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Tier thread for audio - Page 9  

post #241 of 2680
Quote:


I'm thinking about it, how do we get sounds behind us without rear surrounds?

Imaging [phantom speakers]

Are you familiar with the ITU recommended speaker set up? With the way I had my speakers set up, I get great rear coverage, and even overhead too. I use monopoles all around.
post #242 of 2680
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkcheng122 View Post

not sure if i want to take into consideration soemone who can't get his screen to match aspect ratio of the disc. are you sure you are listening to the uncompressed track via hdmi?


It was my opinion that Yuma was very good, not Tier 0. I did not attack anyone.

Yes, PS3 to Yamaha 661 via HDMI and then to a Mits 1080P front projector. The blu-ray movie appears to be available in two widescreen modes. I can't find a way to get it to dispaly it 16:9. I will post this question in another thread.

gasdoc
post #243 of 2680
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by imuesmail View Post

It was my opinion that Yuma was very good, not Tier 0. I did not attack anyone.

Yes, PS3 to Yamaha 661 via HDMI and then to a Mits 1080P front projector. The blu-ray movie appears to be available in two widescreen modes. I can't find a way to get it to dispaly it 16:9. I will post this question in another thread.

gasdoc

sorry if i sounded offensive, i meant it in a sarcastic way. of course if someone else also think yuma should be tier 1 i will put it there. but so far i've heard tier 0 for it more so than 1.
post #244 of 2680
Quote:
Originally Posted by pepar View Post

So, you use the original mix as your guide and only re-balance and re-EQ specifically for home theater playback and add no new elements. When a 6th or 7th channel is added, doesn't that more solidly place sounds in the rear? Now that I'm thinking about it, how do we get sounds behind us without rear surrounds?

When we do the final mix on a film, we create what are called mix stems... they are groups of recordings (a dialog stem, a music stem, effects stem, etc..) that when all played together make up the final soundtrack.

When the mix is signed off on, we mix all of these together and make a printmaster, which is the 5.1 or 6.1 master for a film.

We use the stems as source for the home theater mixes, and can only make level, compression or eq changes on the grouped elements. We don't add elements.

Obviously, if there is added material or it is an unrated version, there will be additional material that needs to be added into the existing film to make it complete.

One of the things that I have seen done for 6.1 and 7.1 mixes is to take background elements, copy some of it, offset it in time, and add that as a discrete rear surround element. Also, since the elements are still separate, you can treat the music, dialog and effects as you want, and re-pan and process the stereo surrounds to create 4 discrete surround channels.

Quote:


One final question to pick up on one thing that you said; is there any standardization for home theater mixes, or does everyone in your position do their own thing?

There are generally accepted standards in place, but no standardization like theatrical playback has.

Sony has created a very thorough document which covers everything from speaker setup, eq, bass management, levels, etc.. Most people try and use a similar setup when doing these mixes.
post #245 of 2680
Quote:
Originally Posted by my65ffrcobra View Post

wanted to add my two cents
resident evil extinction was tier 0 to me sounded awesome I belive it was truehd

Underworld evolution was pretty pathetic I think it was only dolby digital 600 kbps or so tier 3-4 ish for something that could of really rocked.


Underworld Evolution's default track is DD but the second track is LPCM. However IMHO, it sucks. It is harsh sounding like it is over driven in any scene where they are yelling. I would put it in tier 3 at least.
post #246 of 2680
Quote:
Originally Posted by FilmMixer View Post

When we do the final mix on a film, we create what are called mix stems... they are groups of recordings (a dialog stem, a music stem, effects stem, etc..) that when all played together make up the final soundtrack.

When the mix is signed off on, we mix all of these together and make a printmaster, which is the 5.1 or 6.1 master for a film.

We use the stems as source for the home theater mixes, and can only make level, compression or eq changes on the grouped elements. We don't add elements.

Obviously, if there is added material or it is an unrated version, there will be additional material that needs to be added into the existing film to make it complete.

One of the things that I have seen done for 6.1 and 7.1 mixes is to take background elements, copy some of it, offset it in time, and add that as a discrete rear surround element. Also, since the elements are still separate, you can treat the music, dialog and effects as you want, and re-pan and process the stereo surrounds to create 4 discrete surround channels.

Thanks. I became fixated on the additional one or two channels thinking somehow they would add something to the movies. It's not likely even that a door slam would appear behind me in my theater that wasn't there in the cinema. Your description indicates that *maybe* a return is placed there for additional ambiance, but that's it.
post #247 of 2680
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkcheng122 View Post

sorry if i sounded offensive, i meant it in a sarcastic way. of course if someone else also think yuma should be tier 1 i will put it there. but so far i've heard tier 0 for it more so than 1.

Yeah but don't you use overall score average? IF you receive more then one lower tier request, that should reflect on the "overall average" therefore it's current Tier placing.
post #248 of 2680
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehun View Post

Yeah but don't you use overall score average? IF you receive more then one lower tier request, that should reflect on the "overall average" therefore it's current Tier placing.

i've so far heard/seen more ppl say it's tier 0 than tier 1, so for now will keep it at 0.
post #249 of 2680
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkcheng122 View Post

sorry if i sounded offensive, i meant it in a sarcastic way. of course if someone else also think yuma should be tier 1 i will put it there. but so far i've heard tier 0 for it more so than 1.

Either way, Yuma was one of the best movies I have seen recently, so mush so that it is in my blu-ray collection. I think that the box is misleading as there is no way to get it in 16:9 AR. I love the 7.1 PCM out of my PS3.

gasdoc
post #250 of 2680
how do I get the lpcm track on underworld evolution? do I have to select it in the menu, that seems silly why does it not automatically default to best available?
post #251 of 2680
Yuma has nom's for OSCARS for sound editing and mixing so That alone should be in the Tier 0 list
post #252 of 2680
Quote:
Originally Posted by kutte View Post

Yuma has nom's for OSCARS for sound editing and mixing so That alone should be in the Tier 0 list

So all the ones they don't nominate should be less then Tier 0?
post #253 of 2680
Quote:
Originally Posted by my65ffrcobra View Post

how do I get the lpcm track on underworld evolution? do I have to select it in the menu, that seems silly why does it not automatically default to best available?

Well if you had collected DVD's long enough you may recall that Sony did the same thing with DD on their releases. The DD 2.0 was the default and the 5.1 was the one you had to select manually. Later Sony "invented" a feature on their players, that automatically selected the track with highest number of channels on any disc[Fox was defaulting to 2.0 ch too for awhile] and advertised it as only their players can do that. I'm sure they will release a BD player that will select a track based on it's bit rate. Gotta love those guys.
post #254 of 2680
Quote:
Originally Posted by my65ffrcobra View Post

how do I get the lpcm track on underworld evolution? do I have to select it in the menu, that seems silly why does it not automatically default to best available?

On the PS3, while the movie is playing, press the audio button or go into audio options and change it. It is #2. The commentary track and french languages are also there.

It is silly.
post #255 of 2680
Quote:
Originally Posted by kutte View Post

Yuma has nom's for OSCARS for sound editing and mixing so That alone should be in the Tier 0 list

You can have a great sounding mix for a theatrical presentation that can be botched in it's home release.
post #256 of 2680
Why is this BD so high in the tier list?
I just watched this and lead vocals can harly be heard.
Lead guitar over powers the lead vocals.
Angus is good, but I would like to hear the lead vocals too.

I would lower it in the tier list.

My Equipment

Panasonic BD10A BluRay Player 7.1 Analog Out
Lexicon DC-1 7.1 Audio Processor (with 8 channel analog bypass mod)
Aragon 8008x3 Power Amp (3x200w/channel fronts/center)
Aragon 4004 MkII Power Amp (2x200w/channel rears)
NAD 218THX Power Amp (2x225w/channel sides)
Polk Audio SRS SDA 2.3TL Speakers (Mains)
Polk Audio SRS SDA 1C Speakers (Rears)
Handmade Center Channel Speaker (Using Polk Drivers/Tweeters)
M&K S-150 THX Ultra Speakers (Sides)
Velodyne HGS-18" THX Ultra2 Subwoofer
M&K MX-350 THX Ultra Subwoofer
post #257 of 2680
No offense, but these ratings are a little strange. 3:10 to Yuma is the best soundtrack? Cars is number 6? Dave Matthews is behind Cars? Hellboy is Tier 1? What are people listening to? I would really like to know what systems people are using, because its quite obvious that there are significant inconsistincies here.

while Yuma certainly is a nice sounding soundtrack, the only demo-quality scene in the entire movie is the train scene at the end. I hardly think that makes it the best. Cars is an overly edgy soundtrack lacking bass detail and does not belong in Tier 1. Dave Matthews, in my opinion, is one of the best multi-channel music recordings ever made. That said, it is a live recording and really only presents the music in the front soundstage. For those who love the sound of acoustic guitar in the atmopsphere of an acoustically correct venue, it doesn't get any better than this. Finally, the last half hour of Hellboy is reference in every conceivable way and is quite possibly the most immersive sound design I have ever heard.

My System:
Revel Performa F52 Fronts
Revel Performa C52 Center
Revel M22 Surrounds and Back (I have a 7.1 System)
AV123 MFW-15 Subwoofer

Integra DTC-9.8 Pre/Pro
Parasound Halo A21 (Fronts)
Parasound Halo A51 (All other channels)
Sony PS3
post #258 of 2680
Quote:
Originally Posted by nohjy View Post

No offense, but these ratings are a little strange. 3:10 to Yuma is the best soundtrack? Cars is number 6? Dave Matthews is behind Cars? Hellboy is Tier 1? What are people listening to?

As someone who's work gets tier scores, of course I find it strange.

It's totally subjective.

Where is the criteria for what makes a title a tier whatever.. the picture thread has criteria laid out that one can reasonably compare a given title to... and like anything in life, it still leaves a lot of room for personal opinion and preference.

For me, the only thing that matters is if the soundtrack helps to tell the story, and Yuma does that in spades. To me, it's much more difficult for a track to do it's magic with subtlety than bombast, and even harder on a home theater to re-create those track as intended.

Giving out arbitrary scores only provides an opinion of what people think makes their system sound best... or what makes their surrounds come to life, or the sub boom, or whatever is important to them.

Reviewing and rating soundtracts is flawed if you don't have any idea what the intention of the director was and if you helped bring that intention to fruition, and can compare that to other films.. and even at that, it is a subjective opinion.

I mixed "In The Valley Of Elah." In the HiDefDigest review, they said the sound would be better if we had included some extra sounds in certain scenes...

While that's a fine opinion, there are reasons that serve the story why those sounds aren't there.. like creating an off putting, not quite right sense of isolation for the main characters... both self removed from society and trying to piece together a horrific crime. We left out the highway sounds ann tumbleweeds to further remove them from their world at large.. we tried putting more in, but it completely pulled your ear away from the silence and the tension the characters... it's what the director wanted, and intended, from the script onward.


Quote:
Originally Posted by chirpie View Post

You can have a great sounding mix for a theatrical presentation that can be botched in it's home release.

Can you name one? Just curious.

Since the elements we make for the theatrical mix are tied together, it would take a great effort to "botch" it up and then have it approved by all concerned parties and released for public consumption.

I can only name a handful of times where extraordinary effort went into remixing for home video from units and predubs, and while the tracks was praised in the public, the original sound crews wasn't happy at all by the results..

Just .02 from someone who's work is routinely critiqued on these forums, and tiered by a new breed of "online" home theater journalists and reviewers, most of whom are vetted by neither education or experience, but by their access to a computer and keyboard.
post #259 of 2680
Quote:
Originally Posted by FilmMixer View Post

As someone who's work gets tier scores, of course I find it strange.

It's totally subjective.

Where is the criteria for what makes a title a tier whatever.. the picture thread has criteria laid out that one can reasonably compare a given title to... and like anything in life, it still leaves a lot of room for personal opinion and preference.

