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THE PRINCESS BRIDE: A Non-Geek's Take on the SE (and a bit about 5.1 vs 2-channel)


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#1 of 28 Michael Martin

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Posted September 05 2001 - 02:59 AM

Hello all.

I've been watching DVDs for about a year now (received a player from my wife for Father's Day last year, bless her!). I don't have an elaborate HT system set up -- just the sound out lines running from my Sony DVD player to my 15-year-old Technics receiver, and the video line running straight to my 4-year old Zenith 25" (no S-video).

Anyway, we bought and watched the SE of TPB yesterday. This movie has a special meaning for us: it's the movie we saw on our first date. Previously, we had owned a VHS copy which was bad even by VHS standards: fuzzy picture, bad sound, etc.

I was blown away by the picture quality compared to the VHS edition. Many of you, I know owned the LD or the previous bare bones DVD of this movie. But it was such a joy to see the film in nearly pristine, sharp quality, and to hear it in great stereo. This movie alone made the purchase of the player worth it -- to experience one of our favorite movies in quality image and sound. I can't speak for the more technically-knowledgeable of the HTF crowd, but for me, the $20 I dropped at Worst, er, Best Buy was a bargain.

I do however, have one peeve with this (and a few other discs): No English Dolby Surround (2 channel). I realize I may be asking for a bit of flaming here, but not every DVD owner has a 5.1-ready system (or DTS). I wish the studios would offer the 2-channel option for optimum play for those of us with "lesser" systems.

Anyway, wanted to share my joy of owning the film (with some great extras) in such a great format.


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#2 of 28 Patrick Wilmes

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Posted September 05 2001 - 03:06 AM

Maybe I'm out of the loop but what is TPB? Posted Image

#3 of 28 Ken_McAlinden

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Posted September 05 2001 - 03:09 AM

You may lose your non-geek credentials if you keep talking about the need for separate 5.1 and 2.0 sound mixes. Posted Image

Frequently when a 2.0 soundtrack is not provided, both the DD5.1 and DD2.0 users wind up compromised. Companies such as Warner, MGM, & Universal will usually conform the DD5.1 mix for downmixing to pro-logic, which usually involves moving some of the LFE information to the main channels among other alterations.

This is one of the less controversial advantages that DTS proponents can claim. Since DTS is not down-mixed, there is no need to even consider altering the mix for that purpose.

Regards,

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Ken McAlinden
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#4 of 28 Jack Briggs

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Posted September 05 2001 - 03:19 AM

Proof positive once again that "home theater" is a state of mind. Until the 1980s, most commercial cinemas offered nothing more than monophonic sound. Did that make the experience any less theatrical? Of course surround sound is preferable, but it's not necessary.

I've seen 2001 screened a number of times in 35mm and monophonic--the film still held me in its rapture.

Too, until the 1970s most films possessed monophonic soundtracks.

If you're having a supremely enjoyable experience screening DVDs on a 25-inch display without S-Video, yet still are blown away be the obvious superiority of the format, you're enjoying "home theater." Though I love 5.1-channel sound, I don't see it as a prerequisite to being admitted into the world of home theater. ('Sides, you're going to upgrade before too long--being an HTF member does that to you. ...)

And, yes, what might "TPB" be?

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#5 of 28 James_Kiang

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Posted September 05 2001 - 03:25 AM

I was wondering what TPB was as well. Finally it hit me. Since he talks about being a "non-geek" it had to be a movie people tend to "geek out" for - The Princess Bride.

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#6 of 28 Brian Kidd

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Posted September 05 2001 - 03:26 AM

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that he's talking about THE PRINCESS BRIDE.
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#7 of 28 Iain Lambert

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Posted September 05 2001 - 03:33 AM

Michael, if you're really desperate for a 2.0 mix I could be persuaded to swap you my original release version of the disc that has one for the special edition Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

ok, maybe not...
mmm, thats odd.

#8 of 28 John GB

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Posted September 05 2001 - 07:52 AM

Quote:
just the sound out lines running from my Sony DVD player to my 15-year-old Technics receiver

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#9 of 28 Michael Reuben

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Posted September 05 2001 - 07:59 AM

Quote:
I do however, have one peeve with this (and a few other discs): No English Dolby Surround (2 channel).
But didn't you say you got "great stereo" from the disc? If a 2.0 mixdown from the 5.1 track produces "great stereo", why should MGM waste space on a separate 2.0 track?

M.
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#10 of 28 Michael Reuben

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Posted September 05 2001 - 08:42 AM

Duplicate deleted.

The first one wouldn't show up until I posted the second one (and yes, I hit "refresh").

[Edited last by Michael Reuben on September 05, 2001 at 03:44 PM]
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#11 of 28 Michael Martin

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Posted September 05 2001 - 09:00 AM

Thanks to all for your input.

Apologies for assuming all would know TPB = The Princess Bride. Perhaps I'm more of a geek than I knew!

On that...what I really meant is that I don't have any equipment beyond what most J6Ps have out there, though (mostly thanks to y'all and a zealous coworker) I'm much more informed.

I was a former "hate the black bars on the screen" person until the release of "Last of the Mohicans" made it clear that Pan & Scan was a technology straight from the Fiery Pits of Hell!

Once I saw how much of the picture I was losing, I never looked back.

