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Faulty Pitch Correction on BluRays - "Lord of the Rings" Hot Example


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#1 of 17 OFFLINE   TheHutt

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Posted June 28 2011 - 08:00 AM

Specially on German BluRays (but not only) there is an annoying trend going for some while now: specially major labels seem to be rather incompetent when converting existing foreign language dubs for BluRay.


A hot example is "The Lord of the Rings SEE" released in Germany by Warner on BluRay. The same pitch correction which played tricks on the PAL DVD releases of "The Fellowship of the Ring" now made the German release practically unwatchable.


The reason is this: when a theatrical feature is converted to PAL, it is sped up by 4% (from 24 fps to 25 fps). The audio is also sped up and sounds 4% higher (this is almost a halftone). To compensate for this "PAL Speedup" phenomenon, sometimes studios make use of pitch correction to artificially lower the pitch to its theatrical level, while remaining at 25 fps.


However, for release on BluRay, some labels notoriously take these already pitch-corrected tracks and slow them down to 23,976 fps without pitch correction, thus making the soundtrack half a tone lower than the theatrical version. Mostly it happens to foreign dubs on MGM releases who masters all their DVDs in USA and seemingly don't give a crap about the sound of foreign language dubs. While the English audio sounds fine, the German, French, Spanish, Italian etc. dubs sound too low. And they do it for years. American reviewers never take notice - and that seems to be all they care about. Other labels who do such faulty conversions are FOX (German "Kingdom of Heaven" BluRay) and Warner ("Lord of the Rings SEE")


Now Warner joined them with "The Lord of the Rings Extended Edition" - the PAL DVD audio was pitch-corrected to retain its theatrical pitch (on FOTR, the audio studio MiCasa used some faulty algorithm which introdiced heavy artifacts into the PAL soundtrack in releases all over the world). Now if Warner wanted to do it properly, they should have used German dub mixes prior to PAL conversion. However, they just converted the DVD version, not minding that it was already pitch-corrected.


Now German viewers get Shore's Oscar-winning music a halftone too low. Other regional versions might be affected, too - because the audio is mastered by MiCasa in USA for all of them.



#2 of 17 ONLINE   Cees Alons

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Posted June 28 2011 - 08:29 AM

Sloppy.


So your advice to people getting the German release on July 1st would be to listen to the English language tracks preferably, and use German subtitles rather than the German dubbed audio?



Cees



#3 of 17 OFFLINE   TheHutt

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Posted June 28 2011 - 09:59 AM


So your advice to people getting the German release on July 1st would be to listen to the English language tracks preferably, and use German subtitles rather than the German dubbed audio?

No, my advice would be for Warner to make a correct pressing.




#4 of 17 ONLINE   Cees Alons

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Posted June 28 2011 - 10:07 AM

:D Cees

#5 of 17 OFFLINE   TheHutt

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Posted June 28 2011 - 07:45 PM

The problem is not just LOTR. Movies like "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly", "Platoon", "The Pink Panther" etc. all have this problem because of the ignorance by MGM. I am in the blessed position of being able to enjoy English-language versions of the films. However, if I want to watch a movie with my parents or friends, I have to fall back on the German dub. And music by Morricone or Mancini sounds just gruesome when lowered this way.

#6 of 17 ONLINE   Cees Alons

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Posted June 28 2011 - 08:56 PM

Peter, Yes I know German viewers are mostly used to listening to dubbed films. I sometimes watch a film on ARD or ZDF and frankly, I still can't get used to the slight lip-sync problems (although they often do an awesome job) and the fact that famous actors may have different voices in different films (John Wayne: "Hände hoch, Harry!"). Years and years and years ago, I happened to be in Berlin when Fahrenheit 451 came out in Europe. I decided to go see it there and although part of the name of the film is German, one could say ( :) ), I really had to get used to the dubbed audio. We, in the Netherlands, are using sub-titles (even on say Danish or Polish films) and somehow it's much better to hear the original language coming from the mouths of the actors. The only exception being children's movies (like the Disney classics). Now I have to admit: Once Upon a Time in the West ("Spiel mir das Lied vom Tod") has problems of its own in this respect..... :) Cees

#7 of 17 OFFLINE   TheHutt

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Posted June 28 2011 - 10:39 PM

We, in the Netherlands, are using sub-titles (even on say Danish or Polish films) and somehow it's much better to hear the original language coming from the mouths of the actors. The only exception being children's movies (like the Disney classics).

