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Audio dropout question


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8 replies to this topic

#1 of 9 OFFLINE   ThomasC

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Posted June 23 2003 - 08:05 AM

The past couple of times I went to one of my local theaters, there was an audio dropout each time, but at the same instance. Right between the end of the movie and the start of the end credits, the audio dropped out for just a second. What caused that? The movies I saw that had these dropouts were X2 and Hulk, and they both went straight from the movie into the credits instead of fading to black or having the credits roll while some action is still taking place.

#2 of 9 OFFLINE   Peter Apruzzese

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Posted June 23 2003 - 09:04 AM

It sounds like they are putting the foil "cue tape" (which is applied to the film by the theatre to automatically raise the lights, close the curtain, etc.) over the soundtrack area of the print, which will cause the audio to dropout briefly. There are ways to apply this tape without causing a dropout, so this is just sloppy on their part.
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#3 of 9 OFFLINE   Aaron Garman

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Posted June 23 2003 - 07:32 PM

Hello all. If the dropout is occuring here, it is most likely because of cue placement. However, with our system, the cue to bring the lights to half dim at the credits goes in the middle of the frame. One can actually see the cue go through if they look close enough on the screen. Anyhow, I do see the audio dropout here from time to time on Dolby SRD systems. I've built trailers and then the movie, and with all those splices and cues, the only one to cause a dropout is at the beginning of the credits. It doesn't always happen, but more often than any other of the spots. My theory is that the SRD systems are just more sensitive. When the same print runs in a DTS house, all is good! AJG
"It's been my lifelong ambition to be a movie usher, and I have failed, as far as I am concerned" - Bob Dylan

#4 of 9 OFFLINE   Neil S. Bulk

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Posted June 24 2003 - 01:57 AM

[quote] Originally posted by Aaron Garman:
One can actually see the cue go through if they look close enough on the screen. [quote] I always hide this cue. On flat films it's very easy. I just put it down horizontally on the frame line, since this area is masked off. I do that on scope films too, but sometimes the thing is still visible at the top and bottom. I hate watching films though and seeing this big black blotch in the miiddle of the screen at the start of the credits.

Neil

#5 of 9 OFFLINE   ThomasC

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Posted June 24 2003 - 02:02 AM

Thanks for the info, guys!

#6 of 9 OFFLINE   Sean Laughter

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Posted June 24 2003 - 03:04 AM

Since there are commercial theater people here can anyone tell me why the surround format always seems to cut out during the credits. I don't know if this is normal everywhere or just sloppy work at my local cineplexes, but it seems the end credit music on alot of films suddenly drops completely to stereo if not mono on alot of end credit sequences. I noticed this on X2, for example, but it didn't happen on Matrix Reloaded.

#7 of 9 OFFLINE   Jesse Skeen

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Posted June 24 2003 - 10:26 AM

Automation cues affecting the picture and/or sound is COMPLETELY unacceptable, yet a lot of theatres do this. If the Dolby Digital drops out to analog right before the credits, the cue tape is probably on the outside and is partly covering the digital soundtrack. I worked at a theatre that used this kind of automation and it's actually the least intrusive type you can use, as long as you're careful to properly cut the tape so that it doesn't cover any sprocket holes and/or the digital soundtrack.
If it stays in analog through the entire end credits, the system is probably telling the sound processor to stay in analog, as some systems must send a signal to the sound unit at the light cues even though the sound system doesn't have to do anything. One place I worked would cause a half-second of silence at every cue, so I fixed that by having the automation basically push a button on the processor that wasn't hooked up, so it sent its signal out but went nowhere, only affecting the houselights.
I have a BIG problem with systems that use anything that has to be place on the image area- whoever designed these obviously has no concept of a good presentation and I have to wonder just what the hell they were thinking. The first theater I worked at used reflective tape on the frame lines, and often it would show up on the screen, ruining the endings for many films (you'd see it flash at a sudden ending, ruining the 'is this the end or isn't it' mood, or you'd see the hero riding off into the sunset, dramatic fade-to-black, followed immediately by a square flash on the screen!). When I started putting films together I figured out how to place the cue tape so it would not show on screen, even cutting the tape in half the size it usually came in (yes, it is more difficult to hide these on scope films but it can be done.) Sadly most other people there thought nobody noticed it except me, and after I left there I found out the people there are now using the full-size cues with no concern for how they show on screen.
If you notice automation cues at a theatrical presentation, COMPLAIN to the theatre's head office EVERY time you see or hear them! If it's a THX-certified theater, you can also let them know through their website www.thx.com - a new theatre recently opened in this area that appears to use tape placed VERTICALLY on the picture area, so I've let THX know that their standards should not allow for this.
If you don't complain, they'll just assume nobody notices and keep doing it. Ideally they should keep the house lights DOWN until the END of the movie, but if they can't do that they at least need to make it bearable for those who are actually there to see the movie.
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#8 of 9 OFFLINE   Neil S. Bulk

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Posted June 24 2003 - 01:47 PM

Fun with house lights! On a print of Matrix Reloaded I added a cue just before the Matrix Revolutions trailer so that the house lights would go back down. Everybody told me this wouldn't work and it would screw up the automation. The fools. It worked perfectly everytime. Posted Image

Neil

#9 of 9 OFFLINE   Aaron Garman

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Posted June 24 2003 - 03:54 PM

I did the same thing Neil, and again no one really thought it would work. My placement was so perfect, just as the Coming Soon faded out, the lights were off. Very nice effect. As far as I know, the cue we place on the credits is a piece of foil tape and I've been taught to place it vertically. This is why I can see it go through. I'll have to take a look at the manual for the automation (if I can find it) and see if placing it along a frame line will work. Thanks for the idea. AJG
"It's been my lifelong ambition to be a movie usher, and I have failed, as far as I am concerned" - Bob Dylan




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