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I am really getting tired for stereo films now becoming mono films on Blu Ray. Just received LINK, which I had previously on DVD, which was stereo, but this new release is mono. I think Kino Lorber needs to find out what format (sound) the film was made and make sure they have the correct elements before pressing the Blu Ray. For sound, at least for catalog titles, the trend has been going down hill for some time now. We used to get 5.1 sound even for 4 track films, with the mono surrounds, then it seems to be 2 track stereo, which could provide a matrixed 4 track sound if done correctly. Now, most sound is relegated to 2 track dual mono or if we are lucky, 2 track stereo… depending on the source. They need to research, if available, a previous release (DVD) of a film they are remastering to make sure the studio provides them with the proper track. From now on, I will not preorder a known stereo film until I read a review. Of course many films from the 50s are missing their original stereo, which I can understand, but Dolby surround is built into the soundtrack and really should not be this big of a problem.

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Thomas T

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Kino, as with most boutique labels that license product from studios, is at the mercy of what is presented to them by the studios. While understandably, most labels are concerned about the quality of the film's visual transfer rather than the mono/stereo question, I don't think it's their responsibility to track down whether the product they're given was originally released in mono or stereo and then demand the studio remedy the situation if possible. If a film had a stereo track when originally released, of course, it would be ideal to have that replicated in its physical media presentation.

But if the only way I'm going to get, say, The Best Things In Life Are Free (1956) on blu ray is with mono sound rather than its original 4 track stereo presentation (or even reduced to a 2 track stereo situation), I'm certainly not going to boycott it. I'll take the mono sound rather than boycotting it. But hey, that's just me, to each his own.
 

Lord Dalek

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Was Link originally in stereo? There's no advertising of Dolby on the poster at all.
 

Jesse Skeen

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Olive has done this several times also. I can spot the problem within the first few seconds, anyone who works in mastering these ought to also and not proceed until it’s corrected. We’re not talking old films with “lost” elements either, these are ones that have been in stereo since their first VHS releases! I’m still blown away that “Camp Nowhere” (1994) has been issued TWICE (once from Mill Creek and then from Kino) in mono when the laserdisc and VHS were always stereo!
 
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moovtune

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"Celtic Pride" had a 5.1 mix and was released as two track mono on blu-ray. I sent my copy back. I won't buy anything anymore that doesn't have the original sound layout. I even have questions about original 5.1 titles that now have Atmos mixes on UHD. In almost all cases I believe it's a software derived upmix. I don't mind that as much, but I can do that myself quite effectively from the 5.1 mix using DTS Neural upmix on my Prepro.
 

Vincent_P

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Other small companies have gone out of their way to restore original stereo tracks even when the licencors didn't supply them. Specifically, Synapse Films tracked down the original Dolby Stereo soundtracks for both DEMONS and DEMONS 2 even though the Italian licensors didn't have the elements, and they did a full-on top-to-bottom restoration of the original 4.0 English stereo track for SUSPIRIA- again, on their own tracking down the original 35mm mag stems with no help from the licencors.

Vincent
 
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Vincent_P

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Shout Factory also tracked down stereo elements for THE MANITOU recently, again on their own without them being supplied by the licencors.

Vincent
 
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Malcolm R

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I imagine there is probably some cost-benefit analysis on each title. The titles mentioned above like Demons and The Manitou are genre horror titles and likely sell more copies than a drama. If they think they can spend money to track down and restore soundtracks and such and still make a profit based on copies sold, they may do so. But if they're not expecting big sales, the cost effective choice would be just to go with what is provided.
 

Josh Steinberg

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I imagine there is probably some cost-benefit analysis on each title.
I agree. I think that sometimes gets lost in the discussion. I think what also can be difficult to understand at first is that many of these titles will not sell in any significant quantity; we're talking not even thousands of units but maybe only hundreds, or less. And a label like Kino might need to agree to release a set of 100 titles as part of a deal, rather than just being able to pick and choose individual titles. So when you're in their shoes and faced with being contractually obligated to release dozens and/or hundreds of titles that may not sell, there's probably just limits to how much work they can put into each title. Even the process of tracking down what was previously released and available can become too much to handle if there are large numbers of titles being released, but handled by a small group with limited resources.

I totally get the frustration, but I think it sometimes get lost that the choice a label like Kino might face is not "put it out in mono or try to find the stereo" but "we're contractually obligated to release this and don't expect it to turn a profit and we can't throw more good money after bad" or "it's the choice between putting out this or nothing at all."
 

Douglas R

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I agree. I think that sometimes gets lost in the discussion. I think what also can be difficult to understand at first is that many of these titles will not sell in any significant quantity; we're talking not even thousands of units but maybe only hundreds, or less. And a label like Kino might need to agree to release a set of 100 titles as part of a deal, rather than just being able to pick and choose individual titles. So when you're in their shoes and faced with being contractually obligated to release dozens and/or hundreds of titles that may not sell, there's probably just limits to how much work they can put into each title. Even the process of tracking down what was previously released and available can become too much to handle if there are large numbers of titles being released, but handled by a small group with limited resources.

I totally get the frustration, but I think it sometimes get lost that the choice a label like Kino might face is not "put it out in mono or try to find the stereo" but "we're contractually obligated to release this and don't expect it to turn a profit and we can't throw more good money after bad" or "it's the choice between putting out this or nothing at all."
No one is expecting licensees such as Kino to do a massive amount of work or expenditure on ensuring that original stereo tracks are used. This is a matter for the studio. All Kino (for example) has to do is point out that there was a previous stereo release so why is this master in mono? Too often there seem to be mistakes or lack of knowledge or plain laziness within certain studios or rights owners who don't do sufficient research.
 

Vincent_P

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Every previous release of this has had the Dolby Stereo soundtrack so I'm sorry but there's simply no excuse for this. It's ridiculous to keep giving labels passes for releasing defective product (and yes, having a mono soundtrack for a film that should be Dolby Stereo, especially when every previous home video release had the correct stereo soundtrack, is a defect). They spent money on extras, there's no reason they couldn't have made sure the sound was correct.

Vincent
 
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mark brown

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What deficiencies in the release are the consumer willing to put up with? At some point, Taras Bulba, for example, I decided it is just not worth it!
 
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