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-   -   Has Surround Sound Been Forgotten? (http://www.hometheatershack.com/forums/audio-processing/36269-has-surround-sound-been-forgotten.html)

Prof. 11-18-10 10:33 PM

Has Surround Sound Been Forgotten?
 

Just of late I've been rather disappointed with the sort of surround sound we get on most blu-rays..and I am getting more and more critical in my old age! :olddude:
It's not just the blu-ray system itself that's the problem, it's the production and post production of the movie..

It struck me the other night when watching a blu-ray movie, that the surround sound that was produced for this movie was not really realistic..Sure you could hear good surround effects like a lot of movies have, but it lacked something..
You could hear the surround effects alright and the sound moved up and down the room like a lot of movies, but when it came to ambient sounds, they were either not there at all, or sort of pushed off to the side walls just a little forward of the screen, or were right at the back side walls..
At no point did they fill the entire room, from front to back and from side to side..

Even in many crowd scenes, you quite often feel more like an outside observer rather than a participator in what's happening..

For example..I watched Casino Royale the other night, as it's one of the movies I use for testing audio and acoustic tweaks..
In the scene where Bond is typing his resignation on the yacht, you can hear the water lapping at the back of the boat, (behind you in the room) but there is virtually no ambient sounds..
In a scene like that the whole water area should have given a feeling of what it sounds like to be in a boat on open water, plus the city ahead would be alive with sounds..

If surround sound technology had advanced as much as other production and post production techniques have, we should not only be hearing ambient sounds completely through out our rooms, but it should seem like the ambient surrounds sounds extend beyond our room confines!
I have heard many individual sounds (like birds and crickets or that sort of thing) that appear to be beyond my walls,,but rarely if ever, ambient sounds..

It seems to me that we just don't get that real open air feeling from our surrounds, and in this highly developed technological field..I think they've forgotten surround sound!
What do you guys think?

atledreier 11-19-10 03:10 AM

Re: Has Surround Sound Been Forgotten?
 

I completely agree.

Some movies still do this pretty good, but overall, ambience is not what it used to.

Cory Phoenix 11-19-10 08:52 AM

Re: Has Surround Sound Been Forgotten?
 

hey prof.,
can you provide some examples of movies that succeed in the surround sound ambiance department? maybe also suggest a couple recent movies that drop the ball? obviously just based on your opinion, but, some examples of titles on both sides of the fence to compare so we can get a better idea of where you're coming from?
thanks!

eugovector 11-19-10 09:14 AM

Re: Has Surround Sound Been Forgotten?
 

I'll be listening to this more carefully in the future. At this point I tend to agree. I feel like I've been getting a lot of descrete effects like a door slam, gun shot, or someone yelling, but those border on gimmicky in my opinion. I want to hear someone taking the time to make the subtle reverb of a parking garage, wind whistling on the beach, or road noise during a conversation on a car. I want realism, I want to "be there".

torceador 11-19-10 09:55 AM

Re: Has Surround Sound Been Forgotten?
 

Here's hopefully a little explanation.....

If the actors delivered their lines in a scene faultlessly without breaks and cameras could switch from face to face without being detected, THEN ambient microphones could catch all the detail that could re-create a soundscape that was immersed in the action.

All too often, the audio recorded during the shoot, once edited, merely becomes the framework for voice-overs to add dialog back in. They can't use the scratch audio with the original dialog due to its non-linear cuts, so it's wiped, and someone is tasked with recreating the ambient sounds after voice-over.

If you were really ambitious, and some are, you could record a few hours of non-dialog ambient sounds and try to match it up with the finished edit. Otherwise, it's just look for the essential sound effects and poke them in. That, I feel, is what you are expressing.

All this, of course, usually is attempted after the shooting, as budget is in its sunset. So, if there is a pinch, this process can short-cut. (read:cheesy) It can also be muddled up with the conversion from film to consumer media.

Vote with dollars and reviews to keep this a priority with studios.

torceador

eugovector 11-19-10 10:20 AM

Re: Has Surround Sound Been Forgotten?
 

Well put.

Cory Phoenix 11-19-10 10:26 AM

Re: Has Surround Sound Been Forgotten?
 

Quote:

torceador wrote: (Post 322324)
Here's hopefully a little explanation.....

If the actors delivered their lines in a scene faultlessly without breaks and cameras could switch from face to face without being detected, THEN ambient microphones could catch all the detail that could re-create a soundscape that was immersed in the action.

All too often, the audio recorded during the shoot, once edited, merely becomes the framework for voice-overs to add dialog back in. They can't use the scratch audio with the original dialog due to its non-linear cuts, so it's wiped, and someone is tasked with recreating the ambient sounds after voice-over.

If you were really ambitious, and some are, you could record a few hours of non-dialog ambient sounds and try to match it up with the finished edit. Otherwise, it's just look for the essential sound effects and poke them in. That, I feel, is what you are expressing.

All this, of course, usually is attempted after the shooting, as budget is in its sunset. So, if there is a pinch, this process can short-cut. (read:cheesy) It can also be muddled up with the conversion from film to consumer media.

Vote with dollars and reviews to keep this a priority with studios.

torceador

this is very interesting to me. so, what's your take on animated films since practically all the audio mix has to be layered? do you think think that for the most part they make use of more time/effort/skill/budget due to this fact?

GranteedEV 11-19-10 11:10 AM

Re: Has Surround Sound Been Forgotten?
 

Quote:

codog wrote: (Post 322337)
this is very interesting to me. so, what's your take on animated films since practically all the audio mix has to be layered? do you think think that for the most part they make use of more time/effort/skill/budget due to this fact?

One of the most impressive surround mixes I've heard was the (Japanese track) second Gurren Lagann movie.

torceador 11-19-10 01:29 PM

Re: Has Surround Sound Been Forgotten?
 

Animated films do rely even heavier on Foley artists to generate an audio atmosphere to go along with their story. Like the media itself, it is not limited to any yardstick of 'reality'. Just for an opinion (mine), Pixar's 'Up' impressed me as tasteful and realistic and helped me be immersed in the story. 'Battle for Terra' on the other hand, seemed a little on the garish side. 'Star Wars' has had several remixes with succesive media formats, and experienced hits and misses each time. Kudos especially to game developers who seem to use surround techniques on the fly based on gameplay.

torceador

taoggniklat 11-19-10 02:14 PM

Re: Has Surround Sound Been Forgotten?
 

Quote:

codog wrote: (Post 322313)
hey prof.,
can you provide some examples of movies that succeed in the surround sound ambiance department? maybe also suggest a couple recent movies that drop the ball? obviously just based on your opinion, but, some examples of titles on both sides of the fence to compare so we can get a better idea of where you're coming from?
thanks!

I don't watch a lot of movies, but I personally thought Master and Commander was one of the best I have heard with regards to making it sound as if I was there.


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