• Johnnie Burn has won a Bafta, a European Film Award, an Oscar Nomination, the rare Cannes Film Festival Palme - Prix CST de l’Artiste-Technicien and The Geogres Delerue Prize, all for the sound design.

     

    He and his team are the creative force behind soundscapes that have defined some of the most memorable moments in contemporary cinema. His journey in sound design has him feeling lucky to work alongside visionary filmmakers, crafting standout soundscapes that really do elevate the cinematic experience.

     

    Recent work includes Jonathan Glazer's THE ZONE OF INTEREST, Yorgos Lanthimos' Venice Golden Lion winning POOR THINGS , and Jordan Peele's extraordinary NOPE.

     

    Johnnie learned to crossover to film sound from commercials when making UNDER THE SKIN, and follwed that up with THE LOBSTER, THE FAVOURITE, THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER, WAVES, & AMMONITE.

     

    Before diving into film, he grew skills across various media, creating unforgettable multi award winning soundtracks for advertisements, designing the familiar tones of Skype/Teams, and collaborating with music legends like George Michael, Madonna, and David Bowie.

     

    With Wave Studios as a base in London, New York, and Amsterdam, he is part of a global hive of creatives dedicated to redefining sound in film. As a proud member of CAS, MPSE, AMPS, EFA, and BAFTA, he is committed to the art and craft of sound design, and believes that the audiences' sophistication has risen to enjoying nuance in more complex soundscapes .

  • The Zone Of Interest

    by Jonathan Glazer

    Winner Cannes Artist-Tenchnicein - European Best Sound - BAFTA Best Sound - Nominated for an Oscar

     

    The Higher Technical Commission for Sound and Images

    The jury of the Cannes Film Festival CST artist-technician prize awarded the 2023 prize to Johnnie Burn, sound designer and chief sound editor on Jonathan Glazer’s film The Zone of Interest. His sound design embodies the horror of genocide and questions our humanity.

    But the audio tells a different story, Johnnie Burn’s astonishing sound design and Mica Levi’s oppressive synth score coalescing into a sonic masterpiece. The house resounds with a constant low rumble that suggests the murderous machinery at work next door, the trivial household chit-chat punctuated by gunshots and screams. The Hösses never even flinch, the soundtrack of genocide having become mere mood music.

    review in The FT  

     

  • Poor Things

    by Yorgos Lanthimos

     

    Faraway a bell is ringing, maybe a cruise-ship bell or a cathedral chime or a cornershop ding, because there’s a new, lovely thing alive in the world and it is Yorgos Lanthimos’s Poor Things. A film (based on the novel by Alasdair Gray) that gives pleasure in every fantastical frame – pleasure to the eye, pleasure to the soul – this dazzling suite of dirty minded delights is set in not-quite-reality during an era of never-quite-was.

     

    The film’s sound design by Johnnie Burn — who worked on Lanthimos’ previous films including “The Lobster” (2015) and “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” (2017) — is nothing short of rocking and immersive. This overwhelming auditory experience balances a somewhat-soothing-yet-crazed orchestral score by Jerskin Fendrix. The sound and photography work hand-in-hand to craft an effective atmosphere, aesthetic and tone, making for a visceral journey for Bella’s character.

  • NOPE

    by JORDAN PEELE

    "What they've orchestrated as the soundscape of this film is otherworldly in a way so haunting that I literally had nightmares just about these sounds. Some of them come from terrestrial terrors, allowing Peele to suggest scenes of grisly violence without making a gruesome visual spectacle. Instead, off-camera attacks are seen in shrewd glimpses, but the violence hits hard because of the wet, pulpy thuds of the blows coming down. You don't need to see the blood when you can hear it." MASHABLE.COM 

    Here's How the Sound Design of 'Nope' Creates a "Creditable" Entity NO FILM SCHOOL

