Winds, water, and drones: Those are the primary sounds of an obliterated planet Earth in Oblivion, and Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is one of the last drone repairmen there to hear them.

Writer and director Joseph Kosinski (Tron: Legacy) conceived the story as a science fiction film that would feel “as organic and real as possible” for the viewer. That meant putting as much of the visual action in the frame as possible—with Dolby® Atmos™ sound, to match.

Gary Rizzo, rerecording mixer, says the new sound platform “places you in a far more immersive environment, where things are literally flying by you and you can feel the greater resolution in the movement around you.”

For rerecording mixer Juan Peralta, the director’s vision presented the challenge of creating a “natural” soundscape for a desolate world: one where the noise of drones has replaced the sounds of insects and birdsong. Juan says the drones “are robotic…high-tech creatures, but we still needed to portray some level of communication with Tom (Cruise).”

The film’s music also makes use of Dolby Atmos, to profound effect. Speaking at the Oblivion premiere at the Dolby Theatre℠, Joseph Kosinski noted that the separation of electronic elements, strings, and horns immerses the audience in the music.

Joseph, Gary, Juan, and other members of the film’s production team talk about how they created the sound of the story in this SoundWorks Collection feature. You can also read a red-carpet perspective of Oblivion’s premiere at the Dolby Theatre, complete with a life-size bubble jet.

What other-worldly sound pulled you into your favorite science-fiction film?