Burnt Audio Becoming More Prevalent

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Rutgar, Jan 14, 2005.

  1. Rutgar

    Rutgar Second Unit

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    For those that have done any recording in their lives, you will know what I mean when I say the audio is "burnt". It's a slang term used when the input level of a recording is set too high, thus you get a little "break-up" of the audio in the upper frequencies on playback.

    I have three DVD TV series that this is a problem. The first time I noticed it was on "Firefly". All through the series, I would occasionally hear "burnt" audio mainly in the center channel. To make sure it wasn't a problem with my system, I took the disk over to my neighbor's house, and we listened to it on his system. It did the same thing, at the same spots. Of course, after he got a glimps of "Firefly", I didn't get my disks back for a month (He insisted on borrowing it, so he could watch it). But, I digress.

    Back to the topic, I've recently had the same problem showing up on Voyager, Season's 6 & 7. And now, on Season 3 of "24". I don't know if the quality control is starting to go to crap, or if someone's not paying attention to the record levels, or what. But, since it's seems to becoming more and more prevalent, I thought I post and see if anyone else has noticed this.
     
  2. Mitch Stevens

    Mitch Stevens Supporting Actor

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    I have most definitely noticed this more and more. At first I thought that my speakers couldn't handle the higher freqencies, but even at extremely low volumes (ie you have to put your ears to the speaker just to hear it) this break-up in the higher frequencies is still there.

    I haven't noticed it in as many TV shows, as I have in movies. More and more movies have "burnt" audio (a term that I was not aware of).
     
  3. Rutgar

    Rutgar Second Unit

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    What movies have you noticed it on?
     
  4. Mitch Stevens

    Mitch Stevens Supporting Actor

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    I can't come up with a list, on the fly, but I certainly do remember burnt audio on the first Charlie's Angels movie. The scene in which the asian chick was in that black leather outfit, cracking the whip, and yelling at those employees. I know this is only one of many DVDs, in which I've noticed burnt audio. I don't exactly write every movie down, that I notice this in, but I have been noticing this a lot, lately. Even brand new titles have burnt audio.
     
  5. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Although i've been in recording for years, I have never heard distorted/overmoduated signal referred to a "burnt" -- I think I'll have to start using that one.

    This is an old problem that some folks here on HTF have complained about on dvd for years. Sometimes signal gets overloaded, both in TV production and Feature Film. There are some tools you can use in post to subdue it a bit- but nothing will fix it.

    The problem is that distortion can happen at any stage in the process, at any point in the signal chain. On many productions that use a boom mic, back in the days of 2 channel recorders the second channel would be a split of the first, only 10db down. This solved some problems with loud passages, but not all.

    Also, I have sometimes seen the MIC itself distorting - when a production mixer chooses some more sensitive condensers or even an occasional ribbon mic-- a loud passage can actually overload the microphone itself--- and then even a 10db down version would have the same problem.

    Also, realize that audio is the redheaded step child with most directors. I have seen countless times where a production mixer alerts a dir/assist dir to problems with the audio for a take, only to be told "we'll fix it in post." If you have experience in music recording, you might remember how many bad bands respond to performance mistakes by saying "we'll fix it in the mix."

    I don't think you could say it's a lack of "quality control" in that it's not like a bad batch of discs (although there have been SEVERAL "distorted" audio passages that people have posted about here that when ripped from the disc directly is clean as a whistle and the distortion likely came shitty headroom on the D/A converters in cheap receivers)--- it's just something that happens sometimes in the chaos of film and TV production.

    -V
     
  6. Rutgar

    Rutgar Second Unit

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    Too many times! At one place, the engineer had a sign on his console that said, "Don't worry, It will all come out in the Mix." Of coarse, it never did.
     

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