Dolby Headphone & "Pearl Harbor: The Director's Cut"

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Jun 17, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    It took me almost 3 days to go through all
    the material on my review of Pearl Harbor.
    One of the things I wanted to talk about in
    the review, but decided to do separately, was
    the inclusion of the Dolby Headphone soundtrack.
    Many of you probably won't remember this, but
    a year ago around this time I had the opportunity
    to listen to a demo of this new technology that
    allows listeners to experience 5-channel distinct
    audio through a regular headphone.
    My first listening experience was through my laptop
    computer where I popped in a demo DVD that had
    Dolby Headphone audio encoded on it. The
    results were AMAZING. I actually felt like I was
    sitting in a home theater environment where I
    could hear 5 channels of distinct sound. I could
    pick out sounds that were directly behind me (not
    side to side).
    Trust me, after listening to Dolby Headphone,
    I started campaigning for audio manufacturers to
    incorporate the inexpensive option into their new
    gear. Why? Because there are so many people that
    love to listen to their movies at night and don't
    want to disturb others around them. By using
    Dolby Headphone, they create complete silence
    on the outside as the ordinary headphones they
    already own supply rich, detailed 5-channel audioon the inside.
    To this day, I still don't understand why
    Dolby Headphone is not installed on every
    single Home Theater receiver available.
    Imagine my surprise when a Dolby Headphone
    option showed up on Pearl Harbor. My God,
    someone has certainly seen the potential.
    This evening, I slipped on my headphones and
    selected the Dolby Headphone track. I
    listened to the chicken chase sequence between
    Raf and Danny at the beginning of the film. I
    was not very impressed. I did not sense too
    much depth in sound. Most of the sound was left
    and right instead of front and back.
    So, I skipped to chapter 21 or 22, which is the
    initial assault on Pearl Harbor. There, I found
    a little more of the depth I was looking for as
    I could distinctly hear planes coming from behind
    me, and crossing over in front.
    Sadly, I wasn't as impressed with this mix as
    I was with the Dolby Headphone demo DVD
    I heard last year. Perhaps this was because the
    demo was more geared to giving accurate separation.
    Still, this isn't failure. Listening to Pearl
    Harbor in Dolby Headphone is a definite
    step above listening to it in plain stereo. Those
    of you who have never heard it before as I did,
    will definately notice depth you never imagined
    was possible.
    Dolby Headphone is a godsend to people
    who live in an apartment and cannot play their
    home theater system too loud. Dolby Headphone
    is a godsend to travelers who want to enjoy
    5-channel audio from their portable DVD player.
    It's like taking your entire home theater system
    on the road with you.
    Why has it taken this long for studios to put
    a Dolby Headphone track on their DVDs?
    Does this technology require a separate audio
    track that takes up extra space the DVD?
    Why haven't audio manufacturers made Dolby
    Headphone standard in all their receivers?
    Or video manufacturers made it available on all
    portable video devices? You would think the
    WOW factor on technology like this (which I hear
    is inexpensive) would be easy to implement across
    the board.
    I'd like all of you who buy a copy of Pearl
    Harbor: The Director's Cut to take about 15
    minutes of your time, plug a set of ordinary
    headphones into your equipment, and listen to
    the Dolby Headphone audio. You tell me
    what you think and how important you feel this
    technology is to the future of Home Theater.
    This could make for a very interesting thread.
     
  2. Tino

    Tino Lead Actor
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    The previous Pearl Harbor release also has this feature and I found it to be of little value to me. I heard very little difference between the Dolby Headphone track and the DD and dts 5.1 tracks using my headphones.
    Seems like a gimmick to me, but maybe it's just my ears?[​IMG]
     
  3. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    Like Tino, I discovered this on the previous Pearl Harbor release, which my wife borrowed from her friend.

    Even though I hated aspects of the film, I was intrigued by the idea of the Dolby Headphone track, which I'd heard about here on HTF, so I loaded the disc up in my PC drive and plugged in the phones.

    I was a bit more impressed than Tino was, but perhaps less so that Ron was. I could sense SOME differences, but there is clearly room for improvement.

    This IS an excellent idea, but they have to do more to distinguish one version from another to get me to spend MORE money on it.

    However, if the technology is cheap enough to be included as a "value added" feature for no discernable increase in price, or trade-off on a better feature, then it absolutely would interest me on, say, a portable or mobile player.


    It's got potential, that's for sure. I am just sure that PH doesn't live up to it. It's gratifying to hear from Ron that better use of the process exists. I just wonder how good it can be implemented on-the-fly from just any standard movie's standard 5.1 track!
     
