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5.1+remix soundtracks on films first released on older media in stereo


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#1 of 5 Michael Rogers

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Posted March 08 2011 - 05:20 PM

Back in the caveman days of high school I so loved movies that I worked to get the only movie delivery device within striking distance: the RCA Selectavision CED player It introduced me to stereo sound in movies and began questions when some of those CED discs were marked with "This videodisc contains a matrixed surround track" And through the videophiles magazines of the time, I learned about basic Dolby Stereo with it's surround channel derived from an Left minus right circuit and delay processing (only the theaters had the more sophisticated steering logic circuitry back then), So I got the surround processing kits in the back of those video magazines broke out an old amp and speakers and got my first primitive surround system circa 1982. I went on to enjoy many stereo CED discs like Star Trek 2 and 3, Ghostbusters, 48 hrs, Beverly Hills Cop on my hand me down (about) 15 inch color TV (until I saved up for a RCA 25 inch monitor/TV). Now granted those surround stereo sound was far from perfect but I got it close (tweaking the sound of Star Trek 3 to match my many theatrical viewings of it) Key things I remember from Trek 3's soundtrack in the theater was basically duplicatable on that CED disc. But for the life of me I can't get the blu ray soundtrack to sound how I remember it. Even some intercom voiceovers in the scene where Kirk is discussing taking the Enterprise to Genesis in the officer's lounge are submerged and nearly inaudible (when formally they were loud and clear in the rear). 48 Hrs is a bit better bit lacks the surround punch I remember from then CED ( and it is better heard in 2 channel down mix instead of 5.1) Ghostbusters lacks so many directional sounds I remember on the CED. For instance, when Dana tosses Venkman out of her apartment when they first meet and Louis comes out the door when Dana's door opens you could hear the doors on the left and right (where they were on the screen) on the blu ray (and I believe on the DVD) they are in then center channel. It always bugs me because it's not how I remember it. I used to watch many of these movies so much in my misspent youth that I remember several details that are off. Star Trek 2 and The Thing fare a bit better. For the most part they line up well with what I remember, although there are differences. It makes me wonder if modern technicians that do the remix beginning with the basic music, effects and dialog tracks never listen to the original Dolby Stereo mix and assume that those old movies couldn't have much of a nimble soundtrack.

#2 of 5 Douglas Monce

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Posted March 08 2011 - 09:43 PM

One thing to remember about early matrixed stereo in movie theaters, is that what audiences heard in the theater, was rarely what the filmmakers heard when mixing the movies. Theaters were often setup incorrectly or were allowed to fall out of calibration. There for your own tweaking  to get it to sound like what you heard in the theater, was likely emphasizing things that were never intended to be.


This is one reason that THX was created in 1983. It was intended to address the inconsistent audio presentations, and try and get the films to sound like they did in the mixing theater.


This is not to say that a 5.1 mix from elements that came originally from a matrixed sound track are going to sound identical to that original. They probably won't. In some cases there maybe the opportunity to create a mix that is more subtle than was possible in say 1981.  I realize that subtle is not a concept that is widely understood in today’s film sound, but now and then you can find it.


Another thing to remember is that most of these 5.1 mixes are more than likely based on the 70mm 6 track blow ups that most of these big films in the 80s had, rather than the Dolby Stereo mix.


Doug


"I'm in great shape, for the shape I'm in."
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#3 of 5 Neil S. Bulk

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Posted March 09 2011 - 05:05 AM

I seem to recall the audio on the Trek II CED being out of phase.



#4 of 5 GregK

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Posted March 10 2011 - 06:31 AM

It's been awhile, but didn't the intial STAR-TREK DVD releases have a DD 2.0 Surround track sourced from the 35mm Dolby Stereo mix, while the DD 5.1 mixes were based on the 70mm mixes?


On a sidenote, I recently picked up ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK on Bluray, and was pleased to find out the 2.0 track was the original Dolby Stereo mix and not a simple downmix of the new 5.1 track.  (Lazy downmixes are sadly not a rare thing, vs being a truely separate mix)  The original mix retains the original sound effects and occasional directional dialog.



#5 of 5 Michael Rogers

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Posted March 10 2011 - 06:55 AM

I think I have that DVD (more than one DVD release) so I have to check that out.

It's been awhile, but didn't the intial STAR-TREK DVD releases have a DD 2.0 Surround track sourced from the 35mm Dolby Stereo mix, while the DD 5.1 mixes were based on the 70mm mixes?


On a sidenote, I recently picked up ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK on Bluray, and was pleased to find out the 2.0 track was the original Dolby Stereo mix and not a simple downmix of the new 5.1 track.  (Lazy downmixes are sadly not a rare thing, vs being a truely separate mix)  The original mix retains the original sound effects and occasional directional dialog.






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