Natalie Portman's Voice in TPM Theatrical Trailer?

Doug_L

Stunt Coordinator
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Jun 22, 2000
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This is a technical issue. During the movie, Natalie Portman has a fairly low (deep tone) voice, either as Queen Amidala (?) or as Padme. It seems that she changes her cadence and intonation when she's playing Padme acting as the Queen, but this isn't what I'm talking about.
In the Theatrical Trailer, her voice sounds distinctly higher, not in volume level, but in tone (ie: sounds more like a young girl) than in the Movie. Yet the shots, cadence and intonation in the Trailer are identical to the Movie itself. Can anybody explain this different voice tone, from a technical perspective? I have a few hypothesis:
1) The trailer is time compressed. As such, they have sped up the vocal track, and voices sound higher. Think "The Chipmunks", but to a much, much lesser degree. It would be subtle, and any time gain would, I think, be minimal. They would be better served keeping the words at regular speed and cutting down on the pauses, or starting the voice track early (before lips move) and have it run a little long.
2) The voice track, like the film stock itself, had yet to be finalized. I'm a little shaky on this one, but it seems that trailers aren't necessarily the final color-corrected film that the final cut of the Movie gets. If (big if) this is true there may be a corollary with the sound, and the same track in it's final form could sound significantly different, and deeper. This seems unlikely, though, as Darth Maul's voice in the same Theatrical Trailer sounds identical (and just as deep and bass heavy) as the movie itself.
3) There difference lies in how my system produces DD 5.1, as the movie is, and DD 2.1, which is what I believe the Trailer is (Note: my receiver has lights that represent each audio channel received; this is what the DD 2.1 is based on.) This could be true, but the Darth Maul example (in 2 above) would seem to disprove it.
4) Lucas (or somebody else) was displeased with Portman's vocals during production, and had her loop her lines afterwards, in a controlled environment, where she (or the mixer) could emphasize the depth of her voice. Possible, but as the cadence and intonation of the line from the Trailer versus the Movie seem identical, I have some doubt.
5) This one seems the most likely to me. Lucas decided after the fact, and after the trailer had been cut, to digitally "enhance" Portman's lines to give them more gravity. The timing would be critical, as they "correction" would have to have taken place after the trailer was cut. This certainly seems possible, and kind of dovetails with (2) above, but whereas (2) would be in the normal evolution of the Movie, (5) has the hallmarks of digital tampering.
Anyway, those are my long-winded theories. If you made it this far I'd really like to hear what you think, and even better, what you know.
Thanks.
 

Alex Spindler

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I think it was 5 but I think it was also planned earlier on. It may have been to help the alternate Amidala less obvious. But I still think it was part of the plan. And she sounds great in the movie. Very regal.
 

Mark Zimmer

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Along the same lines, i know that when I saw the movie in the theatre, I was highly irritated by the horrifically bad lip synch for Jake Lloyd (none of the other actors were affected). Yet there's no sign whatsoever of the bad lip synch on the disc. Did they reloop him or digitally futz with the dialogue to make it match the lip movements?
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"This movie has warped my fragile little mind."
 

Scott Kimball

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Number 5 may be correct, but it's not at all unusual for final sound sweetening stages to take place after the trailer is cut. Virtually all dialog is enhanced these days... Sound effects have gone so far that without sweetening the dialog, voices sound weak in comparison.
-Scott
 

Kajs

Second Unit
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Kurt
Whew...thats a big analysis for such a trivial thing.
Well in the music video that came out after the trailer (but before the movie) the voice was already changed. The official statement at the time I believe was that since the production took a few years, and her voice changed over that time, that when they re-dubbed it, her voice had changed, but I think they wanted her to go lower anyway.
 

Richard Kim

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I beleive Kiera Knightly played the Queen only when Padme is with her, or when she is on the ship on Tattooine. Natalie Portman does play the Queen in certain scenes like in the beginning, when she is talking to the Trade Federation, or talking to the Senate. When Anakin tries to give the Queen a message for Padme, that's definitely Portman. Look at her reaction to Ani.
 

Beast

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Michael Cameron
The actual reason is that Natalie Portman's voice changed during filming, and they had to have her redo all her lines that were filmed before that.
The trailer used original dialogue from before her voice had changed, which is why its slightly different then in the movie. I read about this about a year or so ago in a magazine and on-line about the making of E1, though I don't recall which one it was.
So, thats all it is, just Lucas using audio elements from before they re-recorded her voice. Hope that answers your questions.

MTFBWY and HH!!
Mike Cameron
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I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion, and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.
[Edited last by Mike Cameron on October 24, 2001 at 12:06 PM]
 

Dan Brecher

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quote: Well in the music video that came out after the trailer (but before the movie) the voice was already changed.[/quote]
Indeed, it caused a lot of talk amongst at the time, people wondering why and how it was changed which caused Force.net to put the question to those who know, and the response in May of 99 was in fact:
"The Queen's voice was lowered using a device called harmonizer to better distinguish between her and Padme. Nothing was re-recorded, but the Queen's lines were changed using this device. The droids' voices were also changed- originally they were almost human, now they are heavily modulated,almost beyond comprehension."
So, no, it was not her voice changing or sickness during the filming that made it deeper as many have been writing in.
If it IS true that they had her go through ADR for all her dialogue because her voice changed natauraly, then her voice in the trailers when she speaks as Padme ("are you sure about this, trusting our fate to a boy we hardly know".....etc) would be different since the Tatooine scenes and location footage were shot early on into principal photography. Watch The Beginning documentary too, her natural voice on location and on set in London is no different as it ends up in the final cut of the movie when she's not speaking as the Queen.
Dan (UK)
PS: Moving this thread to "Movies"
[Edited last by Dan Brecher on October 24, 2001 at 12:56 PM]
 

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