Hell and Back Again's Unique Sound Design
Danfung Dennis worked for several years as a war photographer in Iraq and Afghanistan. In time he came to feel that still photos didn’t portray what he was seeing and hearing on the ground. The romantic image of war he had grown up with from video games and movies was not what he was finding while embedded with Marines in the field. “There isn’t an orchestra playing when you’re running through a battlefield,” says Dennis. “There isn’t you know, huge drums. It’s just pure terror.”
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A version of this story aired on Weekend Edition, Sunday October 9th, 2011
TRX: Danfung Dennis grew up with video games and movies that have gave him a romantic image of war. That’s not what he found in Afghanistan.
AX 1 (DENNIS): There isn’t an orchestra playing when you’re running through a battlefield. There isn’t you know, huge drums. It’s just pure terror.
FX A: Ambi from film...Where's it coming from?? Coming from your right!!
TRX: There is no music added to Hell and Back Again, Dennis and sound designer J. Ralph rework audio gathered on the battlefield in Afghanistan to underscore the film. This is used to tell the story of wounded Marine Sgt. Nathan Harris who, back at home in North Carolina, suffers from flashbacks. Dennis says those flashbacks often start with sound.
AX 2 (DENNIS): The sound of gunfire, the sound of crying. It’s often that you’ll hear these sounds and see these images in your mind as if they were a memory, but they become s...
Read the full transcript
Intro and OutroINTRO:
Danfung Dennis worked for several years as a war photographer in Iraq and Afghanistan. While embedded with Marines he realized still photos didn’t portray what he was seeing and hearing on the ground. Outfitting his Canon 5D Mark II with a jerry rigged set of stereo sound equipment, Dennis made the documentary Hell and Back Again-- which took at this year’s Sundance. The innovative way this photojournalist turned filmmaker uses sound, makes Hell and Back Again stand out, as Noah Nelson of Turnstylenews.com reports.OUTRO: