Mono DVD's: What were they thinking?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Gary->dee, Feb 21, 2003.

  1. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

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  2. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer
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    Just thought I'd chime in and say that I find many of these
    comments regarding "upgrades" of original mono tracks to
    2.0, 5.1, or whatever really distrubing, and while not
    against the "letter of the law" for the forum, most
    certainly smack of being against the spirit I thought
    imbued this forum: films presented as closely as possible
    to they way they were ORIGINALLY presented and produced.

    Forget the crap about "Which theater?" and such drivel.

    I, for one, never paid too much attention to the audio
    on my DVDs...until Jaws was released.
    For someone who didn't really think about "orignal
    mix" too much, I was deeply upset that I COULD HEAR
    THE DIFFERENCE from what I had always heard in Jaws.

    Listen to that slap hitting Roy Scheider's cheek:
    it is all wrong on the DVD,
    and bears little resemblance to the original slap.

    For you people who want "upgrades," I have no quibble,
    so long as the original tracks are also available
    on the DVD
    ,
    but to me, it does place you in the same camp that cares
    more about their home theater system than films.

    Personally, I think it saddens me that so many of you
    are taking the position that,
    "Well, if Orson Welles
    had the capacity to make Kane in DD 5.1,
    he would have done so."

    That is not the point,
    and I am so glad you can read his mind.

    The point is, the creative team behind a film like
    Kane worked with what they had to get
    to an creative end that they were satisfied with.
    To do a "remix" now, not only does not reflect the director's wishes,
    but it does not represent the art in its proper
    context in film history.
    It is just a bastadization of the art.

    I suppose some of you would want Da Vinci's
    The Last Supper upgraded to reflect modern techiniques in fresco painting, too.
    "We could have The Last Supper in 3-D!"
    "DaVinci would've wanted the food on the table
    to be offered in "Scratch and Sniff" format!!!"



    Some of you people just don't get it,
    and frankly, make me sad, espeically
    when the studios start catering to
    you instead of people who care more
    about the films as historical works of art.

    Mark
     
  3. Jeff Jacobson

    Jeff Jacobson Cinematographer

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  4. Jeff Kohn

    Jeff Kohn Supporting Actor

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    I'm not going to get into the mono versus remix debate, I think it really is a case-by-case issue, though I would agree that there's no reason not to put the original mix on the DVD, after all that's one of the reasons DVD's support multiple soundtracks.

    One thing I will say, though Mono DD1.0 sucks, I strongly think that even for the mono track it should be played back as 2.0 or 3.0. You can't tell me that movie theaters used a single speaker when playing mono tracks, so I don't see why we should be expected to at home. My current center channel is pretty capable, but when I had a sub/sat system (not a cheap one mind you, but a $1k DefTech setup), DD1.0 sounded terrible.

    I also think if they're going to keep the mono (or hell, even stereo) track intact, the should do so as PCM, not dolby digital. No need to compress the audio when there's plenty of room.
     
  5. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer
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    Hey, I have an idea!

    Why don't we ask the studios to record dialogue for the characters in
    Metropolis, Sunrise, and City Lights?
    After all, if Lang, Murnau, and Chaplin
    had had the opportunity to record dialog for those films, they would have!

    Oh, wait..Chaplin did record a narration for
    The Gold Rush many years after the initial release of that film.

    How well is that received?
    (People hate it, and seemingly with a percentage 100
    prefering the ORIGINAL non-narrated version.)

    Oh, wait...Lucas has gone back and "upgraded" the
    special effects for The Star Wars Trilogy,
    and look how few care that we see those films as they
    were ORIGINALLY presented.

    (I seem to recall a rather lenghty, active thread
    about petitioning Lucas to
    PRESERVE FILM HISTORY by offering the films
    on DVD as they were ORIGINALLY presented along side
    the souped up "final versions.")

    hmmmmmmmmmmmm.


    Thanks, Jeff! :b



    Mark
     
  6. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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  7. SteveP

    SteveP Second Unit

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    CITY LIGHTS could have been made as a talkie in 1931.
    Chaplin chose to make it as a silent with sound effects and musical score that made satirical comment thoughout on the recent innovation of sound on film.
     
  8. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer
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    MarkHastings-

    Films are works of art. Whether you see that or not
    is a moot point. Now, certainly there are films of
    different historical and artistic merits, and that could
    be a thread of considerable length all by itself.

    There is Citizen Kane and there is
    Plan 9 From Outter Space. [​IMG]

    Both "art," but certainly, depending on who you are,
    you consider them "art," "entertainment," or both,
    and whether one is more "significant" to you than the
    other, is again a topic that could fill threads.

