THE GIFT -- A late realization about the sound mix.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jeremy Anderson, Sep 6, 2001.

  1. Jeremy Anderson

    Jeremy Anderson Screenwriter

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    I know this movie has been out for a while, but I popped in Sam Raimi's THE GIFT tonight and realized something -- this disc has one of the best damn mixes I've heard on any DVD ever. I think perhaps I didn't notice it before because I've only ever watched it with other people around... but sitting in my living room with no one to disturb me, I was blown away by the subtlety and power of the sound mix.
    The front soundstage is impressive, especially in one scene where the camera changes repeatedly from Cate Blanchett's face to a leaking sink and the dripping water hovers smoothly back and forth between the left and center channels. Most impressive to me, however, was the use of the surrounds. Surround activity is near-constant, but is restrained enough so that it doesn't draw your attention. I was particularly drawn in by the ambient sounds of crickets and birds that permeate the movie, all of which seemed to be placed effectively between channels. In the film's premonition scenes, surround usage is quick and loud, and I think far more effectively played for scares than the over-done aural jolts of Zemeckis' What Lies Beneath.
    Nevermind the fact that it's a brilliant film... but wow, what an incredible and effective DD track. I can only wonder what a full bitrate DTS version of this would bring out in the way of transparency.
     
  2. Dwayne

    Dwayne Supporting Actor

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    Haven't had a chance to check out The Gift yet. I really do admire Blanchett (I still think she got robbed by Paltrow).
    Mixes certainly do not have to be over-powering to be effective. If you haven't done so already, I would recommend The Red Violin in DTS. Truly a great sounding (and just plain great) film.
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  3. chris c

    chris c Stunt Coordinator

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    I agree, the sound mix is exemplary. Fidelity is excellent. All around great disc. Movie is good too, featuring what is certainly Keanu Reeves' best (only?) performance.
     
  4. MikeEckman

    MikeEckman Screenwriter

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    There actually is a DTS version of the Gift out in Region 3 I think. You can get it from www.dddhouse.com in the Western Movies section (its Western, as in movies from the west of China, not Western like John Wayne movies). Im not sure if its full or half bit though.
    But let me take this opportunity to rave about the Gift. Not everyone loved it quite as much as I did, but I havent found anyone who hasnt liked it at all.
     
  5. Oswald Pascual

    Oswald Pascual Second Unit

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    Have you heard the sound in "Cookies Fortune"? It has one of the best use of surround sound I have ever heard. This is a non-action movie and the sound is used very cleverly! I also agree with you on "The Gift" but just wanted to point you to some other DVD's with incredible sound mixes that are not in your face.
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  6. Karl Englebright

    Karl Englebright Stunt Coordinator

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    I don't know about anybody else, but I was awed by Cate Blanchet's ability to make her Southern accent totally believable, especially being a British actress.
    I was also really impressed by the realism showed by this movie's sets, which came through in the DVD transfer very well. I could almost smell the mustiness in her house!
    This will be my next DVD purchase.
     
  7. Yumbo

    Yumbo Cinematographer

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    um,
    Cate (lovely as she is) is Australian mate. She just doesn't flaunt it as Nicole does.
    So is Toni Collette.
    The guys include Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce...awww you get the drift.
    that's as fair dinkum as they go.
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    Yumbo - IMDVD
     
  8. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    Oswald is so on-the-money with COOKIE'S FORTUNE. It's an extraordinary mix (Altman's always been a pioneer in soundtracking).
    I think DVD and home theater, generally, has skewed the appreciation of soundmixes such that only the noisiest, most distracting, most aggressive ones are considered top-notch "reference" mixes. And if it's not popping out of at least 6 channels, then it can only be described as "unremarkable".
    But a soundmix must serve the film. A bombastic, aggressive one certainly isn't a good choice for everything. And the subtle mixes, the ones that brings you into the film without drawing attention to themselves and distracting you from the film, too often tend to get overlooked or underrated.
     
  9. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    The Gift does have a wonderful audio mix that's very effective in the suspense sequences without being very flashy. Another such is Fox's Midsummer Night's Dream (if you can disregard Calista Flockhart); the ambience in the forest scenes makes you feel deep in the woods yourself. Very well done, and no explosions whatsoever.
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    "This movie has warped my fragile little mind."
     

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