Films (Almost Entirely Surround)

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4-earredwonder

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Nice! I found the director's previous flick, The VVitch, to be a bit average and so didn't have super high expectations for The Lighthouse. The first time I saw The Lighthouse, I thought it was OK but as with many flicks that turn out to be a favourite, it got its hook in me and so I picked up the BD. Enjoyed it a lot more the second time and I'm already looking forward to watching it again. Hope you like it!
I had the exact opposite reaction, Tim. Tried to like the Lighthouse but found it ultimately depressing despite the fantastic acting chops of both Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson although the production values were astounding! OTOH, I bought the UHD4K disc of the WITCH and found it compelling on every level.

 
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timothyemerson

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I had the exact opposite reaction, Tim. Tried to like the Lighthouse but found it ultimately depressing despite the fantastic acting chops of both Willem Defoe and Robert Pattison although the production values were astounding! OTOH, I bought the UHD4K disc of the WITCH and found it compelling on every level.
Dang it, might have to give The Witch another try at some stage. Didn't know it had a 4K release either - thanks for the heads-up!
 

4-earredwonder

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Dang it, might have to give The Witch another try at some stage. Didn't know it had a 4K release either - thanks for the heads-up!
May also have to revisit THE LIGHTHOUSE again TIM as during these quarantine Covid times, it was depressingly dark and dreary. BTW, I paid $10 for a brand spanking new UHD4K disc of THE WITCH and it was, IMO, heads and heels better than the 1080 broadcast on cable....and thus, IMO, MORE INVOLVING!
 
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timothyemerson

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Just so I'm clear; given that mono is mono and stereo will be listened to in some sort of faux surround courtesy of the receiver, this is the thread where I mention:

1. Any weird audio anomalies like how my Marantz SR7013 mysteriously sometimes processes dual mono audio as a faux surround mix that actually sounds quite good and without me having to press any buttons on the remote (how does it know to do that without me telling it?)
2. Picture quality
3. How great and traffic-stopping stunning Olivia de Havilland and Lee Remick look in it
4. Anything else I find worthy of brief note (e.g., "I'd never heard of this movie until now", cheap deals, etc)

Is that right?
 

MagnumX

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You don't have to listen to stereo (let alone dual mono) in "faux" surround. I usually use stereo mode on my 7012 for stereo music. I typically use the surround upmixers for movies rather than music save some electronica stuff like Yello or Delerium. I'm actually looking to try those out with an Involve Audio processor (just waiting for V3 to be released).
 

timothyemerson

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You don't have to listen to stereo (let alone dual mono) in "faux" surround. I usually use stereo mode on my 7012 for stereo music. I typically use the surround upmixers for movies rather than music save some electronica stuff like Yello or Delerium. I'm actually looking to try those out with an Involve Audio processor (just waiting for V3 to be released).
Same here: Stereo music in stereo. Mono/stereo movies with some sort of upmix (e.g., DTS Virtual) to centre the audio in the centre channel. Sometimes I've listened to a stereo movie in stereo and at the end of it thought, "Gee, that sounded weird", then noticed that I hadn't engaged an upmix. Duh!
 

4-earredwonder

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Another case in point: I try to make it a point before purchasing any movies to read as many reviews as is practical. I just purchased this British film from Kino Lorber expecting a DOUBLE MONO soundtrack but when I inserted it into my OPPO 205 and the film commenced, 5.1 via Dolby Surround and the strangest anomaly: Blu Ray.com's review pointed out that when the film was released to theaters in 1988, it indeed was DOLBY STEREO. From blu~ray.com's audio review of A Summer Story:

In a very perplexing decision, Scorpion has encoded only a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Dual Mono mix (2007 kbps, 24-bit). The film apparently did receive a stereo mix for cinema exhibition back in '88 and Scorpion's DVD was even rendered in Dolby Stereo. I had to turn the volume up on my Onkyo to a very loud pitch in order to hear the British dialogue clearly, even in more confined settings like the Narracombe's house interiors. Scorpion doesn't even include any subtitles or captions



And most importantly, unlike Blu.Ray.com's assessment of the soundtrack, I had NO problem clearly hearing the British dialogue at a moderate volume which leads me to believe: Does this reviewer have EAR WAX?
 
