Question about the soundtrack of MY FAIR LADY

Discussion in 'DVD' started by DeeF, Jun 28, 2004.

  1. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    I've bought this movie three times, first on videotape after the 94 restoration, and then on DVD in its initial incarnation, and now the 2-disk SE. I also own the soundtrack recording on SACD.

    It appears to have a very odd (to me) music soundtrack. In several places, there are two vocals, notably during the song "Show Me." One can hear a second solo voice beneath the main vocal of Marni Nixon, and the second one sometimes can be heard first (out of sync?)

    I originally thought it might be that the vocals were placed on top of an orchestral track that wasn't separated properly, so that is my question.

    After watching the DVDs (it appears on both versions), I got out the SACD, which sounds different (not better, though), but I can still hear the two vocals.

    Any explanations?
     
  2. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Normally, we'd be asking *you* for answers to questions like this. [​IMG]

    Anybody else?

    dave
     
  3. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    I know that some changes were made to the soundtrack at the time of the restoration. But it also seems to be true that additional "changes" were made to convert the original 6 channels into a 5.1 mix, for the DVD and digital products like CDs and SACDs. I just don't know how this was done.

    Is it possible that in order to get all solo voices into the center channel, a stereo soundtrack with the orchestral tracks mixed down was placed directly over another with the orchestra prominent? Then I could see some editing errors happening.

    The most prominent place is in "Show Me," where on the second chorus, the "sh" on "show" can clearly be heard twice.
     
  4. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Do you think it might be bleed through from Audrey's original session recordings that were not used for the final production?

    -dave
     
  5. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    I thought about that, but no, I think it is Marni's take, but there are two vocal channels, both with the same voice.

    But I don't know about the original recording sessions, either. Would Audrey be in the same room as the orchestra? So her vocal couldn't be totally separated? That doesn't make sense to me, since they were using 6 channels.
     
  6. Joe Caps

    Joe Caps Screenwriter

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    We need Bob Harris here. What I have heard of the raw Audrey sessions have Marni with Piano, presumably with the orchestra added later.
     
  7. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    Joe, I'd love you to listen to Show Me on the DVD and see what you hear. If it is Audrey underneath Marni, there's been some editing mistake (just on the DVD).
     
  8. Joe Caps

    Joe Caps Screenwriter

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    in my post earlier - I meant to say the tracks I listened to were Audreys, not Marnis
     
  9. Doug Bull

    Doug Bull Advanced Member

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    I have noticed on several DVDs that have a Music/Orchestra only track, that the vocalists can be heard faintly in the background.
    Could it be that a miss-matched newly formed marriage between the existing vocal track and the existing Orchestra track ( containing the faint distant vocals) is the reason for the 2 vocal images?
     
  10. Greg_M

    Greg_M Screenwriter

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    Rex Harrison's vocals also can be heard twice sort of a pre-echo effect at least on the CD. I would guess this is a bleed through problem with the original LP/CD masters.

    Marni Nixon's vocal line appears twice is during the beginning of "The Rain in Spain" Clearly a problem with the original dubbing mix.
     
  11. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    I'm just wondering if this has to do with loss of original multi-track tapes. If Audrey recorded her vocals to piano accompaniment, and the orchestra was added later in different channels, then the vocal would be completely separated from the orchestra.

    Then Marni came in, after the fact, and recorded over Audrey's vocals while watching the film, and presumably using headphones playing the orchestra channels.

    So, the vocals should be completely separated from the orchestra.

    Now, if they lost those original tapes, and wanted to do a new mix, they could have put the vocals on top of stereo masters of the entire soundtrack, and this way one might hear two vocals.
     
  12. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Sorry folks, but I haven't a clue. I'll listen the new DVD again, however.

    We did not have these problems with the mags.

    The following information pertains to elements held within the CBS or WB vaults, with the majority of all production material turned over by WB to CBS in 1970. Only odds and ends were located at Warner.

    What survived of the production were just a few of Ms. Nixon's rehersals and numberous takes of Audrey Hepburns attempts, which were cut together to create the tracks heard on the laser and DVD. There were no fully cut Hepburn tracks surviving of numbers not used in the film.

    The original mix for the film was four track magnetic stereo, but by the time that we accessed the elements, it was incomplete and what did survive did not match the six track print masters sonically. Apparently something befell some of the rolls between the time that that the film was originally released to video and 1994.

    We were forced to create the new tracks from the 70mm print master which had been used to print audio to the prints made for the initial release.

    It had a reduced high end, but did not have the problems discussed here.

    RAH
     
  13. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    Who could we contact that might know about such things?

    Maybe George Feltenstein?

    I need to put in the the videotapes from 1994 and see if I hear the same thing. It seems to me to be something that has happened at the digital stage, for DVD and CD (or SACD).
     
  14. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    We've checked our sample disc and don't hear a problem.

    RAH
     
  15. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    Yeah, it's a minor problem, not very noticeable, just something I am interested in. Actually, the information you supplied about the restoration is valuable to me, thank you very much for that.
     
  16. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    I had four friends over last night, and we listened.

    All agreed, the editing error is there. It can be heard on both DVDs, and on the VHS version from 1994.

    Whether it came from the original mix, I cannot say.

    It is in "Show Me," at the end of the first chorus when she sings "show me now," 2 distinct "shows" can indeed be heard.
     

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