Leia's Hologram

Presenting, for the first time ever: the clean isolated audio of Leia's Hologram message.

To create the sound library for the R2-D2 Vocalizer and Gonk Vocalizer, I often had to isolate and clean up clips from the film audio tracks using restoration techniques. A droid builder messaged me to ask if I could try working that same magic on Leia's hologram message.

R2SpectrogramElectrocution

Lucasfilm has never released Carrie Fisher's complete, raw recording. In the film, music plays during the hologram scene. Previous attempts by builders at isolating her vocals have been low quality, distorted, and plagued with artifacts from the music.

Since this is a classic example of historic Star Wars audio, I was eager to take up the challenge. After running the audio through a few isolation algorithms, performing manual cleanup with a spectrogram editor, then combining the best of each take, here is the end result:

Original hologram audio
Isolated hologram audio

Not for commercial use. If you use this, please support STEM education by donating to FIRST®

Some droid builders requested this leveled version. Here I used compression and manual editing to smooth volume levels for audibility in noisy environments. Non-canon... use only if you must.

Lucasfilm actually used two different versions of the hologram audio. The theatrical version and early home releases feature a mix in which Leia's voice was filtered to sound like it was coming through a low-fi speaker.

The newest releases — Blu-Ray onward — feature a cleaner mix with perhaps just a high pass filter. This version is easy to spot because there are audio issues with the words "I regret that I am unable," during which the mix suddenly gets quieter and thinner.

EXAMPLE
Hologram from early releases
Hologram from Blu-Ray onward

I do not know why they pivoted away from the original filtered mix. Perhaps it was an oversight, or perhaps it was a creative decision. Interestingly, when the hologram is replayed in The Last Jedi, they returned to a filtered mix. The Last Jedi's version actually features even more intense filtering, presumably to convey the age of the recording.

I chose to perform my restoration using the original version. This is the more historically valuable iteration. Plus, the thinning during "I regret that I am unable" would sound even more awkward when isolated. I sourced my audio from Harmy's Despecialized Edition v2.7.

With thanks to Disney's Lee Towersey and Michael McMaster.
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