    For me, I openly acknowledge that I am a hypocrite of sorts too,
    because while I care deeply about films that are significant placeholders in film history,
    I don't so much care about those that seem to
    be made primarily only for "entertainment value,"
    and are little more than "popcorn flicks."

    (For example: I love the new audio mix on StarGate.)

    Films that have won awards, and hold places of prestige
    in film history (Both recent and not so recent) NEED to
    be available in a as-close-as-possible-to-original presentation.

    Jaws is a landmark film in many ways, and
    as has already been mentioned, won Academy Awards for
    its sound, which is NOT available on the current DVD.

    I don't think you'll hear too many people decrying the
    new audio mix on StarGate, because it is nothing
    more than an "entertainment" film designed to bring in
    the bucks. (Though, I love the artistry of the production
    design.)

    But that is a slipery slope, and it gets complicated
    very very fast.

    I was an art history major, and we NEVER talked about
    a work of art without discussing how it reflected and
    represented its place in the culture's history.

    (And, it absolutely matters whether that work is presented
    2-D, or 3-D...bronze or stone...fresco or on canvas.)


    When people start talking about bastardized "upgrades"
    of "important" cultural works in any media,
    be it film, scuplture, or painting, it absoultely matters.

    And those who want those audio "upgrades" because their subwoofer
    doesn't get a work out when watching Nosferatu are "inferior" in their point of view, sorry.

    Mark
     
  9. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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  10. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer

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    I don't think you'll hear too many people decrying the
    new audio mix on StarGate, because it is nothing
    more than an "entertainment" film designed to bring in
    the bucks. (Though, I love the artistry of the production
    design.)
    ------------------------------------------------------------

    And JAWS wasn't? Last time I watched JAWS I didn't notice a ton of social or political commentary. It was a movie about a shark eating people. Unless a person wants to look at it as an allegory for American foreign policy? Nope, still looks like a "popcorn" movie about a shark chowing down on a few hairless apes. JAWS was a "popcorn" flick made primarily to make money. It certainly wasn't made because the movie studio wanted to make "cinematic history". So why is it wrong to produce a multi-channel soundtrack for a "popcorn" flick like JAWS, but it is suddenly okay for a "popcorn" flick like STARGATE?
    ------------------------------------------------------------



    Some of you people just don't get it,
    and frankly, make me sad, espeically
    when the studios start catering to
    you instead of people who care more
    about the films as historical works of art.
    ------------------------------------------------------------

    Since when did movie studios ever cater to "people who care about films as historical art"? Movie studios are in business to make money, not cater to self-proclaimed "film historians". The fact that people frequenting this board constantly complain about the studios haphazard policies regarding OAR releases should indicate that the studios don't give a rats-ass about "film history". Studios are interested in what makes the most money. If studio execs think that re-mixing a soundtrack to 5.1 is going to boost sales then they are going to have it re-mixed. If the studio execs think that a film wouldn't recover the cost of a new mix with increased sales, then the soundtrack doesn't get re-mixed. Preserving the sanctity of film for "historians" is the last thing on their minds.
     
  11. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    "One thing I will say, though Mono DD1.0 sucks, I strongly think that even for the mono track it should be played back as 2.0 or 3.0. You can't tell me that movie theaters used a single speaker when playing mono tracks, so I don't see why we should be expected to at home."

    Uh yes, they do- I worked in the theater business for 10 years and any films or trailers with mono soundtracks get played ONLY through the center speaker. At home I also immediately noticed an improvement on mono soundtracks when I finally upgraded to a pro-logic system and got the sound in the center channel instead of the left and right (I made sure to get a good center speaker.)
     
  12. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer
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    Edwin-

    There is a lot more to Jaws as a cultural
    milestone than there is to Stargate.
    How many Academy Awards was Stargate
    nominated for?
    How many box office records did Stargate break?
    How much impact did it have of future films?
    How much impact did it have on American culture?

    How much more has been written in academic film journals
    about Jaws compared to Stargate?

    (Answer: a lot.)

    As for the money issue:
    Films are made, like other products to make money,
    just like artists like Caravaggio worked for the Catholic
    church to make money. Art and commerce have always had
    a problematic marriage.
    In the PBS program American Cinema, there
    is the following quote made by a filmmaker:
    The problem with film as an art form, is that it is
    a commerical product; The problem with film as a
    commercial product is that it is an art form.



    Again, that is a tread into itself. The fact is
    Jaws was a cultural phenomenon. If
    you don't see the difference between that and a film
    that had no such significance.... [​IMG]

    Why the studio failed to at least make available on the
    same DVD the original, Academy Award winning mono track,
    along with the one that gives home theaters a workout
    baffles me.

    And the studios ARE finally realising that they hold
    the most relevant cultural significant art form
    of the modern era in their vaults. Film schools aren't
    that old, and film history as a course of study is
    relatively new, too.