For me, the only thing that matters is if the soundtrack helps to tell the story, and Yuma does that in spades. To me, it's much more difficult for a track to do it's magic with subtlety than bombast, and even harder on a home theater to re-create those track as intended.

Giving out arbitrary scores only provides an opinion of what people think makes their system sound best... or what makes their surrounds come to life, or the sub boom, or whatever is important to them.

Reviewing and rating soundtracts is flawed if you don't have any idea what the intention of the director was and if you helped bring that intention to fruition, and can compare that to other films.. and even at that, it is a subjective opinion.

I mixed "In The Valley Of Elah." In the HiDefDigest review, they said the sound would be better if we had included some extra sounds in certain scenes...

While that's a fine opinion, there are reasons that serve the story why those sounds aren't there.. like creating an off putting, not quite right sense of isolation for the main characters... both self removed from society and trying to piece together a horrific crime. We left out the highway sounds ann tumbleweeds to further remove them from their world at large.. we tried putting more in, but it completely pulled your ear away from the silence and the tension the characters... it's what the director wanted, and intended, from the script onward.




Can you name one? Just curious.

Since the elements we make for the theatrical mix are tied together, it would take a great effort to "botch" it up and then have it approved by all concerned parties and released for public consumption.

I can only name a handful of times where extraordinary effort went into remixing for home video from units and predubs, and while the tracks was praised in the public, the original sound crews wasn't happy at all by the results..

Just .02 from someone who's work is routinely critiqued on these forums, and tiered by a new breed of "online" home theater journalists and reviewers, most of whom are vetted by neither education or experience, but by their access to a computer and keyboard.


FilmMixer:

I agree with you whole-heartedly concerning taking into account the director's intent. Unfortunately, most of us have no idea what his/her intent was. I really try to pay attention to the detail of the presentation and not the context. As you have suggested, that is an area in which we have little-to-no insight. Futhermore, please do not take my comments to mean that only a truly active sound design can be excellent. I do not feel that way and in no way was I trying to relay that. In fact, the use of subtle ambiance is exactly why I really like the sound design for Ratatouille.

Anyay, I really appreciate your thoughts and the unique perspective you bring. Thanks for hanging out with us and offering us a glimpse of how it really is.

I can't wait to see Valley of Elah - it is on my list of movies to see. The fact that I can communicate with the person who mixed the soundtrack and ask questions about the presentation is what makes this forum so great!

Regards,

John
post #260 of 2680
BTW, I am usually wrong on predicting the Oscars (one thing about the sound Oscars, both editing and mixing, is that the films are nominated by the sound branch, but the entire Academy populace votes for winners, of which there are more actors than any other group, and it is why films that are up for best picture usually have a better chance of winning the Oscar for best sound... editing is a different matter)..

My predictions is that "No Country" will win for mixing, and "Transformers" will win for sound effects editing...

My personal favorite last year was "No Country" for both.. while I loved some of the stuff in "Transformers," I was enchanted by all of the work in "No Country."
post #261 of 2680
Quote:
Originally Posted by nohjy View Post

FilmMixer:

I agree with you whole-heartedly concerning taking into account the director's intent. Unfortunately, most of us have no idea what his/her intent was. I really try to pay attention to the detail of the presentation and not the context. As you have suggested, that is an area in which we have little-to-no insight.

Anyay, I really appreciate your thoughts and the unique perspective you bring. Thanks for hanging out with us and offering us a glimpse of how it really is.

Regards,

John

Thanks for the comments.... I hope nobody thinks that I think this thread serves no purpose... and just like ratings, many of my posts are my opinion, and everybody know what you say about those

I just get a little annoyed at the "pros" out there, and needed to vent for a second..
post #262 of 2680
Quote:
Originally Posted by FilmMixer View Post

I mixed "In The Valley Of Elah." In the HiDefDigest review, they said the sound would be better if we had included some extra sounds in certain scenes...

