratulations are in order for our incredible supervisors, sound designers, editorial crews and foley teams!  Members of the Skywalker family have been nominated for 15 projects across 8 different categories.  The Skywalker nominated projects are listed below. Individual nominees will be announced on the MPSE website on Jan 21st.



Feature Film – Effects / Foley

“Avengers: Infinity War” – Walt Disney Studios / Marvel Studios

“Black Panther” – Walt Disney Studios / Marvel Studios

“Ready Player One” – Warner Bros.



Feature Film – Animation

“Incredibles 2” – Walt Disney Pictures

“Ralph Breaks the Internet” – Walt Disney Animation Studios

“The Grinch” – Universal Pictures



Non-Theatrical Animation

“Next Gen” – Netflix



Short Form Animation

“Crow: The Legend” – Baobob Studios

“Star Wars: Rebels” “The War Between Worlds” – Disney / ABC



Feature Film – Documentary

“Generation Wealth” – Amazon Studios

“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” – Focus Features



Non-Theatrical Documentary

“Bobby Kennedy for President” “I’d Like to Serve” – Netflix



Broadcast Media Longform – Dialogue / ADR

“House of Cards” “Chapter 73” – Netflix



Special Venue

“Age of Sail” – Chromospheres / Google Spotlight

Wreck It Ralph: Ralph Breaks VR – ILMxLAB