    "Sound design so good it'll make you say #Nope!" @SLASHFILM

    " “Nope” has been hand-tooled for the kind of presentation you can only get in a real theater — preferably Imax, to take full advantage of the film’s striking production design and eerie sound mix, which ranges from a thunderous, cinderblock-shaking roar to the kind of hush that isn’t so much a stillness as a sonic vacuum: the kind of silence in which you hear nothing but your own heartbeat. Kudos to sound designer Johnnie Burn"" THE WASHINGTON POST

  • Ammonite

    by Francis Lee

    click 4 trailer

    Ammonite is fiercely sensorial. Johnnie Burn’s sound design wraps the protagonists’ world in the unrelenting coastal winds and crashing white water that drags through the shore’s shingle - SIGHT & SOUND REVIEW

    “The film offered the possibility to create an immersive world from a long time ago, to develop this world from isolation to a love story, without relying on music and dialogue.”

    Focusing on sound and dialogue and avoiding the extensive use of music increased the importance of sound recording on set. Johnnie Burn disclosed how around filming he’d go to the location to study the natural sounds, work with and build on them later in the process.

    “The sound in ‘Ammonite’ was steeped in realism… the stronger we made that immersion, the deeper and more credible the experience would be for the viewer.” – Johnnie Burn

    “This period was just before the days of photography, so you’re putting yourself in that historical position and asking yourself questions about what you see and hear, and building the world through that” – Francis Lee

  • WAVES

    BY TREY EDWARD SHULTS

    watch the trailer?

    Johnnie Burn’s sound design, too, is thoroughly in sync with the characters — at a painfully suspenseful moment, a referee’s whistle splinters the air like a death knell — and a propulsive soundtrack of vintage and contemporary songs infuses and drives the twinned narratives, lending some sequences a modern operatic sensibility - THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

    In terms of the mixing and sound editing of the music, it's incredibly intricate. How did that process come about?

    (Trey): Yeah, it was intricate and a long process that started in the editing phase. I got to work with Johnnie Burn, he's our sound designer, and his whole team. Sound work doesn't get much better, in my opinion. It was a dream to work with him. He and his team have worked on some of my favourite movies.

    So much of the sound in this movie felt like it could be worked on forever, because we could experiment a great deal. The only limit was time, you know? It was really, really fun. We finished sound mixing after playing the film at the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals – right before we played at the London Film Festival, actually. At that point, it was like, 'OK, I think we should stop'.

  • the killing of a sacred deer

    by YORGOS LANTHIMOS

    There is a fantastic sound design in The Killing of a Sacred Deer from Johnnie Burn, who, along with his musical team, create an immense atmosphere of chilling horror, intense psychological musings, and euphoric orchestral releases, that become the emotional cues for the viewer to be engulfed b - UK FILM REVIEW

    Both some music and the sound in The Killing of a Sacred Deer are credited to Johnnie Burn (who did the sound design for Under the Skin as well as some of the music for The Lobster), and there’s good reason for that; the musical score and sound design are fully intertwined.

    The loud and abrasive score is made up of screeching violins, buzzing synthesizers, and thumping percussion, so it basically functions as an atonal soundscape. There are some more traditional sound effects throughout, and even some more traditional music (at one point, Raffey Cassidy’s Kim sings a chilling acapella version of Ellie Goulding’s “Burn”), but the most memorable and fascinating parts are when the music and sound combine into one big cacophonous mess. It’s genius.

  • THE FAVOURITE

    by YORGOS LANTHIMOS

     

    Johnnie made a short about the Super immersive Sound Design and mix of THE FAVOURITE, watch it here

    While this film could have been played very straight from a sound perspective, you and your team made a lot of bold sound design decisions that really lead the narrative. Can you talk about those decisions? Interview with Korey Pereira at DESIGNING SOUND

    2019 Nominee Golden Reel Award. Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing - Sound Effectsand Foley for Feature Film.

    Disturbing. Discordant. Often unnecessarily so. In an early scene in “The Favourite,” we slowly become aware that there’s a steady thrumming, thumping noise on the soundtrack. Occasionally there’s an urgency to it, as if it were warning us of some upcoming shock, but mostly it’s just there: constant and annoying and taking us out of the movie. To me, it sounds like a headache. It’s classic Yorgos.

