US Soldiers Music Is Soundtrack for Editional Effects
Manhattan-based Editional Effects virtually stepped into the war zone in Iraq with VH1 to promote the music channel’s ambitious show, "VH1 News Presents: Soundtrack To War."
VH1 freelance promo producer Adrian Henke tapped Editional Effects’ Sr. Audio Engineer and Co-owner of the audio division, Roy Harter, to produce three :30 spots for the program. Among his other engineering talents, Harter was chosen for this project due in part to his musical background and accomplished career as one of the industry’s most sought after audio mixers.
“It was great working with Roy and he gave me the diversity of music I wanted to convey from the start,” said Henke. “Some of the field elements didn’t have the best fidelity so Roy was able to clean that up and capture the best aspects of the soldiers talking, singing and listening to a wide array of music.”
The film was shot and directed by Australian filmmaker, George Gittoes, who combined the use of music by American soldiers with the disturbing pictures of war. The filmmaker not only captured the brutality but the polar opposite world of soldiers relaxed—rapping, listening to heavy metal while gearing up for combat and standing by as a group of soldiers sing gospel music on a rooftop overlooking Baghdad.
By using testimonials from soldiers of the Army's 1st Armored Division the one-hour documentary examined the soldiers 'use of music’ for inspiration, motivation and mourning.
“The music is a catalyst for unification and camaraderie for these young soldiers coping with death and destruction,” said Harter. “It’s a powerful promo. It’s a whole series of shots taken around Baghdad followed by a video montage set to music. It ends with a shot of soldiers rapping and then a bomb exploding, rattling the camera.”
Henke said he worked hard to make the promo as apolitical as possible. He concentrated on making the spots work musically. He said the other challenge was communicating life in Iraq while keeping the focus on the thesis of the show: ‘music is vital in war.'