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Dodgy cinema sound

Discussion in 'TV Show Forum' started by Peter O Sullivan, Jul 14, 2002.

  1. Peter O Sullivan

    Peter O Sullivan
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    Hi all,
    a question to see if anyone has ever noticed this.
    I went to see Minority Report last Thursday. During the trailers at the start, you can notice when the ads are in stereo and film trailers usually in 5.1 . During the main film, I noticed that the sound seemed to be falling out of 5.1 into 2 channel/prologic. It only lasted a few secs each time but happened about 5-10 times during the film. It reminded me if a crappy VHS stereo copy dropping the stereo feed and going into mono.
    This happened about a year ago iswell in a different cinema and was really obvious, it could of even slipped into mono, can't remember the film.
    There is no THX certified cinema here in Ireland (not that I know of anyway), but I wouldn't expect this to happen in any cinema. We still have cinemas in Dublin city with incredible Dobly prologic surround sound, they must of missed the whole DD 5.1 thing.
    Does anyone know if this possible and how can it happen? bad handling of the film print or what

    Any comments
    Thanks
     
  2. juboy

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    Hi Peter, poor quality sound in cinemas is something I've been aware of for a few years now. I don't know whether it's cinemas themselves that are getting worse or rather that a lot of people now have systems at home that actually better the sound quality of cinemas.

    Or, if not necessarily a better sound, it can be a sound you become aclimatised to and therefore are likely to prefer.

    I most noticed terrible sound in the cinema during 'Blade 2' and 'Black Hawk Down'. A real shame as I'd been looking forward to both films for ages. It will be interesting to see both the aforementioned DVDs at home and compare the difference in sound.

    One other thing that's always bugged me: conventional wisdom is that ideal listening rooms should have relatively low ceilings. Due to the size of the screen and seating necessities, cinemas are forced to have very high ceilings, which must cause problems for the sound?
     
  3. lechacal

    lechacal
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    It sounds like the print was damaged. I think I'm right in saying that the DD soundtrack is carried optically on the film print itself, outside the visible frame. It's quite easy for this part of the film to get damaged. When the decoder loses the DD signal I guess it falls back to the analogue stereo/pro-logic one, on the grounds that even if that one is a bit damaged then at least you'll hear something.

    Most prints we get in the UK/Ireland are reconditioned prints that have already done the rounds in the US. This is because a print costs the studios about £30k to produce - one of the reasons why they would like to get digital distribution working properly.

    Anyway, I'm just saying that although it could be dodgy projection equipment or bad handling by the projectionist, it's not necessarily the cinema's fault.
     
  4. Dom H

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    I think it is the other way round, to reduce early reflections.
     
  5. Peter O Sullivan

    Peter O Sullivan
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    I agree with your answers but I still don't think it sould happen, well not as often as I hear it.
    I think it would be great if the time listings on teletext/their website or something would give more info on the details of the film. Like which screening will have DD/DTS/THX. Even if they got their hands on one new print with DTS/THX and mentioned it just to satisfy us fanatics. An idea! (that would never really happen, well not here in Ireland)

    One other question/comment.
    Since there are a few of ye viewing this, this is mostly aimed at the "Dubin and surrounding counties" people.
    Our latest built cinema was the Ster Century one in Liffey Valley Shopping centre a few yaers back. When it came out at the start, on it ad's in the newspapers it mentioned it had DD, DTS and THX certified screens. Strangely enough the THX was taken off the ad's a few weeks later, leaving us with DD and DTS. This is my local cinema and been there a good few times and have never seen a trailer to say that the film is in DTS, just DD.
    A advertising scheme about the THX? and maybe the DTS or could be DTS prints are more expensive and harder to come by?
    I would never bother asking anyone there since they would get confused if you mentioned DD or DTS, forget about THX. Its just sound to them, they could listen to it through a gramaphone and still be happy.
    Anyone have any answers to my Ster Century problem.
     
  6. juboy

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    I've never yet seen a DTS cinema outside of London. I'm sure there are LOADS of them, but nowhere I've been... and I live on the M4 corridor, not the most un-technologically advanced area in the UK... well until you get to about junction 32 it's not anyway :)
     
  7. calibos

    calibos
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    Just got back from Minority Report at IMC (Screen 1)
    in Dun Laoghaire(Ireland) and there was a DTS Trailer.
     
  8. Peter O Sullivan

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    Spoilt bastard:D
     
  9. Lex

    Lex
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    Cinemas in Cornwall are still struggling with the concept of STEREO :rolleyes:

    I agree about cinemas offering more information about their facilities. My local Warner Village (Plymouth) is a pain as there is no way of finding out in advance which screen the film is on - for instance when I went to see Attack of the Clones I booked tickets a week in advance and wanted to see it on the BIG screen (in THX EX). The guy serving me thought I was crazy for 'fussing' over which screen I saw it in! :mad: :rolleyes:
     
  10. Dubbing Mixer

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    The responses to this thread nicely illustrate the problems. Chicken and egg and lack of general understanding of what the technology is about and what the terms mean.

