SENSURROUND Films from 1974-1980

Discussion in 'DVD' started by BB58, Jun 10, 2009.

  1. BB58

    BB58 Auditioning

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    This is for anyone who has knowledge of the 4 filmes issued to theaters in SENSURROUND back in the day. Specifically, EARTHQUAKE, MIDWAY, ROLLERCOASTER and the theatrical BATTLESTAR GALACTICA.

    I've read up on how SENSURROUND was done on the soundtracks for these films and cannot believe that in the day and age of Stereo Magnetic tracks, Midway and Rollercoaster were mixed to 1.1 Mono and the triggers for SENSURROUND to work the speakers. EARTHQUAKE is in 5.1 on its DVD release (better on the UK version, as there are no SENSURROUND flaws like on the US version...the one with no bonus features...not even a trailer). The sensation of SENSURROUND for the rumbling during the major quake and aftershocks does come across on my speakers without a subwoofer in DD 5.1. Forget about that "Sensurround 3.1" they offer, which is garbage. Sounds like 3 mono tracks and no rumble. I need a powered subwoofer for use with my current receiver & haven't gotten one yet to get more effect. Still, the effects are substantial for what I can play in the house on my current speakers. MIDWAY is minimal, and ROLLERCOASTER is almost non-existant, probably since both are using a DD 1.1 vs. DD 2.0 in surround or even being mixed to DD 5.1. Elements should exist to try and do this. Haven't tried Galactica, but I wasn't a large fan of this film or series...just the sound.

    Would anyone know if they are planning updated releases on any of these films, even one of those Universal Franchise Collections that boxes together movies of type, genre, by director, etc? I think a SENSURROUND box set would be interesting of all 4 films with sound updated to at least DD 5.1. I would think Blu-Ray is a definite for EARTHQUAKE, but not the others.

    If anyone is familiar with the UK or Europe releases of these films (EARTHQUAKE was just re-released with the US cover updated as a Universal Cinema Classic, and I believe has the film and trailer as the earlier UK version, but the SENSURROUND tracks were lined up properly during the quake scenes. I'm not sure if MIDWAY or ROLLERCOASTER are now DD 2.0 overseas in Region 2, plus do not know if ROLLERCOASTER was updated for 16:9 TVs. My issue is still Letterbox, but it was first issue. Appreciate any infor to better my collection of these filmes.

    Fox is about to issue "The Towering Inferno" in Blu-Ray and I will get a Blu-Ray player in time for this release. I only want certain pictures in Blu-Ray format, and this is one of them. No sign of the original "The Poseidon Adventure" or "Airport" from Universal thus far for Blu-Ray.

    Thank you, BILL
     
  2. Robert Floto

    Robert Floto Supporting Actor

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    I think this is supposed to be in the SD DVD - Film and Documentary forum...
     
  3. Tony J Case

    Tony J Case Cinematographer

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    Isn't Sensurround just the theater turning up the bass and turning down the treble?
     
  4. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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    There is no practical way that Sensurround can be duplicated in the home. Theatres installed huge speakers throughout the auditorium for those presentations ( I saw them all except Battlestar Galactica) and the effect depended on the theatre walls themselves to amplify the deep rumble. Earthquake was particulary suitable for the process and was hugely effective.
     
  5. Darren Gross

    Darren Gross Supporting Actor

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    Douglas is correct. The only way you could get close would be by adapting the Sensurround effects for DBOX equipped seats. You could come fairly close with that, with the seats replicating the physical sensation of the floor and room vibrations.

    Without DBOX, it's not possible with a standard home theater setup, even with 10 subwoofers in your living room turned up to 11. It's so much intense bass as it is physical vibration and room-shaking movement, concentrated into short, intense bursts, as well as lengthy periods of physical vibration. The series of subwoofer horns used in the front and backs of the theater were as big as mini Coopers, and several of them were placed around the venue.

    Earthquake was released in 4-track MAG stereo, as well as mono-optical, both with Sensurround triggers encoded in them. The rest were in mono, to the best of my knowledge.
     
  6. ahollis

    ahollis Producer

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    I know that this forum is about home video but this link will show anyone that Sensurround can not be replicated for home enjoyment.