While that's a fine opinion, there are reasons that serve the story why those sounds aren't there.. like creating an off putting, not quite right sense of isolation for the main characters... both self removed from society and trying to piece together a horrific crime. We left out the highway sounds ann tumbleweeds to further remove them from their world at large.. we tried putting more in, but it completely pulled your ear away from the silence and the tension the characters... it's what the director wanted, and intended, from the script onward.

As not a pro, but a film watcher/listener, I think directors are entirely too paranoid about taking the viewer out of a scene with ambient sound (I'm not talking loud discrete sound, but normal ambient sound). Their fears are not justified by my listening experience.

In the real world, ambient sound is ALWAYS there unless you are in the vacuum of space perhaps. Removing it can almost seem to take away realism and take the viewer out of the moment.

I hear directors make excuses all the times in comedies in particular -- "everything up front so we get no distractions from the joke."

In a comedy club, or anywhere you hear a joke in real life, there are "distractions" all around. It does not seem to stop people from hearing the joke and laughing.

Ambient sound is not in and of itself "distracting" from the main point on the screen. I just think lots of surround sound opportunities are lost in both drama and comedies where directors have that mind-set.

I think directors sometimes think surround sound only means discrete action or horror sounds. When in reality, EVERY film benefits from normal ambient surround noise (crickets chirping, weather, cars, etc.).

I don't buy the directors fear of distraction. I would like to see test audiences with the full surround ambience in the mix and then none (or very little)-- to see if the audience reacts worse for the one with surround ambience.

I doubt they react worse for the one that does have the ambient surround sounds. Without that data -- their fears are entirely unfounded and unjustified. When you guys listen in the editing room, perhaps you are focusing more on the surround ambience cause you created it and know its there ahead of time, which maybe makes it more off-putting than a "virgin" listener would find it.

Maybe I'm wrong -- have you tested that with audiences (with and without)?

As a listener/customer of these films, I say lets use those surround channels as much as possible and envelop the viewer in the world on the screen. Directors need to get out of the pre surround sound mentality. Put us in the middle of a world with all of that world's sounds. That is true envelopment and truly brings the viewer/listener into the film (be it action; drama or comedy). Just like we can follow someone talking in front of us in real life, even though our ears are hearing sounds all around.

It is almost annoying now when a film fails to fill out the surround channels with ambience. I saw Michael Clayton last night. Great film, but I think it would have been better with more ambient surround sound usage. Its more distracting now when there is little or nothing in the surrounds - - as it sounds less realistic.
post #263 of 2680
Quote:
Originally Posted by caesar1 View Post

As not a pro, but a film watcher/listener, I think directors are entirely too paranoid about taking the viewer out of a scene with ambient sound (I'm not talking loud discrete sound, but normal ambient sound). Their fears are not justified by my listening experience.

In the real world, ambient sound is ALWAYS there unless you are in the vacuum of space perhaps. Removing it can almost seem to take away realism and take the viewer out of the moment.

I hear directors make excuses all the times in comedies in particular -- "everything up front so we get no distractions from the joke."

In a comedy club, or anywhere you hear a joke in real life, there are "distractions" all around. It does not seem to stop people from hearing the joke and laughing.

Ambient sound is not in and of itself "distracting" from the main point on the screen. I just think lots of surround sound opportunities are lost in both drama and comedies where directors have that mind-set.

I think directors sometimes think surround sound only means discrete action or horror sounds. When in reality, EVERY film benefits from normal ambient surround noise (crickets chirping, weather, cars, etc.).

I don't buy the directors fear of distraction. I would like to see test audiences with the full surround ambience in the mix and then none (or very little)-- to see if the audience reacts worse for the one with surround ambience.

I doubt they react worse for the one that does have the ambient surround sounds. Without that data -- their fears are entirely unfounded and unjustified. When you guys listen in the editing room, perhaps you are focusing more on the surround ambience cause you created it and know its there ahead of time, which maybe makes it more off-putting than a "virgin" listener would find it.

Maybe I'm wrong -- have you tested that with audiences (with and without)?