Yeah, that is basically a matter of tradition. For Benelux and Scandinavian countries, it was decided at some point that it wouldn't be worth it economically to make a dub for these small countries. For Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Russia et al there is a long-going tradition of dubbing foreign films. Me personally, I prefer neither - I usually watch films in their original language with English subtitles. Some German BluRay customers are already discontent with the major's practice of making only the English audio track available in a HD sound format. I am not one of these; however, I am against the practice of releasing obviously defective products by ignorant labels (pitch correction gone astray).

Now I have to admit: Once Upon a Time in the West ("Spiel mir das Lied vom Tod") has problems of its own in this respect.....

Are you referring to the German title or to the overall liberties taken during the dubbing of OUATITW? :)

#8 of 17 ONLINE   Cees Alons

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Posted June 28 2011 - 11:04 PM

The latter. :) Re English subtitles. Especially when a rather heavy accent or simply unclear speech (certain forms of "method acting") is used, I love having subtitles in the same language on (or the track for the hearing impaired if that's the only option). Of course that's not an option (for me) with Swedish, Polish or Danish films, to mention a few.

(..........) I am against the practice of releasing obviously defective products by ignorant labels (pitch correction gone astray)

No doubt! Cees

#9 of 17 OFFLINE   TheHutt

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Posted June 28 2011 - 11:18 PM

Especially when a rather heavy accent or simply unclear speech (certain forms of "method acting") is used, I love having subtitles in the same language on (or the track for the hearing impaired if that's the only option). Of course that's not an option (for me) with Swedish, Polish or Danish films, to mention a few.

Aye, that be true. That's also my preference (and a good exercise for one's English :) ). Unfortunately, in Germany, some independent labels don't include English subs on their discs for licensing reasons.

#10 of 17 OFFLINE   Stephen Brooks

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Posted June 28 2011 - 11:50 PM

Foreign language films dubbed into English sound (and look) stupid. I imagine the reverse is true as well. Subtitles are the way to go.
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#11 of 17 OFFLINE   TheHutt

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Posted June 29 2011 - 12:02 AM

Foreign language films dubbed into English sound (and look) stupid. I imagine the reverse is true as well. Subtitles are the way to go.

Do you suggest it's a devious plot by MGM to educate foreign BluRay users in order to move them to watch the English version instead of their defective dubs? :D

#12 of 17 ONLINE   Cees Alons

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Posted June 29 2011 - 12:55 AM

That could be seen as a clever and educated plot indeed. :laugh: On a different topic (film): the best Millennium version there currently is (namely the long TV-version) can only be bought in a German language version (on Amazon.de). So, unfortunately, I have to wait until I can have a Swedish spoken version with "other" subtitles. (There's also an Italian version available on Amazon.co.uk, but on that one there's litterally nothing I can understand language-wise.) Cees

#13 of 17 OFFLINE   TheHutt

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Posted June 29 2011 - 01:15 AM

On a different topic (film): the best Millennium version there currently is (namely the long TV-version) can only be bought in a German language version

What? It was already released in the Netherlands, with Swedish audio and Dutch subs. http://www.freerecor...e-5425019005573

#14 of 17 ONLINE   Cees Alons

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Posted June 29 2011 - 01:22 AM

Wow, thanks! Looks like the complete version indeed. (And it's certainly not the 3-shorter-films-together version!) Cees

#15 of 17 OFFLINE   TheHutt

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Posted June 29 2011 - 02:16 AM

Well, the single titles are also available (labeled with "Extended Edition"), so this must be the trilogy box. Unfortunately, I don't understand Dutch; and the German box (where the painted credit sequences are cut out and Swedish audio is missing) is no alternative for me.

#16 of 17 ONLINE   Cees Alons

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Posted June 29 2011 - 02:31 AM

"I don't understand Dutch" And "Rudy Carell" recently died. :D One of the reviewers on that site says that the picture quality of the BDs is that of DVD. He says "well in any case it's on a lesser amount of discs and the DVD box is equally expensive" (there). If I'm not mistaken, a similar remark was made about the German BD box. It needs to be looked into, which I plan to do (a Free Record Shop being pretty close to my home). Cees

#17 of 17 OFFLINE   Judgment

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Posted November 19 2011 - 01:40 AM

Foreign language films dubbed into English sound (and look) stupid. I imagine the reverse is true as well. Subtitles are the way to go.

I agree. I remember seeing Der Untergang some time back. Thank xenu they only translated the title into "Downfall" and not the audio, because a dub of that would be funnier than the hitler parodies on youtube (and yes, I know they're not funny if you speak German). IMO dubs only work for animation, not live action.