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MagnumX

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I find too many sites heap praise (more or less) on too many relatively bad movie soundtracks including newer Atmos ones that don't do hardly anything with Atmos at all (some might as well have just been stereo like Knives Out from 2019 that had one big momentary overhead moment and hardly any surround usage at all most of the time).

I've concluded it comes down to advertising dollars. Advertisers don't support sites that bash their products. Unfortunately, for consumers this leads to poor reviews.

I've had reviewers get angry with me for pointing out the obvious before. If THAT is a 4.5/5 star soundtrack, then what is an example of a two or even three star soundtrack? I can't really find any at all on Bluray.com, just endless praise for everyone in the "pro" reviews while users slam movies for even offering streaming and for remixing for Atmos or even 5.1 if it was originally 2.0 (even if the original sound engineer wants or does the remix).

Yet the same people often have NO ISSUE with offering a movie in HDR or 4K resolutions when they weren't shown that way in theaters (i.e. A study showed typical 3rd gen film reels used in theaters were typically 720p equivalent or LESS in actual usable resolution. 70mm made from 35mm masters were typically about 1080p resolution equivalent. Other than possibly true 70mm films or Imax (which wasn't typically used for Hollywood films back then) , there was no such thing as usable 4K equivalence in theaters with film. So do extremists want what was actually exhibited at theaters or do they want the best possible they can make FROM the masters?

Sadly, people are often all over the place on these things. Many love film grain, for example, even though it's actually a form of noise (pigments in the film substrate don't fully change color), because they think it is the picture itself, even though a simple demonstration of a film of a still picture scene proves otherwise (i.e. The grain changes frame to frame even as the picture does not). What bothers me is people get angry when you simply point out the truth/facts of the matter. I'm stupid for not minding mild grain reduction when it doesn't harm the picture, for example.

The great thing about Bluray is that there's typically plenty of room to include multiple soundtracks so you could have mono, stereo, 70mm and a newer Atmos/X version all on the same disc and try them all out and play what you like best (I'd love to even have some of the censored soundtracks made for TV included for something like Back To The Future because it was funnier than the original (e.g. Geeze Louise, Doc, you disintegrated Einstein).

Sadly, this type of usage rarely happens either. Instead, you often get three or four foreign language dubs instead where subtitles would have been fine or even preferred.

We are also seeing a lot color changes happening for some odd reason (e.g. Cyan and blue tints showing up in movies mastered with incandescent lighting that were shown with orange/yellow tints for the past 20-50+ years.)
 
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4-earredwonder

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What I do look for when investing in UHD4K movies is NATIVE UHD4K, HDR10 and Dolby Vision but MOST especially 4K or 8K remastered from the original camera negative. Although not always feasible, UPSCALED UHD4K discs sometimes barely exceed the resolution of 2K BD~Vs save for either HDR and/or Dolby vision applications which can decidely make them appear slightly better than 1080p.

As for soundtracks, I am NOT equipped with Dolby Atmos but understand Magnum's concerns that the DOLBY ATMOS moniker doesn't always ensure an effusion of sound from overhead speakers.

But I will steadfastly adhere to my previous statement that just because a soundtrack is touted as 5.1 surround ....... in far too many instances, what comes out of the rear speakers is minimal and disappointing at best and by sometimes reverting to 2.0 and engaging Dolby Pro Logic, you will elicit a far better front/rear soundscape than you'd receive from the included 5.1 codec .... and this especially ports over to Concerts in surround which disappointingly only include ambience/audience applause in the rear channels.
 

timothyemerson

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But I will steadfastly adhere to my previous statement that just because a soundtrack is touted as 5.1 surround ....... in far too many instances, what comes out of the rear speakers is minimal and disappointing at best and by sometimes reverting to 2.0 and engaging Dolby Pro Logic, you will elicit a far better front/rear soundscape than you'd receive from the included 5.1 codec .... and this especially ports over to Concerts in surround which disappointingly only include ambience/audience applause in the rear channels.
I've been meaning to try the upconvert-the-2.0-when-the-5.1-might-as-well-be-stereo but always forget. I must try and remember next time I'm listening to a dud 5.1 mix (which probably won't be far away seeing as how there are so many of them).
 

