The Rings Of Power Used This Subtle Sound Effect As A Harbinger Of Orcs [Exclusive]

It's a consistent staple across all big-budget endeavors throughout this industry: Even in the most complex and exorbitant productions, the devil is always in the details. The most epic stories told on the largest possible canvas can become completely undone by inattention to the smaller things that make narratives work. But if that's the case, then the opposite can be true, too. The first season of a show like "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" may have justified the incredibly high price that Amazon Studios paid of it thanks to an emphasis on getting the tiniest, most seemingly inconsequential details right.

Though purists will inevitably quibble about the exact level of faithfulness to J.R.R. Tolkien's texts in those details, it remains a fact that the creative team poured immense amounts of effort and care into every level of production. While the most obvious and headline-grabbing aspects always receive the greatest attention, it's helpful to look beyond the surface and appreciate the genuine craftsmanship that went into bringing Middle-earth to life in all its glory, horror, and tragedy in "The Rings of Power."

In a new interview just published on /Film, our own Jack Giroux spoke to the supervising sound editor for "The Rings of Power," Damian Del Borrello, to uncover all the secrets and hidden details that went into creating the soundscape of Middle-earth. Of all the fascinating tidbits and fresh new insights offered, perhaps the most interesting nugget comes from the specific sound effect used to signal the arrival and presence of those sinister orcs.

'We always hear a little bit of buzzing flies'

For as much as "The Rings of Power" makes us want to live among the nomadic harfoots or the elegant elves, the incredible visual design of those monstrous orcs provokes the exact opposite reaction. As much as the show went above and beyond to suggest a brief sympathetic viewpoint for those villains, everyone involved in the series made sure to provoke feelings of disgust and discomfort whenever the orcs appeared on screen. The best way to do that? Evoke the presence of buzzing flies, of course!

While talking to /Film, supervising sound editor Damian Del Borrello opened up about how he and his team used sound design to work in tandem with the actual imagery:

"[We tried] to find natural, organic sounds, real sounds, to then use as small motifs to underscore characteristics of character and races. With the orcs, we came up with this idea around the sound of buzzing flies. The orcs, they have the skin, then they have to stay covered from the sun because they burn. The idea that they're always a little bit sick, and they're always a little bit smelly, and a little bit crusty. So whenever we see the orcs, we always hear a little bit of buzzing flies, or if there's an orc around, then eventually in that scene they come through, we hear flies before we see the orc — that type of thing."

"The Rings of Power" took audiences from the idyllic country home of the harfoots to the majesty of Númenor to the bleak destruction of Mordor itself, but every scene with those orcs made viewers feel as dirty and unkempt as the fantasy characters themselves. Credit the sound design team for making it feel that much more visceral.