Interview: Sound Designer Markus Stemler and Composer Volker Bertelmann on the Collaboration of Sound and Music in the Visceral Soundscape of ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’

An immediately impressive element of Edward Berger’s All Quiet on the Western Front is the visceral soundscape that creates an immersive environment for the audience in becoming part of the World War I setting. This quality is brought to life by the joint efforts of the sound and music teams that each in their own ways contribute to the unflinching brutality of ‘the war machine’ that is often signaled by an expressive original score.

Markus Stemler (Sound Designer) and Volker Bertelmann (Composer) break down the integration of the sound recorded on set and the score developed in post-production and how the sound and score were devised from a technical standpoint as well as from the vision of the emotions that they wanted to translate through the sound and music. The pair discuss what inspired the immersive soundscape experience of the film and the collaboration of their departments to achieve the realism and brutality of war.

Because Stemler could not be on set due to COVID restrictions, he describes some of the innovative audio capture techniques performed in production to capture the immersive soundscape of the actors:

“I actually like the idea that they had microphones connected to their helmet so it doesn’t matter where they turn, they are mic’d up. The goal was to not just capture the lines of dialogue but also capture the breathing because it would become such an important element in the sound design to keep us connected to Paul.”


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Written by Danny Jarabek

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