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#12 of 28 SteveGon

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Posted September 05 2001 - 09:56 AM

Michael, you're certainly not alone - I'm also an HT buff without the HT! Well, one of these days, I'm gonna have the money... Posted Image

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#13 of 28 Kimmo Jaskari

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Posted September 05 2001 - 10:35 AM

Personally I've always considered myself a home theater owner ever since I first realized that by hooking up my two-channel stereo to my hifi-video I could get mind-blowing (at the time and for me) sound to go with the picture.

Since then I've moved up to a 32 inch widescreen set and full-on 5.1 with sub, but as has been said - you don't need all that to have a powerful home movie experience.

Next step is front projection... 100 glorious inches at home. Yeehaaw. Posted Image

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#14 of 28 John GB

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Posted September 06 2001 - 01:46 AM

My incomplete post yesterday is a result of the board going haywire. I was going to say what Michael said right after my post. Since the player will effectively create a plausible Stereo (if not a decent DPL) mix. Most HTF fans would rather see the space used for more extras or a higher bitrate.

In today's consumer electronics market, it's hard to find a receiver without a digital input and 5.1 surround. DVD manufacturers are finally starting to realize this. About time! Posted Image

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#15 of 28 Ken_McAlinden

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Posted September 06 2001 - 02:00 AM

Quote:
Most HTF fans would rather see the space used for more extras or a higher bitrate.
Not me. As pointed out in my post above, I would rather have the unconformed DD 5.1 mix with a separate 2.0 mix. I'll even speak heresy and say that the 2.0 should be the default since by far the majority of people watching the disc will not have a 5.1 set-up, and those with 5.1 gear are more likely to know how to switch an audio track on the fly.

Regards,

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Ken McAlinden
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#16 of 28 Christopher Cheadle

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Posted September 06 2001 - 02:33 AM

I would like to echo Ken's post from above. I too have become a big supporter of including a 2.0 track on every release. I do have 5.1 and, like many here, have noticed that some of these tracks can sound a little "cooked" when there is no 2.0 channel due to the downmixing considerations that have to be made. Conversely, I understand what Michael is saying in have the 5.1 downmixed to stereo. I have found that when doing this on my computer and running the downmixed "stereo" track to my 20 year old Yamaha receiver that it can sound flat in some areas and, often, a little uneven.

I would love to see both groups (those with multi-channel and those without) taken into consideration on each release in terms of audio and video (see various Wonka/WB posts). Some would argue that this is already happening with all players' abilities to downmix 5.1 to stereo/DPL. But, it is still my opinion that having the individual 2.0/5.1 tracks on each release provides a better listening experience for all involved.

And since I know everyone cares, I am the zealous co-worker Michael mentioned above.

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#17 of 28 John GB

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Posted September 06 2001 - 02:48 AM

Quote:
I'll even speak heresy and say that the 2.0 should be the default since by far the majority of people watching the disc will not have a 5.1 set-up

I can liken your argument to saying "DVD's should not be in anamorphic widescreen since by far the majority of people watching have older 4 by 3 televisions".

I do have a 4 by 3 set, but prefer all my DVDs to be anamorphic. Am I crazy? Perhaps. But you can rest assured that my next TV will be a HD-widescreen-16 by 9-High scanning rate MONSTER! (Rrrrrr). And at that point in time, my collection of DVDs will seem new again!

Technology marches on and I have only one word to describe it....Hallelujah!

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#18 of 28 Michael Martin

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Posted September 06 2001 - 03:13 AM

Wanted to respond to Michael Reuben's post...

I should have written my original post more carefully. The "great stereo" is in contrast to the crappy VHS version.

The big frustration I experienced watching Princess Bride in 5.1 (using a 2-channel stereo system) is that after particularly loud events, ALL of the sound was much softer and took a bit to get back to "normal" levels.

This has happened in a few other discs, and I have started to become irritated with companies providing ONLY very high-end sound mixes. I have to wonder how many J6Ps out there are bitching about the "funny" sound on their discs because they either don't have a 2-channel option or don't know to choose that as the sound mix.

I did broach the idea of buying a "basic" HT system last night with the spouse, but it was greeted by a definite lack of enthusiasm! I'll keep chipping away....


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#19 of 28 Michael Martin

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Posted September 06 2001 - 03:17 AM

John, I don't think your argument holds up.

Right now, because of my set up, I could care less if the film is anamorphic or not. However, if it is, it doesn't LESSEN my viewing enjoyment.

However, if I have only DTS and/or 5.1 to choose from, it DEFINITELY detracts, because it means the sound mix offered will actually sound worse on my system than simple stereo surround.

Others have argued above that NOT offering a 2.0 mix seems to hurt the 5.1 mix. I defer to their more in-depth knowledge on these technical matters.
"You know, God has some really weird kids, and I find it hard to be in their company most of the time."
--Paul "Bono" Hewson

#20 of 28 Ken_McAlinden

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Posted September 06 2001 - 03:55 AM

Quote:
I can liken your argument to saying "DVD's should not be in anamorphic widescreen since by far the majority of people watching have older 4 by 3 televisions".
That's a poor analogy, but much easier to argue against than what I actually said. If I had said that 5.1 sound should not be included, then your analogy would be apt. I actually said that DD5.1 sound should not be compromised for downmixing purposes.

A better analogy would be that DVD players should default to 4:3 TV letterbox mode out of the box rather than 16:9 widescreen. I also happen to believe this as well.

Regards,

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Ken McAlinden
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