Originally Posted by MusicFirst
I stand corrected (sorry about that!), I did a quick search on FilmMixer, and it is pretty clear the ULF mixes are intentional. What the hell was I thinking or "remembering"? I guess I need a little more coffee!
Anyway, this has probably been answered before here and on other sites, but why would these ULF mixes be intentional if the theaters cannot produce them?? Obviously there is a good amount of money made by selling the DVD's/BR, but isn't most of the money made from the theaters? I'm guessing the percentage of home users that can actually reproduce this ULF must be fairly small. I am not complaining by any means, just a little curious....
I'm glad you realized your error. The people who mix audio for the movie industry are pro's pros. The top sound engineers are the best in the world at what they do. There's no reason to think that anything in any mix they work on is not 100% absolutely and always intentional, especially when they say it is intentional. They get paid to be perfect, or as near as possible.
Now, it should be said again that what they do is art, not just production. They mix audio with the expressed purpose of creating immersion - the number one objective in film-making. Sound may be the single most important factor in the immersive experience of a movie, and it is a critical component of storytelling, as most producers will tell you. Realism adds to immersion, and realism requires that sounds be believable, especially (but not only) in far-fetched fantasy, sci-fi, and action movie genres full of unbelievable events. An enormous part of what makes the best of these movies believable is that the sound matches our expectations of events unfolding in the storytelling of the movie.
As examples, when you hear a big military helicopter going overhead, is it just a minor whirring of blades that you hear, or is it a definitive thump-thump-thump that you both hear and feel down into the soles of your feet? When you're in a car wreck, is it merely a metallic crunch, or is it a bone-jarring impact that rattles your whole body? When you see an A-10 Warthog (military "tankbuster" jet) strafing a hill with its 30mm, 15oz projectile rounds in a training exercise at a base, shooting 3900 rounds per minute (yeah, that's 65 bullets per second!), you think it sounds like a tinny AK-47 shooting a few bursts, or is it so loud and low that it flexes windows and doors 10 miles away?
Considering these examples, how would you expect it to sound and feel if a giant dragon (the size of a mountain) came crashing to the ground defeated; an alien machine rose from below ground to ravage a city; a ride on a military helicopter in a daring rescue mission faced heavy resistance in some underdeveloped nation; in a plane crash; near a meteor impact; witnessing a nuclear explosion? These are some of the things sound engineers want to recreate, and the best professionals create the most immersive mixes, ones that incorporate all of the ULF stuff you'd expect to hear/feel in such situations, artfully blended with the rest of the soundtrack to convince our ears that what we're seeing is the real deal. When movies get it right, it's a thing of rare beauty, and there is no doubt that that is the intent.