4-earredwonder

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I've been meaning to try the upconvert-the-2.0-when-the-5.1-might-as-well-be-stereo but always forget. I must try and remember next time I'm listening to a dud 5.1 mix (which probably won't be far away seeing as how there are so many of them).
You have to first choose 2.0 from the main menu, Tim....then employ Dolby Pro Logic or whatever sounds best. Or just switch to 2.0 from your player's remote. You'd really be shocked how many soundtracks DO sound better in 2.0 because of inept 5.1 remixes!
 
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Wunlow

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Through the 3-D Film Archive releases we have released a number of titles with 3.0 sound and it is fascinating how some consumer systems (or how the consumer sets said system up) will inadvertently alter the sound from its original intent. Feed audio through your tv then to your receiver or soundbar etc, and if settings aren't correct, it can be easy for a discrete signal to inadvertently become a 2 channel downmix, only to be upmixed back to 3, 4 or more channels by the surround receiver / processor. Other times it may be a given piece of hardware or HDMI chipset has been tested with 5.1, L/C/R/S 4.0, 2.0, and possibly 1.0 but not so much for the less common variants such as 3.0, the 4.0 quad music configuration or 1.1 Sensurround. Likely why Universal encoded their Sensurround bluray's as 5.1 encoded with three silent channels, while their earlier Sensurround DVDs done roughly a decade earlier were DD 1.1 encodings.

But back to to inadvertent downmixes in the process, we've seen a number of reviews where hard coded 3.0 content was listed as having surround information, a clear indicator it had been downmixed then upmixed. Some occasional interesting results can occur due to the matrix magic surround effect, but certainly not correct, and no longer discrete.
 

MagnumX

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Through the 3-D Film Archive releases we have released a number of titles with 3.0 sound and it is fascinating how some consumer systems (or how the consumer sets said system up) will inadvertently alter the sound from its original intent. Feed audio through your tv then to your receiver or soundbar etc, and if settings aren't correct, it can be easy for a discrete signal to inadvertently become a 2 channel downmix, only to be upmixed back to 3, 4 or more channels by the surround receiver / processor. Other times it may be a given piece of hardware or HDMI chipset has been tested with 5.1, L/C/R/S 4.0, 2.0, and possibly 1.0 but not so much for the less common variants such as 3.0, the 4.0 quad music configuration or 1.1 Sensurround. Likely why Universal encoded their Sensurround bluray's as 5.1 encoded with three silent channels, while their earlier Sensurround DVDs done roughly a decade earlier were DD 1.1 encodings.

But back to to inadvertent downmixes in the process, we've seen a number of reviews where hard coded 3.0 content was listed as having surround information, a clear indicator it had been downmixed then upmixed. Some occasional interesting results can occur due to the matrix magic surround effect, but certainly not correct, and no longer discrete.
I'd hesitate to use the word "intend" on a 1960s soundtrack. There were no Dolby decoders, let alone a modern upmixer to consider, let alone intend to use or not use.
I'm not real big on intentions as a result and I personally care more about my experience and preferences more than someone's intended meaning, feeling, etc. Who is to say if crying or laughing or even anger is "appropriate" reading a poem, for example. The poet might intend one thing, but art takes on a life of its own in the eye of the beholder and who am I as a musician, for example, to tell someone they missed the point if they got more out of it than I did myself?

On technical level, a typical surround decoder is moving out of phase material to surround speakers rather than letting the speakers + room result in whatever effect it might produce. Many stereo albums I have produce sounds in my theater room that end up well into the room and even at 90 degrees to my sides and can be difficult to tell from a surround decoded version except in that only the central seats achieve this effect while a surround decoder can give a similar effect for off-axis seats as well.

Thus, who is to say if the effect is proper or improper with or without a decoder if the effect changes depending on where you sit in a theater and what decoder you are using?

Those Redheads From Seattle clearly has out if phase material in it or the Dolby decoder mode (DSU) or DTS Neural X mode wouldn't send material to the surround speakers to begin with. Sitting in the front row in my home theater, I wouldn't have noticed a difference between straight 3-channel and upmixed 3-channel (and no, the receiver is NOT converting it to stereo first; the center output is completely discrete still), but from the 2nd or 3rd row, you can hear the reverberations much more clearly in an upmixer mode.

