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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old July 21st, 2008, 11:06 PM   #16
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Michael, do you use stereo, 5.1 or DTS ?
DTS and 5.1 are encoded for center channel vocals(mainly), whereas 5.1 thru stereo you would lose most of the center channel ( vocals ) unless resetting the audio options of the DVD.
Just can't help thinking that this an audio setup problem and not that Hollywood is going backwards.
Any other specific movies that show this problem?
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Old July 22nd, 2008, 01:38 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Roger Shore View Post
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In my experience the kind of program favoured by the older viewers, whose hearing is perhaps less than pristine...

gee, wonder if their hearing is subpar because they have movie watching induced tinnitus? even in the theatre, do they really need to blow you out of your seat with the music and effects? I mean an explosion is one thing, but when the music drowns out the dialogue, what's the point?
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Old July 25th, 2008, 11:03 PM   #18
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From what I recall, this is PRECISELY why George Lucas forced the theatre industry to adopt THX sound systems if they wanted to exhibit his content.

He was tired of trying to sound design his movies while never knowing what kind of amplification/speaker array/room environment the films would be played in.

So he said "here are my specs (THX) and if you want to show my movies, the theater has to adhere to them."

Now you take those tracks and burn them to a DVD (easy) - but you expect them to sound great no matter where or on what they're being played?

Sure it would be nice if the DVD displayed a splash screen with a hundred check boxes ranging from PLAYBACK ON: Professional $5000.00 Home Theater w/ dedicated 1000 watt subwoofeers - or Costco $299 "home theater" with plastic subwoofer - or "Korean dvd/tv combo set in the wall of my RV - but that just isn't going to happen.

Audio is complex.

In movies, it's mixed for movie theaters.

So you have two choices. Outfit your home like an actual movie theatre. Or set up an audio playback system where you watch movies where you can AT LEAST control the sound enough to fix issues like poor dialog reproduction if that's what your system creates.

And yep, that might mean just realizing that most of the dialog is coming from the center channel and you selected the the 5.1 surround sound choice not realizing that the center channel pair of wires are the ones you never got around to hooking up!

Or it might be that the dialog, being typically center panned MONO - might be getting hosed because you're playing it back on a pair of stereo speakers that are (user error!) hooked up out of phase. (Hint, the wires have a stripe on one conductor for a REASON!) That would be a really common way to get crappy dialog reproduction in a real world living room environment.

This is precisely why I've never delivered a professional video job with anything other than MONO audio unless it was a critical client requirement in a specific circumstance.

(And even then I typically argue against it!)

The more audio tracks you're working with, the more chances you have for things to get really screwed up.

End of story.
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Old July 26th, 2008, 02:43 AM   #19
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Bill, does it ever get to be a burden knowing so much about so many things? (heh heh)

That was a very interesting read. I learned a lot, but not enough to help me...would you come to my house and fix the audio mess with the big TV in my living room?

...Just giving you trouble, big guy. I really did enjoy your post. :)
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Old July 26th, 2008, 04:27 AM   #20
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Side track but relevant true story -

I was working full time in radio, overnight shift - back in the eighties.

Got a call from someone at two in the morning, complaining that I was playing the music 'wrong'.

"Wrong? What do you mean?"

"Well, I HAVE that record, and the violins are supposed to be in the LEFT channel..."

"OH- well, what part of town do you live in?"

"I live on the north side... why?"

"Well, if you lived on the south side, they'd be in the other channel."

"OH! Okay - I didn't know that, THANKS"


(I'm cruel in the middle of the night...)
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Old July 26th, 2008, 09:22 AM   #21
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When I was going around film festivals with one of my shorts (on a 35mm print with Dolby SR), I noticed that at quite a few venues the shorts with Dolby surround sound had a weaker centre channel. This compared to the same films were screened in a cinema correctly set up for surround sound, when the centre was OK.

The Dolby SR played fine regardless.
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Old July 28th, 2008, 06:25 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Lorinda Norton View Post
Bill, does it ever get to be a burden knowing so much about so many things? (heh heh)

That was a very interesting read. I learned a lot, but not enough to help me...would you come to my house and fix the audio mess with the big TV in my living room?

...Just giving you trouble, big guy. I really did enjoy your post. :)

Lorinda,

Don't sweat it. I know about you Idaho types. All that rugged individualism and insanely beautiful scenery makes you all a little nuts when it comes to public discourse.

(Come to think of it, I guess the same stuff makes us Arizonan's equally wacky. Go figure!)

BTW, given another half hour more writing time, I could have made that an even MORE overwritten and complicated explanation. So be grateful I needed to get some sleep that night!

Take care.
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Old August 9th, 2008, 02:01 AM   #23
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How many people who feel this way are over forty?

Seriously.
Actually, people over 40 generally have better hearing than those who are younger. The older folks haven't deadened their ears by going to as many rock concerts or using headphones at high volumes for all their lives. And this is seriously true. The worse the ears of young people are damaged, the louder they play the music and the cycle escalates. An investment in hearing-aid manufacturing would be a good bet for the future. Warnings about this are taken about as seriously as those about the dangers of illegal drugs.
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