As a listener/customer of these films, I say lets use those surround channels as much as possible and envelop the viewer in the world on the screen. Directors need to get out of the pre surround sound mentality. Put us in the middle of a world with all of that world's sounds. That is true envelopment and truly brings the viewer/listener into the film (be it action; drama or comedy). Just like we can follow someone talking in front of us in real life, even though our ears are hearing sounds all around.

It is almost annoying now when a film fails to fill out the surround channels with ambience. I saw Michael Clayton last night. Great film, but I think it would have been better with more ambient surround sound usage. Its more distracting now when there is little or nothing in the surrounds - - as it sounds less realistic.

It is not just people making movies who are concerned about NOT taking the audience away from the on-screen story. The whole "diffuse surround sound" thing put forth by Lucas and THX is all about not pulling the attention from the screen. I think it is an artistic decision that is on solid and well thought out ground. But that's just my opinion.
post #264 of 2680
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nohjy View Post

No offense, but these ratings are a little strange. 3:10 to Yuma is the best soundtrack? Cars is number 6? Dave Matthews is behind Cars? Hellboy is Tier 1? What are people listening to? I would really like to know what systems people are using, because its quite obvious that there are significant inconsistincies here.

while Yuma certainly is a nice sounding soundtrack, the only demo-quality scene in the entire movie is the train scene at the end. I hardly think that makes it the best. Cars is an overly edgy soundtrack lacking bass detail and does not belong in Tier 1. Dave Matthews, in my opinion, is one of the best multi-channel music recordings ever made. That said, it is a live recording and really only presents the music in the front soundstage. For those who love the sound of acoustic guitar in the atmopsphere of an acoustically correct venue, it doesn't get any better than this. Finally, the last half hour of Hellboy is reference in every conceivable way and is quite possibly the most immersive sound design I have ever heard.

My System:
Revel Performa F52 Fronts
Revel Performa C52 Center
Revel M22 Surrounds and Back (I have a 7.1 System)
AV123 MFW-15 Subwoofer

Integra DTC-9.8 Pre/Pro
Parasound Halo A21 (Fronts)
Parasound Halo A51 (All other channels)
Sony PS3

take it easy man, and have a closer look at the list. it's in alphabetical order.
post #265 of 2680
Quote:
Originally Posted by pepar View Post

It is not just people making movies who are concerned about NOT taking the audience away from the on-screen story. The whole "diffuse surround sound" thing put forth by Lucas and THX is all about not pulling the attention from the screen. I think it is an artistic decision that is on solid and well thought out ground. But that's just my opinion.

But I'm talking about diffuse ambient sounds -- not rocket ships flying by.

Dramas and comedies sometimes have little or no diffuse ambient surround sound -- bascially 90% if not 100% in the fronts.

There is NO comedy or drama that would have been ruined by more ambient/diffuse surround sound. The whole goal of the film is to put us in that world. You can't be in that world with one dimensional (all up front sound).

Nothing puts us more in the world on the screen then making it seem like we are there -- i.e, hearing sounds all around us as we do in real life.

The "artistic" decisions (if that is what they are) are made on false or untested assumptions in my opinion.

Have audiences ever tested these assumptions? Has a director with that "fear" ever put it to the test in a real theater with a real audience?

Are we pulled away from people talking to us, just because the world actually exists around us?

Bah, this is paranoia on the directors' part. I doubt their fears have actually been tested.

The fear of surround sound usage being "distracting" or taking away from the screen is just that -- "fear". Or perhaps too much pride. They want 100% of the focus on their filmed work (lighting/camera angle, etc.) -- not some sounds added by sound mixers.

In reality, as part of the audience, I want it all -- great picture AND great sound. Not just a great picture up front. Give it ALL to us -- don't hold back on the side or rear channels.

This fear of using surround channels is left over from when they didn't have them.
post #266 of 2680
Quote:
Originally Posted by caesar1 View Post

But I'm talking about diffuse ambient sounds -- not rocket ships flying by.

