How do movie-studios convert mono into surround?

melodram

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Hi,

I always wonder how movie-studios convert mono into surround?

If the film was made with only one mono-track, how do they create 5 channels, like in "The Exorcist"?
 

Josh Steinberg

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It depends on the film and what elements survive.

Sometimes, the studio has all of the bits of original dialogue, music and sound effects that were used to create the original mono track. In that best case scenario, they can take those original bits and build a new multichannel soundmix out of them.

If not everything survives, they use a bit of digital trickery and new effects to expand the mono as best as possible.
 
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melodram

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Thanx.

Does anybody know how it was with "The Exorcist"?

Somehow, i never get tired of movies like
"The Exorcist",
"The Omen".
 

melodram

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Or they play the film in a studio and record it new with 5 tracks/channels.

I have the Bluray and on the theatrical version, the dialogue sounds good. On the "Direcors Cut", it sounds scratchy, especially when somebody talks loud or screams. And when Regan says "Let him f*ck you", its stereo on the theatrical cut and mono on the "Direcors Cut". I wondered about that.
 
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DFurr

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Like Josh said.....it's all smoke and digital mirrors if original elements can't be found or used.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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I remember the brouhaha over the 5.1 mix for the special edition of Superman: The Movie.

When Richard Donner and Michael Thau made the special edition around the year 2000, the only thing that they could locate for sound elements was the mono stems -- one for dialog and another for music and sound effects.

For dialogue, it wasn't a problem, because the dialogue comes from a fixed point anyway. They could put the dialogue wherever they wanted in the sound field. But music and sound effects have a lot of overlapping elements that need to come from different places in the sound field.

Fortunately, they located six-track mixdowns of the musical score from Anvil Studios. So they were all set for the music, too.

But that left them without any good source for the sound effects. The decision they made was to go with all new sound effects. Some sounded very similar to the sound effects in the original mix, while others didn't sound anything like the sound effects in the original mix.

The end result was very controversial.
 
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Lord Dalek

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At least the original semi-5.1 mix of Superman is on the 4k bluray now and it sounds better than the awful 2.0 that was on the previous discs.
 

DanH1972

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Sony has software that can do a fair job of isolating and surgically excising certain sounds or even dialog out of a mixed source audio stem if that's all there is to work from. They did it for Lawrence of Arabia, Bridge on the River Kwai, and Gandhi to name a few. They could then take the newly archived separate sound elements (PCM wave files) and tag them as objects in a Dolby Atmos session, as if they were working with the original sound libraries or a more modern set of stems, and pan them around in 3D space.

Obviously, if certain tracks were damaged or missing they would have to recreate the sounds (or possibly dialog or even music scores) and use them instead. Sometimes it's not a perfect match, but it may be the difference between saving a classic film from the ravages of time or just scrapping the project altogether.
 
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rdimucci

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Does anybody know how it was with "The Exorcist"?

When THE EXORCIST was re-released to theaters in 1979, some 70mm blow-up prints were made. A multi-channel sound re-mix was done for those prints, which has been the basis for the numerous video releases since then. The analog sound was later converted to digital for the 2000 release of the "Version You've Never Seen."
 

melodram

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rdimucci said: "When THE EXORCIST was re-released to theaters in 1979, some 70mm blow-up prints were made. A multi-channel sound re-mix was done for those prints, which has been the basis for the numerous video releases since then. The analog sound was later converted to digital for the 2000 release of the "Version You've Never Seen.""


Do you know how they made this multi-channel-mix if the movie was in mono? Did they record effects and dialogue seperate during the filming in 1973 and just showed to movie in theaters in mono?
 

Mark-P

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In 1979 all the original elements for a proper re-mix would still have existed for a six year old movie. It wouldn't have been a faux remix. Those didn't actually start happening until stereo video came to be in the 1980s.
 

melodram

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I dont know why, but old movies have more atmosphere, love for details, take time to tell a story and filmed on real locations, not just blue-screen like today.

But why didnt they release it with multichannel already in 1973?
 

Mark-P

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But why didnt they release it with multichannel already in 1973?
That has to do with the demise of magnetic stereo in the late 60s to mid 70s. Magnetic striping doubled the cost of film prints and theater owners hated the maintenance that magnetic heads required as they would quickly become dirty. So stereo basically fell out of favor until Dolby introduced optical stereo.
 
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Lord Dalek

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Should be pointed out that mono was still a fairly common format well into the mid-80s (the last major studio release, Woody Allen's brief deal with Dreamworks aside, in the format was Texasville in 1990).
 

Colin Jacobson

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Why do they need to remix them to begin with?
They don't but people want to use their HT rigs to their full advantage! :unsure:

I admit I find it perplexing how many movie buffs go batcrap crazy when a movie shows up MAR but then they also get mad when some movies don't get multichannel remixes.

Though this seems to be inconsistent. People got very upset that the mono track on the new "Psycho" doesn't include the original mono, but then I see lots of complaining when reissued movies "only" have 5.1 tracks and not Atmos remixes.

Not sure why there's such dedication to OAR but less to original audio...
 

melodram

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When a movie is in mono and i listen to it with headphones, do i hear the sound on both sides?
 

Lord Dalek

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They don't but people want to use their HT rigs to their full advantage! :unsure:

I admit I find it perplexing how many movie buffs go batcrap crazy when a movie shows up MAR but then they also get mad when some movies don't get multichannel remixes.

Though this seems to be inconsistent. People got very upset that the mono track on the new "Psycho" doesn't include the original mono, but then I see lots of complaining when reissued movies "only" have 5.1 tracks and not Atmos remixes.

Not sure why there's such dedication to OAR but less to original audio...
Its always the same faces going "No Atmos No Sale!" around here I swear.
 
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