I'd contest there's something "wrong" with this as it sounded excellent and is a clear testament to the job they did with the stereo components. Switching to pure DTS playback does do three channel only, but it moves the out of phase duty back to the mains used and the room and some speakers do ambience better than others.

Also, if you look up 3-track stereo, many theaters employed far more than just three speakers for playback even with only three tracks recorded (e.g. Fantasia was given as an example and went through many iterations of manual panning besides (including overhead and rear speakers: See Fantasound). Thus, "intent" isn't always obvious.
 

Wunlow

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I'd hesitate to use the word "intend" on a 1960s soundtrack. There were no Dolby decoders, let alone a modern upmixer to consider, let alone intend to use or not use.
If a feature had 3 channel sound, it was intended for L/C/R behind the screen playback and like most cinemas today, they were played back correctly. There's plenty of documentation to back that up, as studios and theaters wanted to know how their products were being handled in the field and actively monitored things like this. Its pretty straight forward- Provide the original 3 channel discrete mix: Original intent. Extract random information from said content and put into different speakers: Not original intent. One certainly can upmix in the home, and many of us do all of the time with music, but it still changes the original intent / design and while it can be fun, let's not pretend it doesn't. All the more so when the audio is tied to an image.
 

Mackspower

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Finally got hold of a blu-ray version of this the other day. Ripped it to the NAS . . . noticed in the media profile: "English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono (48kHz, 24-bit)". Take that Christopher Nolan . . . 5.1 channels are overkill.

1614922469858.png
 

MagnumX

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If a feature had 3 channel sound, it was intended for L/C/R behind the screen playback
My home theater doesn't have speakers behind the screen. Does that mean I should just forget about watching movies entirely? I mean how extreme should we take the "director's intent" type stuff? And why is it just the director? What about the writers? The actors? The sound engineer? The studio that's paying for it? Movies aren't usually made by just one person these days. What if some of those people disagree with each other? Ultimately, the studio decides that pays for it. Directors can stop working for a certain studio, but many don't have that luxury and in the case of someone like Christopher Nolan, well he's a primadonna anyway.

What about this bit from history?

From MKPE On 3-channel Cinema Sound over 100 speakers:

Multichannel sound in the cinema has its roots in the 1939 release of Disney's Fantasia. Fantasound, as it was called, used three optically recorded discrete sound tracks - Left, Center, and Right - and a fourth control track used for synchronization. The format used clever means to route audio to as many as 100 speakers all around the auditorium
It seems Disney didn't use 3-channel sound on 3 speakers behind the screen. They used over 100 speakers all around the auditorium, including ones on the ceiling and behind the audience, but it was played from a discrete 3-channel soundtrack like the kind you say I have to play with only 3 speakers behind my screen. That's what I mean about being sure about "intent". How do you have intent for something that didn't exist today like room correction or upmixers? You can't intend something for the future that you don't know will exist, let alone whether it's "better" or not.

What about things like thunder at ear level in Christopher Nolan movies because the man refuses to embrace immersive formats? He only wants you to watch his movies at the movie theater for that matter. Yeah, I say I'll take my preferences over his and decide whether I like his movies or not rather than let him dictate how I do things. Society is getting pretty pushy with what's "acceptable" to think, believe or opine lately. Even Dr. Seuss is under attack and I think this sort of thing needs to stop. Freedom means not always agreeing with each other and having to live with it. I'll turn on Neural X for Nolan movies and let thunder go overhead where it belongs whether he likes it or not. If I want to use DSU with Those Redheads From Seattle, I'll do it. Try and stop me. 😛

Extract random information from said content and put into different speakers: Not original intent.
What "random" information? Uncorrelated <> Random. Time delayed reflections are uncorrelated, but hardly random in nature. Ambience and room information is present in those signals. Movies may or may not contain relevant information in various sounds (given foley sounds, they might not even be what they sound like they are). But music is often recorded live and contains the hall in which it was recorded for part of the sound and it's still present whether two, three or 90 speakers are used to reproduce it.

