A really dumb question about commentary tracks.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Greg_S_H, Nov 13, 2001.

  1. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    I don't have a home theater, so I just use the TV's speakers. When I listen to a commentary track, the movie is generally silent and all I hear is the director or whomever is doing the commentary. Is that how it is for everybody, or do people with a 5.1 setup hear the movie as normal, with just the addition of the commentary partipants?
     
  2. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    Typically, the commentary track is in Dobly Pro-Logic. So the short answer is it's usually in stereo, so we hear what you do.
     
  3. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Commentaries are usually in 2.0 0r 1.0
    I would like to see, however, a commentary that uses a speaker for each commentary member.
    For example...Monty Python and the Holy Grail:
    Terry Gilliam in the center, Terry Jones in front right, John Cleese in front left, Michael Palin in rear left, and Eric Idle in rear right.
     
  4. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    Thanks, Alex. I don't feel so bad now. [​IMG]
     
  5. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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  6. AndrewR

    AndrewR Stunt Coordinator

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    Do Actors/Directors/Etc get paid to do commentaries?
    Andrew
     
  7. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    Now that you mention it, I think the commentary tracks I've listened to have had the movie's volume real low. In fact, I think that's what lead me to believe that it might sound normal on a better system.
     
  8. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    The soundtrack is generally turned way down low, which it has to be, or you wouldn't be able to listen to the commentary and it would be distracting as hell trying to hear both at the same time. Sometimes it is a little frustrating, when the track refers to a sound cue or a line of dialogue that you can't really hear. (This is one reason I generally turn subtitles ON when I watch a commentary track, unless I'm viewing a film like The Princess Bride which I almost know by heart.)
    Regards,
    Joe
     
  9. Derek Miner

    Derek Miner Screenwriter

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    Some commentaries have panned participants between the speakers (albeit in Pro-Logic only). Sometimes this is useful, but I often find it distracting. Examples that pop into mind are Contact and Goonies.
    ------------------
    = Derek =
     
  10. rutger_s

    rutger_s Supporting Actor

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  11. TheoGB

    TheoGB Screenwriter

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    The Wall also does a stereo commentary. In fact I think they're all usually stereo but when there's only one person doing it there's not a lot of panning that can take place, of course.
    I have found that most commentaries only lower the movie volume when the commentators are speaking, raising it again so that if they mention a cue it can be heard straight after. The best one is the fourth Seven commentary where the backing track is only sound effects and they talk about the bits.
    What I really hate is stuff like Buffy Season 1's commentary where whenever Joss stops speaking the episode volume comes in incredibly loud and you have to keep turning it down. This should really be dealt with by the studios and usually seems to be down to not boosting the volume of the commentator enough.
    ------------------
    My band is @ http://www.mokita.net
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  12. Kolya

    Kolya Stunt Coordinator

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  13. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    Couldn't you just see them having the first 5.1 commentary and having an overzealous sound engineer doing all kinds of gimmicky effects. Like having the commentary circle around you when the director gets really excited about a scene and kicking in the sub when the director imitates the "Vroom Vroom" of a car driving. [​IMG]
     
  14. LukeB

    LukeB Cinematographer

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    I got a dumb question about commentaries - when the filmmakers are watching the movie, do they not hear the movie or something? Do they just have subtitles on, or do the studios use technology that will be able to only record their voices and not the movie? I know for some movies at least it's pretty clear that they are not hearing the movie sound (Ghostbusters for example), but others it would appear that they are hearing the movie. How is this typically done? With headphones? I've been wondering.
     
  15. Sean Cauley

    Sean Cauley Stunt Coordinator

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    Generally, it's headphones, I think. On a couple of the discs where there's video of the commentary recording (Mallrats, The Goonies, etc.), the participants are wearing headphones most of the time. Of course, they seem like good studio headphones and not some little open-air Walkman-type thing, so I'm not sure how clearly the participants hear each other. I guess they could be getting the feed from the recording session in the phones as well, but then that would compete with the movie audio, wouldn't it?
    I guess in offering an answer I only succeeded in confusing myself further.
     
  16. Steve_Ch

    Steve_Ch Supporting Actor

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    I am guessing that some kind of headphone was involved. WIth some commentary, Ridley Scott on the original Alien came to mind, there were such detail and precise discussion on the sound and its timing that it would be hard to beleive that was all done by memory.
     
  17. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    I think Criterion's Robocop laserdisc was the first stereo commentary. IIRC, the first two that I really noticed were dedicating channels to speakers were the Austin Powers DVD and the My Fair Lady DVD.
    Regards,
    ------------------
    Ken McAlinden
    Livonia, MI USA
     

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