    Dolby Digital prints do indeed HAVE to carry a Dolby Surround analogue alternative. This is both for fall back when the DD track (on the outside of the print) is damaged and also for cinemas without DD. But, a badly adjusted projector sound head will drop back to the analogue track more frequently than it should. dts requires a separate synchronised CD playout system. The only dts thing on the print is a timecode track to keep the disk in sync.

    THX is simply a set of standards which the Dubbing (re-recording) theatres have to meet and be licensed to produce THX certified mixes. Siimilarly, CInemas wishing to advertise themselves as THX must meet stringent criteria. (and, incidentally this usually means buying their speakers and amplifiers off the 'approved' list. If I were cynical, I would say THX is mostly a marketing ploy, however, their standards undoubtably do produce pleasing results. In theory all DD and dts licensed cinemas should also adhere to a set of standards covering, amongst other things, the level at which films are replayed. However, in practice, the results are highly variable. But still a lot better than the 'good old days' of 'Academy Mono'!

    Sadly, the average punter knows little of this esoterica and cares less. Cinema managers are mainly interested in getting 'bums on seats'. They only invest if they think enough people want the new technology. If Dolby, dts, THX and others manage to raise public awareness of their virtues to the point where joe public is insisting on it we'll get it. Hence all the DD trailers in cinemas and the serious branding. And it obviously works or we wouldn't be in the fortunate position we are now with DD in many small local cinemas.
     
  11. juboy

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    Why? I think everyone who's posted knows what mono, stereo, Dolby Surround, DD, DTS and THX certified means. People are just wondering why so many cinemas sound so bad.
     
  12. Guest

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    some of the cinemas I have been in recently have had dreadful sound, we've got a new Ster Century 13-screener in town and while the sound in some of the screens has been fantastic (i remember the surround sound staging and steering on Monster's Inc was incredible), some of the screens you'd be hard pushed to tell if you were listening to DD or stereo.

    When they build cinemas do that just whack in the neccessary number of speakers or actually go to the trouble of setting up and configuring their systems. I saw Ep 2 in one of their two DD-Ex (or is it Es I can never remember that one) screens and the sound was less than impressive.
     
  13. Dubbing Mixer

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    Juboy may well be right, but I sometimes wonder.

    More to the point, I rather thought I had answered the question as to why so many cinemas sound so bad. I.e. the managers/owners see no reason to invest the large amounts of capital required to do it well and or make sure their staff are properly trained and their machinery maintained and aligned.
    Until people vote with their wallets / feet and make it clear why they are doing so, the situation is not likely to change. It is only in places where there is real competition, I.e. lots of cinemas, it becomes obvious audiences do want better sound, better pictures and a better viewing environment.
     
  14. juboy

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    DM: yes, that point was well made. Sorry about my previous post, it may have come across a little harsh... which it wasn't intended to :)

    Your points about customer demand are very valid. What's interesting to add to the equation now though is that cinema's competition is not just other cinema chains but people's Home Cinemas. I, and I suspect many of us on this forum, now deliberatly 'miss' films at the cinema that I know I'll prefer at home on DVD. Resident Evil springs to mind.

    And you know what pushed me into doing that? Raring to see 'Black Hawk Down' and doing so when it came out, only to find I'd paid £5.20 to see it on the smallest screen in our local 14 screen cinema with dreadful sound quality. It ruined the experience :(
     
  15. Dubbing Mixer

    Dubbing Mixer
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    Hi Juboy,

    No problem! When I re-read my post it did seem a bit condescending which I certainly didn't intend. Probably too much wine!

    I agree entirely about Home Cinema taking business away from inferior cinemas and this can only be a good thing if it persuades them to improve.

    My local cinema has one more than decent sized screen with DD and reasonable PQ and one tiny one with Dolby Surround which isn't much bigger than my own. Ticket price is the same......
    Result, I now refuse to go to the smaller one. We either trek over to Portsmouth or wait for the DVD. But there are some films which really benefit from being seen with a big audience and the sense of occasion you get from going to the movies.

    Black Hawk Down I would rather see in the cinema, but only in a decent one.

    Cinema audiences are at their highest level in decades. Largely because enough cinema owners realised they had to do something to make 'going to the movies' more of a special experience. The ones which fail to get the message are doomed unless they are so far from a good cinema that they have a captive audience. (and of course they are still threatened by Home Cinema and all the other local entertainment on offer.)
     
  16. Guest

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    We went to the UCI in Hatfield to watch Scooby Doo and Spiderman, Scooby Doo was suppose to be in DTS i say never and as for Spiderman there was sound fallout all over the place :(
     
  17. Lex

    Lex
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    I bet the sound wasn't the only thing that kept falling out! ;) :p
     
  18. Dubbing Mixer

    Dubbing Mixer
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    Girls! Girls!

    Which is a quote from which film?

    Which character?

    And for your bonus, the actors name?
     
  19. Guest

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    Delphi doesn't know what Lexs means as Randy held her hand all the way through the movie :D
     
  20. Guest

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    it's very hard trying to keep my hands off of you, just not possible.



    but, to keep on track, yes for a theater that was supposed to have "DTS" movies playing the sound was terrible. i think Spiderman was playing in a "DTS" theater as well, could have fooled me.

    (easy on the comments about fooling my hearing. Delphi, sweetheart)
     

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