Originally Posted by Robert Harris
As I've said, I trust the people who created this, and I would give them their due, before questioning their technical motives.
Mr. Harris: I do NOT presume to question the motives of anyone connected with this release. I don't know enough about the subject to feel I would have the right to do that. I am asking these questions because of a lack of understanding on my part about the process and the hope to be enlightened.
Let's use your scenario of the audio issues with the Vertigo restoration as an example. You say the problems with the Vertigo audio were exacerbated by the digital realm. It was too "perfect" a representation of what existed and did too good a job exposing it's flaws.
This is where my own sense of logic (which has many times been called into question /img/vbsmilies/htf/smile.gif ) doesn't follow. If the digital representation of the Vertigo audio was "too accurate" for the release because it emphasized the audio's problems, why would a compressed version serve it any better?
You speak of a "smoothing" and of "hiding" the problems. One could argue you might achieve the same thing with smaller speakers or a less-powerful amplifier...or simply turning the volume down.
I have yet to hear of a home video release that anyone has characterized as "being better on DVD than Blu-ray" because the picture quality of the video elements aren't really all that good.
If there was a classic film that couldn't undergo major restorative work (for whatever reason) but was going to be released to the home audience next month, would we think it would be best to release it on DVD only because the higher resolution of Blu-ray will only serve to emphasize the film's blemishes? If the answer to that is "yes," then I think I can understand your point. But if it would be said that the Blu-ray release would still be preferred to give us the best look at this hypothetical classic whose original elements are beyond repair, I would think the same would hold true for the audio to The African Queen...or any other film for that matter.
Originally Posted by Johnny Angell
As I wrote earlier "Absolute fidelity to something created 60 years ago, fidelity that may surpass what theatrical audiences had available to them, may not always be a good idea."
You are browsing the web with a pc more powerful than the one that took the astronauts to the moon. The sound system in your car is better than what most people had in there homes only a few years ago. So has the capability home theater systems increased to replicate, not the theatrical experience, but to replicate with high fidelity what is on that blu-ray disc.
Your home theater system can more nearly duplicate how a 60 year-old movie was recorded both audio and video. Better than what audiences saw and heard in the theaters. Better than the artists who created the movie intended. Sitting there in the studio, I can imagine them listening to the sound track and thinking, "thank goodness the audience won't get to hear everything we just heard."
I don't know for a fact that I'm right, but this seems reasonable.
Point #1, Johnny. You've never seen/heard my minivan's stereo system! /img/vbsmilies/htf/laugh.gif It ain't so great...
Point #2: I definitely understand your point about the improvements in audio now from when early films were made. But those improved delivery systems don't have to mean we should "dumb down" the technological improvements we currently have available to us in order to experience the film. First, I would think any inconsistencies in the audio could be improved my modern digital processing if things were that bad. Secondly, I keep getting hung up on the fact that even if the audio elements aren't perfect, presenting them compressed isn't going to make things better than reproducing them as accurately as possible.
Let me try this scenario to explain my confusion on this. I know how sensitive HTFers are to excessive DNR in the video presentation of films for the home. I could almost imagine the disc producers using that same kind of argument as they pump the DNR level--that they might think a particular film on which they were working had a certain look to it that they, as disc producer, could improve through compression or the use of some other altering device. That this would be a good thing--when DNR is generally considered an unnecessary and, in fact, damaging technique. I would think the unnecessary (and especially intentional) compression of audio would be considered a similarly flawed idea.
Do you really want Playboy to stop using all those gauzy filters for the centerfold?/img/vbsmilies/htf/smiley_wink.gif">
Faulty analogy, Johnny. I'm not talking about changing the artist's conception...but just in how that work is received in the home. Certainly I would want my Playboy magazine to continue to be professionally printed in the best manner possible. I certainly wouldn't want the publishers to decide to use lower resolution photos to try and hide the fact that the originals may not be up to snuff.