Dramas and comedies sometimes have little or no diffuse ambient surround sound -- bascially 90% if not 100% in the fronts.

There is NO comedy or drama that would have been ruined by more ambient/diffuse surround sound. The whole goal of the film is to put us in that world. You can't be in that world with one dimensional (all up front sound).

Nothing puts us more in the world on the screen then making it seem like we are there -- i.e, hearing sounds all around us as we do in real life.

The "artistic" decisions (if that is what they are) are made on false or untested assumptions in my opinion.

Have audiences ever tested these assumptions? Has a director with that "fear" ever put it to the test in a real theater with a real audience?

Are we pulled away from people talking to us, just because the world actually exists around us?

Bah, this is paranoia on the directors' part. I doubt their fears have actually been tested.

The fear of surround sound usage being "distracting" or taking away from the screen is just that -- "fear". Or perhaps too much pride. They want 100% of the focus on their filmed work (lighting/camera angle, etc.) -- not some sounds added by sound mixers.

In reality, as part of the audience, I want it all -- great picture AND great sound. Not just a great picture up front. Give it ALL to us -- don't hold back on the side or rear channels.

This fear of using surround channels is left over from when they didn't have them.

Well, how rich and detailed a background ambient environment do you think you'd notice/be aware of without taking any brain power away from "processing" what's happening on screen?
post #267 of 2680
Quote:
Originally Posted by pepar View Post

Well, how rich and detailed a background ambient environment do you think you'd notice/be aware of without taking any brain power away from "processing" what's happening on screen?

Our brains have the power to lessen or almost tune out non-essential information.

Which is why we can be in a comedy club with people talking, sneezing, waitresses, glasses clinking -- yet still follow the comedian and the joke.

So there can be a pretty detailed and rich ambient environment in any film -- they dont' need to dumb it down. As long as its natural sounding it should be fine.
post #268 of 2680
Quote:
Originally Posted by caesar1 View Post

Our brains have the power to lessen or almost tune out non-essential information.

Which is why we can be in a comedy club with people talking, sneezing, waitresses, glasses clinking -- yet still follow the comedian and the joke.

So there can be a pretty detailed and rich ambient environment in any film -- they dont' need to dumb it down. As long as its natural sounding it should be fine.

I follow you, and I'm sure you don't really mean it that way, but aren't you sort of saying that "more" would be non-essential and we'd tune it out anyway?
post #269 of 2680
Quote:
Originally Posted by caesar1 View Post

Our brains have the power to lessen or almost tune out non-essential information.

Which is why we can be in a comedy club with people talking, sneezing, waitresses, glasses clinking -- yet still follow the comedian and the joke.

So there can be a pretty detailed and rich ambient environment in any film -- they dont' need to dumb it down. As long as its natural sounding it should be fine.

Which is exactly why ambient information is distracting when you try and play it up too much... the brain starts to filter out redundant information after about five seconds, and it is why overplayed ambient sounds are too distracting.

Trust me, we aren't dumbing it down. But you cannot simply make the argument that in reality our brains do just fine with all of the extraneous noise, and we should then try and imitate that.

There are many problems with that. I start with the premise that film, of course, isn't reality, and all of the rules of psycho acoustics in real life don't apply.

First off, films have a forced proscenium, and a 2D one at that, whereas in life we have peripheral vision and 3 dimensions. When you break out side of the screen, the brain does stop to process the sound in context of what you are seeing, and it becomes very distracting to the story being told on screen. Add to that the jarring concept of picture editing, where every cut involves the brain putting topography together, and ambient sound becomes the glue that helps tie it all together (listen to the center channel only in any heavy dialog scene, and you can usually pull out the bumps and changes inherent in the production track.) The one exception to this of course is when you don't cut picture, i.e. a film like "Cloverfield." There are of course time cuts, but outside of that, single takes rule the day. And in those cases it is way more successful to go all out, because all of the sound supports what you can and can't see, and the use of off camera sounds make sense because the rules are different.

