Audio changes on 625/50/PAL discs

Discussion in 'Movie Forum' started by Chris Bellamy, Apr 16, 2002.

  1. Chris Bellamy

    Chris Bellamy
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    Does anyone know of films where audio pitch correction (to correct for the 4% speedup) has been implemented during 625/50/PAL conversion?

    I've seen plenty of mention of this problem (especially with song/music material), and of the possibility to digitally correct for the pitch change during standards conversion, but I've never seen tell of an example of a film for which that conversion has been done. Does one company tend to do this more than others (if at all)? Is there a list somewhere? Is this information even available?
     
  2. Nyquil Driver

    Nyquil Driver
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    I've wondered the same thing myself, but I've never found any internet sites relevant to this issue....

    As far as I can tell, all recent releases are simply speeded-up and don't have any kind of pitch-correction applied. I remember reading a review of Cliffhanger (forget which region, probably R4) which mentioned that the audio had been modified to play at the proper pitch. They also stated that the sound 'popped' every 10 mins or so (a side-effect of the process). I don't think I've seen any other comments/reviews which mention it.

    The sad truth is, 95% of DVD buyers are completely unaware of the pitch differences, so there's no motivation for disc encoders to go to any extra trouble/expense (especially as it's largely a 'purist' issue anyway). PAL always sounds too fast to me, but I hope there is some kind of web-based resource out there which lists all the 'corrected' discs (don't think there are very many though).

    I'd be just as interested as you if there was such a site....
     
  3. Darth Vader

    Darth Vader
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    Hi Chris and Nyquil.

    Part of my job in the Sound Transfer Bay at Shepperton Studios, is to speed up the the 24 F.P.S. sound for PAL laybacks to Video/TV/DVD (which is 4.1% to be precise and is about a semi tone in pitch). In my experience most of these sound tracks are not pitch corrected. When they are, I use a Lexicon proccessor, (can't remember the model number at this point in time). To be honest the Lexicon is a very old machine long out of production, but is IMO still the best one for the job.

    I must point out that NTSC sound tracks are slowed down from 24 F.P.S. to 23.98 F.P.S. which is usually refered as "pulldown", but as the the slow down is very small it is not noticable.

    If you want to read more on this subect go to my profile and click on "Search for all posts for this user" then click on "Last" on the pages link, then click on then "Any difference in picture quality between R1 and R2". As I go into a bit more detail on this subect in this thread.

    Cheers.
     
  4. Chris Bellamy

    Chris Bellamy
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    Thanks, Darth Vader, I had already read your previous very informative post - in fact it partly prompted my question, although I doubt I would usually notice a pitch problem in practice, short of A-B comparisons such as you and others have done. Judder from 3:2 pulldown is more of a problem for me, I think.

    It seems therefore that pitch correction is hardly ever if at all applied during film to 625/50/PAL standards conversion (or at least that we can't come up with an example!).

    Chris
     
  5. Darth Vader

    Darth Vader
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    The last time I can remember we used pitch correction on was on 'Band of Brothers' shown last year on the BBC (perhaps you saw it, then agian perhaps you did'nt, as it was broadcast in a stupid time slot!). Not a film I know, but the series was shot like a feature film. When the episodes were transfered to digital tape for the Beeb (i.e. sped up from 24 f.p.s. to 25 f.p.s.) pitch correction was used. This was completed in August last year and I don't know of any other productions that have asked for pitch correction since.


    Another thing that might interest you, is, if you think about it we (in Europe that is) probably have never heard classic film stars at their proper pitches. Most of us only hear the old film stars sped up on PAL TV or VHS/DVD. Unless you go to a special cinema screening of 'Golden Oldies' where the sound track is being played at the original speed, or you import R1 or NTSC LD versions of Classic films. The chances are that your perception of a certain actors voice is different to how he or she actually sounds in the cinema or on NTSC. If like me, you are a fan of Cary Grant you will be suprised how much deeper his voice sounds played at the original speed.

    Cheers.
     
  6. Chris Bellamy

    Chris Bellamy
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    Quote "If like me, you are a fan of Cary Grant you will be suprised how much deeper his voice sounds played at the original speed."

    So does that mean Captain Scarlet's voice is a better approximation to Cary Grant than the man himself on PAL ;)

    Thanks, Darth Vader,
    I'll have to check out Laurel & Hardy on R1 - their voices are ingrained through many years of enjoyment on TV (why no more repeats?), but I've always put the slightly high pitch down to vintage film stock, perhaps also run at somewhat imprecise speeds, tinny sound, etc. and not thought about any possible additional influence of speed-up.

    Chris
     

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