Wall E Special Features - What is that pen pad controller Ben Burtt Uses?



Hello again everyone.

So, I was recently re viewing Ben Burtt's Sound Design Special Features on the Wall E DVD and noticed he used a digital pen pad to manipulate some digital audio.

I am highly interested in anything related to Ben Burtt and how he operates, and this controller seems highly intriguing.

I wondered if it is some sort of ribbon controller?

Like a touch sensitive pad with the pen just being assigned to control whatever parameters you set it too, or is it more than this?

can anyone shed some light on the subject?

Thanks to all.

  • Simon.

Digital Endurance

Posted 2012-05-09T18:55:13.330

Reputation: 99



It is a Wacom Tablet that is connected to a Kyma System, a freely programmable, modular sound design environment. So he uses it as an XY pad, but because the tablet also registers pressure and the angle (tilt) of the pen, it can control more than two parameters at once.

alt text

See it in action from 6:25:


Posted 2012-05-09T18:55:13.330

Reputation: 2 853

Just out of curiosity did Kyma get popular after everyone found Ben Burtt was using or was it well known before? – Stephen Saldanha – 2012-05-10T00:18:55.010

Think it was always known with electronic musicians but it seems like Ben Burtt's popularize it for sound designers. – None – 2012-05-10T02:14:25.750

Thankyou for responding to my question, great answer. I will look into Wacom Tablets and Kyma System now... :) – Digital Endurance – 2012-05-11T13:12:43.297


im no expert, but I believe any sketching pad, like wacom tablets, can be assigned to control midi parameters, on an X/Y basis. So it could have surround/plug in controlling uses?

Fred Riding

Posted 2012-05-09T18:55:13.330

Reputation: 595


Is Kyma always used with the hardware? Or can it be downloaded as a software interface? Or is it more like a programming languish that is used in any programming tool?


Posted 2012-05-09T18:55:13.330

Reputation: 1