This is why your analogy of a comedy club doesn't work... sitting in one place without moving, your brain is able to focus on what you want it too... you are the active participant who chooses what you decide to focus on; watching a film makes you into a passive viewer, and the director is in charge of focusing your attention in the way they feel is true to the story they are telling.

Saying that directors don't use the surrounds enough is like criticizing Shakespeare for not using enough adjectives... story telling is sometimes most effective when only using a couple of simple words to tell the story. Directors have many tools at their use, and surround immersion is only one of them. And I do disagree that we are always up front in comedies or dramas.

I find that because of the reasons I just stated, that using width instead of depth is much more effective when constrained to looking forward at a screen all the time.

Try and take any film that you think is flat (I haven't seen "Michael Clayton") but can speak only of my work. Turn off or unplug your center speaker and see just how much stuff is in there.. you might think it not enough for your liking, but I think that you be surpassed at how much there is. It is very shocking to many just how much energy the dialog takes up in a scene and how much other sound there is being lost behind it... remember that human hearing is most sensitive in the range of human speech, between 1kHz and 3kHz (the fundamentals are lower, but that is when a lot of speech is defined). And many modern films are shot on location so you are tied to a lot of natural ambience in the center track, which limits how loud you can play other sounds.

I think you are being overly critical of just how much stuff you think isn't in a film soundtrack.

Also understand that in trying to equate what reality sounds like and then trying to imitate that in a film, we are so primitive in our playback that when using two or four surround channels, we are still very inadequate in trying to fool our binaural hearing... most people think that you need at least 8-10 discrete channels in a rear array to start to mimic what we hear in the real world, outside of an acoustically, frequency limited room. A couple of years ago, my mixing stage was the home of a new sound system that consisted of 384 discrete speaker channels (it used 6 sub channels, so it was in essence a 384.6 system !!!) It was really cool... and created limitless sweet spots and the ability to move sounds outside of the room..

If you want to read more, here is the web site:

http://www.iosono-sound.com/index.html

That is my old mixing room on the page, but none of those people are me, so don't ask

But with the tools we have available to use today, surrounds still, even at their best, are a cheap imitation of reality, and require a lot of brain power when using them for ambient sounds... and once again, I use them a lot in my mixing, as do most directors, but remember that we are trying to tell a story, and even though I know you disagree, I hope I have given you some of the reasons why we don't use it to the extent you think we should...

Trust me, I am a relative youngster as a mixer mixing the kind of films I have.... I work with a lot of first time feature directors (not all young and inexperienced) and a lot of people who have been doing this for years... most of them aren't afraid to use sound, they just don't like it when you break the illusion. And using a fixed, bandwidth limited array of surround speakers can do that quicker than anything else

I don't talk a lot about the projects that I have mixed, but I have a film coming out on Tuesday that is one of the most interesting things I have done, and I am hoping that people who love film have a chance to see and hear it..

It is called "Slipstream" and is only coming out on SD DVD... if you have a chance, take a listen and let me know what you think.. It is very arty, very self indulgent, very weird, but one of the projects I am most proud of....

EDIT: The "Slipstream" I am speaking about is directed by and stars Anthony Hopkins, not the SciFi film of a couple of years back.
post #270 of 2680
Quote:
Originally Posted by pepar View Post

I follow you, and I'm sure you don't really mean it that way, but aren't you sort of saying that "more" would be non-essential and we'd tune it out anyway?

I mean that it wouldn't be too distracting (as feared by the directors) due to our abilities to handle different information sources and focus more on the essential part.

However, surround ambience is still welcome and necessary to make the film appear to be more realistic, by further immersing the viewer in that world depicted on the screen.

I think directors are not giving enough credit to the audience when it comes to drama and comedies. It is almost showing disdain for the audience by not including more surround sound -- as if the audience is so idiotic and as easily distracted as a two year old, that normal and natural surround sound will be overwhelming.

Which leads to my version of a director overhead on the lot:

"oh, god forbid, crickets chirping in a night scene will so distract the film viewer, he won't be able to follow the plot or he'll miss the funny joke".

Give me a break. That's nonsense.
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