    I am sure the Pope didn't think he was doing anything
    wrong when he ordered little loin clothes be painted
    over all the sex organs in the Sistine Chappel either.
    (Only now do we fret and fuss and pay restorers to try
    and remove the modifications to Michelangelo's work.)

    Mark
     
  13. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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  14. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer

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    There is a lot more to Jaws as a cultural
    milestone than there is to Stargate.
    How many Academy Awards was Stargate
    nominated for?
    How many box office records did Stargate break?
    How much impact did it have of future films?
    How much impact did it have on American culture?

    How much has been written in academic film journals
    about Jaws compared to Stargate?

    (Answer: a lot.)
    ------------------------------------------------------------

    Again, that is a tread into itself. The fact is
    Jaws was a cultural phenomenon. If
    you don't see the difference between that and a film
    that had no such significance....
    ------------------------------------------------------------

    The biggest cultural significance of JAWS was that it was one of the early shock troops of the brainless summer "popcorn" flick. The other significant "cultural" aspect of JAWS (if a person wants to call it cultural) is that it made an enormous amount of money which once again opened the door for the brainless, effects driven summer "blockbuster". "STARGATE" merely became an example of a saturated genre. If the roles had been reversed and "STARGATE" had been the shock troop of the summer blockbuster, we would now be talking about the cultural significance of that movie and JAWS would be just another "popcorn" flick. This is just a thought experiment, so please don't tell me that since it didn't happen, the analogy doesn't apply.

    As to being nominated for Academy Awards...so what? I think there are plenty of films nominated for Academy Awards based on their box office take, rather than on their artistic sensibilities. In fact, I think box office results are a more important factor as to whether a film is nominated for an Academy Award, than any supposed "artistic value".

    And by the way......the shark still looks fake. [​IMG]
     
  15. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer
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    Damin-

    I agree with you in principle, but all art does not garner
    the same "respect for its integrity." That painting one's
    newphew created in finger painting class in kindergarten
    does not earn or deserve the same respect for its integrity that a painting by Picasso has...even if they look remarkably similar. [​IMG]

    Still, we are in FULL agreement that DVD as a medium
    is capable of making everyone happy because it could and
    should provide the film as it was orignally produced
    and released
    (regardless of preceived merits the of the film),
    and for those who want it and will pay for it,
    one with Dolby Digital 1000.4 or whatever.


    Mark
     
  16. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer
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    Edwin-

    I am going to respectfully disagree with you,
    and leave it at that, because
    a) it is off topic
    b) neither of us is going to change the other's mind

    regards to you,

    Mark

    PS: Yes the shark does look fake. [​IMG]
     
  17. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer

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    I will say this. I believe that if the movie had a mono track, that track should be restored and be put on to the disc without fail. However, there seems to be plenty of self proclaimed "film historians" that seem to think if the movie only had a mono track, then it is the only track that should be on the disc. I do not agree with this because they are now dictating the conditions as to the "appropriate" way to watch a movie in one's own home. On the flip-side, the same could be said about someone who thinks that DVDs should not be in mono....ever.

    There are even cases where a stereo mix might not improve a movie. I just re-watched "THE MALTESE FALCON" earlier and it occurred to me that this particular movie might lose a certain quality if it had a stereo track. The sonic qualities of the mono track on "THE MALTESE FALCON" gives the movie a certain period "feel". It is a quality that is quite hard to define, but it may actually be lost if the movie ever had a re-mixed soundtrack applied. I would not, personally, be averse to a stereo track being added but I definitely would not want the mono track dropped from the disc. I would want to be able to choose the preferred listening format.
     
  18. Mike Knapp

    Mike Knapp Supporting Actor

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    I saw my name mentioned on page 6 and read the thread. All of the points I would have made have been made quite eloquently by others so I wont add to the fray.

    I will say this, Vince Maskeeper had it nailed on the first page. Technology must serve the film not the other way around.

    Vince, Im going to steal that line from time to time. [​IMG]

    Mike
     
  19. Iain Lambert

    Iain Lambert Screenwriter

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    Overwhelmingly, I agree with Mike, Vince and all the others - "Technology must serve the film not the other way around" is a brilliant way to put it.

    Can I just throw one really minor spanner in the works though? For films recorded in Dolby Surround, i.e. with a matrixed mono surround channel and matrixed centre, I do appreciate it when a "4.0" mix is presented. The home user is getting the same sounds coming out of their speakers, and most home users don't have Dolby processors as good as the professionals have - getting Fox, WAMO or whoever to matrix out the centre and surround in advance, rather than your amp do a questionable job is surely a good thing?
     
  20. TedD

    TedD Supporting Actor

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