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New Zealand spectators generate sound effects for Lord of the Rings battle scene

New Zealand spectators generate sound effects for Lord of the Rings battle scene

On February 16, 2002, New Zealand and England played a largely insipid One-Day International at Wellington. However, the noises made by the spectators that day were packaged into some of the epic moments seen on celluloid. Arunabha Sengupta recalls how Peter Jackson, director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, got the spectators to make the noises later used in battle scenes.

At the Battle of Helm’s Deep, the great black orcs of Uruk-Hai clashed against the Rohirrim.

Bred from the heart and slime of the earth, Saruman’s tall, long-haired soldiers roared and growled as they breached the fortress before being defeated once Gandalf and Éomer joined the forces of Aragorn.

The millions of viewers riveted to the action scenes of Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers actually heard noises generated by the spectators of an England-New Zealand One-Day International played at Westpac Trust Stadium, Wellington.

The actual match had none of the drama of the Hornburg Battle. It was an insignificant, insipid encounter, remarkable only due to the spectacular collapse of the English side.

Replying to a modest 244, the visitors stumbled to 89 all out against some wobbly medium-pace of Andre Adams and part-timer Nathan Astle. There was none of the epic tussle and swing of fortunes associated with the battle on the screen. Nasser Hussain, the captain of England, was disappointed enough to attribute the poor showing to a lack of intensity.

However, the crowd had no such problems. During the innings break, Peter Jackson, director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, made his way into the ground. Standing on the pitch microphone in hand, he led them to howl, growl and roar from the stands.

A New Zealander himself, who grew up in Pukerua Bay, not far from Wellington, Jackson got his countrymen to shout exactly the way he wanted. These sounds were later edited, mixed and packaged into the background for the Uruks in the battle scenes.

(Arunabha Sengupta is a cricket historian and Chief Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He writes about the history and the romance of the game, punctuated often by opinions about modern day cricket, while his post-graduate degree in statistics peeps through in occasional analytical pieces. The author of three novels, he can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/senantix)

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