  4. Ken Garrison

    Ken Garrison Supporting Actor

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    I played with the Dolby Headphone feature in Power DVD XP. It's pretty good, but can suck some CPU power. I was running a Celeron 366 @ 458 at the time I tried Dolby Headphone out. I'm running a P3 1 GHZ CPU in that computer now. Also, I wanna point out if you watch a surround encoded movie on a plain 2 channel stereo, you will STILL hear the rear information behind you if you sit in a sweet spot. The rear information will kinda sound weird and feel wierd to your ears and your brain makes you think it's in the back. TRY IT! I have an old 2 channel stereo hooked up to my HI FI VCR in my bedroom and when I watch a movie with a lot of action, like Pearl Harbor, I can still hear those planes flying through my bedroom even though I only got 2 speakers. BTW. The tapes I watch are just DVDs I recorded to VHS so I can watch them in my bedroom when I can't sleep. Don't want anyone to panic for me watching VHS, since VHS is mostly pan and scan. My VHS is just DVDs transfered to VHS. Anyway. If you're in a bedroom, a 2 channal stereo will work out great.
     
  5. Michael St. Clair

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    Dolby Headphone tracks on DVDs are another waste of bitspace that could be used to improve picture quality. Remember, unlike supplements, additional audio tracks reduce peak video bitrate. The only good thing about the track on Pearl Harbor is that it gives some visibility to DH, but this is not something we should want as a trend.
    As far as playback goes, it continues to baffle me that there aren't a ton of receivers out that decode Dolby Headphone. It is truly great. I also use the plugin for PowerDVD, and it is excellent for travelling with a notebook. WinDVD also has DH support, so the PC and notebook side is pretty much covered. There is also a plugin for stereo listening for Real Jukebox.
    Ron, amount of compression could account for the Pearl Harbor sound quality of the DH track; the demo you heard was likely uncompressed from beginning to end.
     
  6. YANG

    YANG Second Unit

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    I did a small review on the PEARL HARBOR 60TH ANNIV. EDITION DHS track(DOLBY HEADPHONE SURROUND) several months back.Here is the link...
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...ighlight=pearl
    I suggest that you might wanna look at the correct usage of this track,especially to those whose DVDplayers do on-board 5.1 decoding...
     
  7. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Michael, PH has bits to spare

    Oh, Yang, the R3 PH:Vista does NOT have the Headphone track. Just English DD and DTS
     
  8. Mitch Stevens

    Mitch Stevens Supporting Actor

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    The only reason I got the first release of "Pearl Harbor" was because I read on the internet about the new technology called "Dolby Headphone." Anyway, I read a lot of good things about it, and that's what got me to purchase the movie. Let's just say that I was not very impressed. It sounds kind of like stereo sound.

    Although, it might have been my head-phones. If it is my head-phones, please excuse this message. My head-phones are cheap $15 Sony head-phones (with Mega-Bass).

    Ken Garrison, how did you record your DVDs on VHS, when we have Macrovision? DVDs do not allow you to record on VHS. They will record in Black & White.
     
  9. YANG

    YANG Second Unit

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    "Oh, Yang, the R3 PH:Vista does NOT have the Headphone track. Just English DD and DTS"

    Yes,the R3 release indeed do not have DHS track.The small review that i did,referred to the R1 release,not the R3 release...FYI...

    Ooops...i did not notice the word VISTA that you referred to R3 release...which so far i did not see any...
     
  10. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    Michael St. Clair said:
     
  11. Michael St. Clair

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    No such thing. Every audio track reduces peak video bitrate. No matter how good it looks, it can look better.
     
  12. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    I think that the bottom line is that PH encoded DH on-the-disc as a way of "getting the word out there" that this feature exists. If the interest is generated, perhaps we will indeed see hardware encoded-with-DH units out there in the future!
    The thing is, if it's a "marketing scheme" for DH to include it, I have to say it has probably failed already. The older, cheaper version of PH has been out a while now, and is now part of an *enormous* buy-PH-get-another-great-DVD-free scheme. The previoius version sold in greater numbers than the new Vista version ever will, I'm pretty sure. Even if the Vista version eventually outsells the first release, there are sufficient numbers of the old PH edition out there that SHOULD have generated interest in the Dolby Headphone idea.
    It hasn't happened. HTF is the only place I see it being talked about. And Ron's enthusiasm has a great deal to do with THAT.
    The concept itself needs to be discussed more, on other websites and in print. Where's Terry Malibu when you need him? This looks like a job for DVD Etc.! [​IMG]
    Otherwise, the DH idea will die a swift death, at least in this era.
     

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