Netflix’s “dun dun” sound that plays before an original movie is quite familiar, but in order to spice it up a bit for films that receive theatrical releases, the streamer has teamed up with composer Hans Zimmer.
The sound, which can be heard in the video below, has little in common with the short “ta-dum” sound that I’m used to hearing. This is, well, incredibly Hans Zimmer; orchestral, intense, strong. The “ta-dum” as it existed on Netflix was too short for theaters, and the company knew it needed something longer to play in theaters. Tanya Kumar, head of brand design for Netflix, told Dallas Taylor, creator and host of the Twenty thousand Hertz podcast, which Netflix knew he wanted to work with someone who had a deep connection to cinema but who has also worked with Netflix in the past. Enter Zimmer.
Netflix’s “ta-dum” sound brand is one of the greatest of all time, but doesn’t perform as well in a movie theater as it only lasts 3 seconds.
Netflix therefore commissioned Hans Zimmer to extend it to cinemas and… it’s… so… good.pic.twitter.com/RGw26vCAGY
– Siqi Chen (@blader) August 9, 2020
Zimmer worked with Netflix on The crown, and the score has “a simplicity and elegance that we thought was perfect to fit into our brand as well,” Kumar said. The challenge was to find a way to keep Netflix’s “ta-dum” audio but make it bigger and a lot more cinematic, Taylor says.
The goal was to make Zimmer’s version feel better, more immersive – something people might expect to hear in a theater. Think of the iconic THX siren or the 20th century marching band. All of this had to be done in a way that was explicitly Netflix-like and in some ways the opposite of the team’s intention with the original “ta-dum”, which had to be short.
“First of all, and arguably most important, it had to be really short,” said Todd Yellin, vice president of product at Netflix. “In the age of click and play, you access Netflix, you want to be able to click, and there is no patience, you just want to access what you watch. “
Considering Netflix’s “ta-dum” that launched just five years ago in 2015, it’s pretty crazy how much that has changed as Netflix adapts to the industry it is in. The Netflix movies a few years ago didn’t even make it to theaters, really, but now the studio spends time every year making sure their Oscar hopefuls have time to play on the big screen.