One certainly can upmix in the home, and many of us do all of the time with music, but it still changes the original intent / design and while it can be fun, let's not pretend it doesn't. All the more so when the audio is tied to an image.
Really? Why don't most movies use panned dialog if they want to tie sounds to images? Why in Dolby Atmos is off-screen sound precision more important than on-screen position (center dialog)? If you start tying things like reality to the movie and arguments, it can all fall apart like with the above bit about having thunder overhead in Nolan movies when Nolan doesn't support that or panned dialog. I disagree, but movies are more than just their component parts. I'll still watch Batman Begins, but I'll turn Neural X on because it fixes things like thunder and to me, realism trumps Nolan's temper tantrums. :D

What was really great is when I watched the movie Biggles - Adventures in Time the other day in 2-channel sound with Neural X and the helicopter was flying overhead in the front of the room. That wasn't how it was in the theater and that wasn't the "intent" but darn it was more realistic! :D
 

Wunlow

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Fantasia with the Fantasound process was a one-off. Three speakers in roughly the same spot is still darn close to original intent - you're splitting hairs here. As noted in the original post - use an upmixer to all you want.
 

MagnumX

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My actual point is there is a very real difference between "original viewing experience" and "original intent".

Intent implies limiting or affecting how someone is going to watch something for all time, possibly forced at that and it's often an assumption they wouldn't want it done any other way sixty years later, which may or may not be true. For example, some directors want Atmos on re-releases and some don't. Others don't care either way.

Should Bridge Over the River Kwai have Atmos? Well, it does now, right or wrong. It was in mono on my previous copy and that's a huge change. I'd prefer to have both available, but I can only vote with my wallet.

Some directors and actors do have control issues. For example, I read Christopher Nolan and a few others wants a mode to override surround and video choices on AVRs that's activated by a flag in the video stream so you have to use what he likes or wants rather than what you want. Look at that Tom Cruise video telling people to shut off motion smoothing modes as if they're idiots and can't decide for themselves what they prefer or how to watch something). Now THAT I have a problem with. I couldn't care less what Tom Cruise or Christopher Nolan likes or wants in that regard. I'll decide for myself what I prefer.

As long as I can override the setting, I have less of an issue. Recommendations are fine. Forcing someone to listen to 2-channel stereo albums in stereo mode instead of Auromatic or DSU or Involve Audio or whatever is another matter.

If people want to use pure DTS instead of DTS + Neural X, great, but when Dolby tried to force the use of DSU for Dolby soundtracks instead of Neural X a couple of years ago (A European court was going to rule against them so they backed down), that's going too far.

Those are two real examples of the kind of control freak steps some want with movies so I don't feel I'm exaggerating things and it's why I bring it up.
 

Wunlow

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My actual point is there is a very real difference between "original viewing experience" and "original intent".

Intent implies limiting or affecting how someone is going to watch something for all time, possibly forced at that and it's often an assumption they wouldn't want it done any other way sixty years later, which may or may not be true. For example, some directors want Atmos on re-releases and some don't. Others don't care either way.

Should Bridge Over the River Kwai have Atmos? Well, it does now, right or wrong. It was in mono on my previous copy and that's a huge change. I'd prefer to have both available, but I can only vote with my wallet.

----------------

As long as I can override the setting, I have less of an issue. Recommendations are fine. Forcing someone to listen to 2-channel stereo albums in stereo mode instead of Auromatic or DSU or Involve Audio or whatever is another matter.
I think we actually agree more than not on what some have tried to restrict, or on the flip side have omitted in terms of original mixes or remixes. But.. in regards to what I have posted here, the term "original intent" does *not* imply limiting or effecting how a mix is played for all time, which is what you have seem to be caught up on from the start. Look up the definition of original intent. Again as mentioned previously, many here, myself included, often manipulate stereo music and listen in matrix extracted surround. If the extracted effect was not purposely encoded, the end result was not planned and it is not what was originally intended, but you can still enjoy it. You can do both and I'm not suggesting stopping you. Do you understand that?

I originally brought up "original intent" because this is a non-surround thread with a discussion of 3 channel mixes, and I thought it was relevant to mention some reviewers of said material have *unknowingly* played said mixes back upmixed due to the 3.0 coding and issues with their hardware. If you're going to review a 3 channel or 2 channel mix and do an upmix, then it should be noted in a review. If you don't mention it (or don't know you have upmixed) it's no surprise that can cause confusion.
 
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