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Surround Sound/5.1 on older movies converted to DVD?


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#1 of 4 Dave McQueen

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Posted November 25 2002 - 09:27 AM

Hi

Am i right in thinking that the Surround Sound(including 5.1) has only recently got Big in the last few years?

I mean that any film older than this was never intended for the surround sound experience'but in the normal cinema way up to this point.

Therefore i am wondering when i buy a DVD of an older Film that says 5.1'am i getting the exact same effects as if i had bought a Brand New Release such as Spiderman?

How are these older Movies converted to the 5.1 Process?

Thanx

#2 of 4 Arnold van Oostrum

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Posted November 25 2002 - 10:00 AM

I don't think this is the right place to ask this question, but then the administrator will probably move this to the right place.

To answer your question, yes there is a real big difference in surround sound with older and new movies. The new actionmovies use all channels with impressive quality.
The soundquality of older movies depend on the quality of the original material available and the effort the moviecompany takes to make it a perfect DVD.
Good example that can be achieved with an older movie is T2, which today has impressive sound on DVD.
If the source material on older movies is Dolby Stereo or perhaps a 70 mm - 6 track, then a good surroundsound can be made of it.
For older movies with stereo tracks, a 5.1 track can be made, with very little activety on the surrounds. Than the surrounds are used for some echo spatial effects. With older mono tracks, it's just mono and should stay that way. How an old mono track can be upgraded to 5.1, listen to Disney's Snowwhite.

#3 of 4 Arnold van Oostrum

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Posted November 25 2002 - 10:00 AM

I don't think this is the right place to ask this question, but then the administrator will probably move this to the right place.

To answer your question, yes there is a real big difference in surround sound with older and new movies. The new actionmovies use all channels with impressive quality.
The soundquality of older movies depend on the quality of the original material available and the effort the moviecompany takes to make it a perfect DVD.
Good example that can be achieved with an older movie is T2, which today has impressive sound on DVD.
If the source material on older movies is Dolby Stereo or perhaps a 70 mm - 6 track, then a good surroundsound can be made of it.
For older movies with stereo tracks, a 5.1 track can be made, with very little activety on the surrounds. Than the surrounds are used for some echo spatial effects. With older mono tracks, it's just mono and should stay that way. How an old mono track can be upgraded to 5.1, listen to Disney's Snowwhite.

#4 of 4 Bill Street

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Posted November 26 2002 - 01:40 AM

Surround Sound of some form or another has been the norm in movie production since Star Wars back in the mid seventies.

There were formats for surround before Star Wars going all the way back to Disney's Fantasia back in 1940, and also significantly with the advent of 70mm soundtrack technology in the 1950's and 60's.

These technologies were not completely backwards compatible, and it's really with the advent of Dolby Stereo (Called Dolby Surround in its first home configuration) that a cost effective and completely backwards compatible format was widely accepted by filmmakers and studios.

So, on most major releases from the mid to late seventies forward there is at least a Dolby Stereo soundtrack for DVD engineers to work with.

As Arnold mentioned above, the quality of the 5.1 mix depends on the quality of available soundtrack elements and also the extent to which sound engineers decide to "tinker" with the original mix for DVD release. Some older films, such as the original "Highlander" have special 5.1 remixes, while others just pretty much reproduce the available Dolby Stereo (Surround)mix.

As for these films sounding as good as a brand new release such as Spiderman, I really can't see that being the case. Technology has come a long way in the last few decades; new releases in Digital sound even sound better than earlier films released in Digital sound just a few years ago.

Oops, I'm rambling... anyway hope I answered your questions.

Bill S.