    About Sensurround

    I also read the Krakatoa, East of Java was shown in Sensurround in Europe under the title of Volcano.

    On the video side of things. The last Earthquake and Midway DVD releases were advertised with the .1 sound for the bass to give a feel of Sensurround. This in no way gives anyone a feel of Sensurround except loud bass. However both films are quite enjoyable and a great 70's watch. Rollercoaster on the other hand was just a bad film and the DVD transfer leaves a lot to be desired (it is non-anamorphic).
     
  7. BB58

    BB58 Auditioning

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    Thank you all for your feedback. Granted, I am not wanting to blow out my windows or walls using mamouth speakers to recreate Sensurround in my house. I was able to reset all on my receiver so I get some kind of effect. It works better now, and you can notice a rumbling effect to enhance the visual and other audio on EARTHQUAKE and MIDWAY. For ROLLERCOASTER, it only pops up a couple of times to even be noticible. Most effective on the last coaster with the big loop at Magic Mountain. ROLLERCOATER for me was an interesting mystery, even if a little cheesy, but I liked the Sensurround use when I saw it in the theater. I still need to try EARTHQUAKE with a subwoofer even to get a little more than I am getting out of the four front & back speakers I have.

    I'm just hoping if these movies make Blu-ray, and I've upgraded to a Blu-ray player, we have great sound and picture. ROLLERCOASTER needs to come out of 2:35 aspect.
     
  8. RolandL

    RolandL Producer

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    Krakatoa was shown in FEELARAMA in the US with the title Volcano -

    volcano
     
  9. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Cinematographer

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    Zoot Suit (the last film in the format) got a 70mm run here in the states.
     
  10. GregK

    GregK Screenwriter

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    Most listeners were originally very disapointed with the Sensurround encoded DVDs. In particular, BATTLESTAR had employed an elaborate version of Sensurround that could also steer some of the effects from front to back or vice verse by using control cues. Having heard this one first hand in theaters, I can attest to the directional effectiveness. Probably due to bass management concerns, Universal has only provided a mono with LFE (1.1) Sensurround version of BATTLESTAR on DVD. But the biggest disappointment was the bass levels. The bass was sickeningly weak, and even if one turned up the sub, the mix sounded extremely muddy. This is NOT how Sensurround sounded. Not even close. Well... so much for even coming close to re-creating the 1970's tummy shaking experience. ..Or, so I had thought.

    It wasn't too ago when I was fiddling with BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, that I realized whenever I raised the subwoofer level, it also raised the center channel bass, which was being redirected into the sub by my Dolby Digital receiver. Bass rediection is performed *before* the subwoofer level control. But when I set the center channel to "Large", the sub was now only getting the original sensurround mix, without any boosted center channel bass to muddy it up. Now I could crank the subwoofer to a house shaking level without having it sound like crap. I would say it took a 10 or 15db boost, but if you are a fan of these movies, I HIGHLY recommend trying this approach. Re-listening to these titles again was now a totally different experience, and is a lot closer to the original sensurround visceral feel. ..I don't have 18" Cerwin Vega speakers, (well.. four 15" subs do me just fine) so it's still not truly "tummy shaking" like the theatrical Sensurround. But it is now improved, and also highlights the incorrect LFE levels Universal set for their 1.1 tracks Sensurround DVDs. I don't know if they thought people were going to blow their subs, or if it's a simple mastering error. I'm just happy I found a workaround. ..Just listen to the Battlestar Atlantia explode during the first cylon attack. [​IMG]



    [​IMG]
     
  11. ahollis

    ahollis Producer

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    Thanks GregK, I will give this a try.
     
  12. juda

    juda Agent

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    Great idea for a thread [​IMG]
     
  13. Darren Gross

    Darren Gross Supporting Actor

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    It should be stated that ZOOT SUIT shouldn't be grouped with the other Sensurround films. It didn't use Sensurround effects at all, only the noise-reduction processor part of the Sensurround patent. Of course, it didn't stop them from advertising it with SENSURROUND, including banners hanging outside the Cinerama dome...
     

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