LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Suraj Pillai always had a passion for films. With his love for movies and a movie producer uncle, Pillai knew he would someday come to Hollywood. Today, the movie buff is a respected sound engineer who is helping bring three series from the Star Trek franchise to foreign countries.
“I am very pleased to be a part of this effort to bring these ‘Star Trek’ series to many audiences around the world,” Pillai said. “As a fan of ‘Star Trek’ growing up, it’s truly a labor of love to help add foreign-language dialogue to these amazing shows!”
As sound editor, Pillai is bringing “Enterprise,” “Star Trek: Voyager,” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” to audiences in Russian, Turkish and many other languages for the first time. All three shows will be premiering sometime in the next year.
“Making sure the dialogue is in sync and that it matches the lip movement is a major task that takes a lot of attention to detail and a good ear to hear the different sounds,” he said. “It has to be seamless and in line with the rest of the dialogue and the other sounds on the set.”
Known for his technical expertise, Pillai has worked on a number of projects since arriving from India two years ago, including most recently the films “Attraction,” “Flawed,” and the documentary “Captain Virat”.
In each film or TV project, Pillai brings his creativity and expertise in developing a virtual palette of sound that will enhance or create a mood that adds to the emotional tone of the scene.
“For one film, it was a person walking at night, but it wasn’t just that. You had to add the sounds of City, sounds of footsteps, the leaves rustling, the crickets chirping and the wind howling to create the mood of loneliness thereby enhancing the emotional feel of the scene,” he said. “As a sound engineer or editor, you have to have a lot of sounds available to you to create these unique moments and moods, so I’m always collecting interesting sounds that will enhance a scene.”
His dedication to sound and sound effects goes back to his youth in India when he took up the keyboard and violin and becoming a sought after live performer. His efforts to record his music and improve upon it, led him to a fascination for recording technology.
After graduating with Bachelor’s Degree in Electronic Engineering an MBA in Marketing from Cochin University in India, he turned his attention to performing and recording his own original music while also working with other artists. But as he developed his own sound, he felt the pull of Hollywood and decided to move there to nurture his talents.
Upon arriving, he enrolled at the Musician’s Institute where he excelled in motion picture scoring and sound mixing. By the time he graduated, thanks to recommendations from his professors, Pillai found himself in demand for his work.
“I am very thankful to be a part of a very creative community that entertains people around the world,” Pillai said. “I was born in a small town in India and no one there would have thought this young kid would be working in Hollywood years later.”
Meanwhile, Pillai’s passion for music continues as he works on his first pop music album which he hopes to release later this year.