  • THE LOBSTER

    by Yorgos Lanthimos

    here trailer here

    The 2015 Georges Delerue Award for Best Soundtrack/Sound Design went to Johnnei Burn & Yorgos Lanthimos for The Lobster

    The Lobster portrays a love story set in a dystopian future where single people are arrested and forced to find a mate within 45 days. Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Ben Whishaw, Olivia Colman, Lea Seydoux and John C. Reilly star in the production.

     

    "We’re extremely excited for Yorgos, Johnnie and the hardworking team that worked on the film, and we can’t wait to see how it goes down at the festival."

  • UNDER THE SKIN

    by JONATHAN GLAZER

    "Under the Skin," directed by Jonathan Glazer, serves as a masterclass in the importance of sound design in film. The movie, which stars Scarlett Johansson as an extraterrestrial being preying on men in Scotland, largely relies on its eerie, atmospheric soundscapes to create tension and immerse the audience in its otherworldly narrative.

    Here's a summary of the importance of sound design in the film

     

    Atmospheric Immersion: The sound design in "Under the Skin" is instrumental in establishing the film's unsettling and alien atmosphere. The ambient sounds, whether it's the hum of the van or the echoing void during the seduction scenes, contribute to the film's haunting and hypnotic quality.

    Character Development: The alien's journey from predator to someone more human-like is accompanied by a sonic evolution. Initially, the sounds associated with her are more mechanical and inhuman, but as she begins to understand humanity, the sounds become more organic and familiar.

     

    Narrative Drive: Given the film's minimal dialogue, sound plays a significant role in moving the narrative forward. The audio cues help provide context and guide the audience's emotions, making them feel the alien's curiosity, confusion, and eventual fear.

     

    Emotional Resonance: The film's score, composed by Mica Levi, complements the sound design perfectly. The unsettling strings and otherworldly melodies mirror the protagonist's alien nature and her emotional journey, enhancing the audience's emotional engagement with the story.

    Contrast and Juxtaposition: The sound design often plays with contrasts, such as the serene Scottish landscapes juxtaposed with the eerie and mechanical sounds of the alien's world. These contrasts heighten the film's unsettling nature and underline the alien's outsider perspective.

     

    "Under the Skin" exemplifies how sound design can be as crucial as visuals in storytelling, character development, and emotional engagement. The film's sound design is a testament to the power of audio in amplifying a movie's impact and leaving a lasting impression on its audience.

     

    Some of the most disturbing moments in Under the Skin are two scenes set at a remote and rocky beach. Narratively speaking, they are built around two murders – including one of a baby left to die on the shoreline – but sonically they create layers that are profoundly upsetting and unsettling. We hear the sounds of the waves breaking on the shore, a dog barking, a baby crying, screaming and shouting, as well as footsteps on shale, the beehive effect, and the wind in the air. However, each sound carries its own impressionable register – the sublime enormity of the waves and white horses set achingly against the piercing, hysterical cries of the baby that has been left on the beach. The scene’s horror doesn’t just come with the three adult corpses, two of whom drown, and one of whom is murdered by the seductress, but with the death of the baby that will be. The return to the beach scene some hours later, to find the child still wailing in the (now) acrid darkness, sounding waves now close to his feet, carries real and all-encompassing phenomenological power

     

    Listen.

    If you listen closely, intensely, you will hear the sounds of loneliness scoring the most profound encounters found on our screens and in their relatable, traceable senses.

    Sounding loneliness is heard in the timbre of the vanquished voice, the rhythmic pattern of raindrops falling, the nervous beep of a horn emitting from a car parked in the urban shadows.

    Listen.

    Sounding loneliness is made manifest in the cries of a sibling, the weeping strings of a violin, the rustle of yesterday’s newspaper, the click click click of a midnight mouse, and the primordial raptures of the wind banging at the back door.

    This seminal film uses sound like no other

    Still the reason the phone rings! - HERE IS THE TRAILER

  • contact

    johnnie@wavestudios.co.uk

    London, New York, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, Brighton
    +442074398080