Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
minnjd

Any guesses on how The Force Awakens measures up?

Recommended Posts

Saw the movie in an "SDX" Dolby Atmos theater in the Mann Cinema chain.  They really cranked the volume but their system held up pretty well and the sound was not harsh or fatiguing.  

 

The movie had a great deal of loud, heavy hitting bass.  That's probably not news to anyone, but one of the things that surprised me was the variety in the bass effects.  This wasn't a one dimensional BOOM track.  The punch of a TIE fighter exploding was easily distinguishable from the sonic boom of a ship flyby or the massive, grunting thud of Kylo Ren's lightsaber.

 

No clue how deep it went or how badly it clips (if it does), but my hopes are high given that Gary Rydstrom was the sound FX mixer, and he's pretty well known for his skill in maximizing both the volume and depth of the LFE in his mixes (See War Horse, MI:GP, Tomorrowland, the first two Star Wars prequels, etc...).

 

Anyone else want to venture a guess on how this one will rank out when the Blu Ray appears?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice.  I'll be seeing it in a theater with 25 Hz capability tomorrow, so I'll make a mention if I notice anything especially low..  AFAIK, 25 Hz is about as low as any theater goes, so I doubt anyone will be able to comment on the extension below that point until we have a Blu-ray.

 

Then there's the big question of how they treated the Blu-ray mix, if they did one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Watched this at an IMAX and was quite impressed with the sound - some of the battle scenes should be pretty fun and hopefully it won't be filtered.  It's always hard to tell at a cinema.

 

I agree with the above, though - nice variety to the bass.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Disney does HT specific mixes for Blu-Ray so best to keep your fingers crossed on this one.  They haven't neutered any of the Pixar movies, and some of those have some pretty strong ULF, so that's a good sign.

 

I agree that it's really hard to tell how low this one goes.  Despite the variety, there weren't many bass-centric effects outside of the 'force rumbles', although to be fair those really shook the hell out of my seat so I'm guessing there was a lot of 20-30 Hz content there, and Rydstrom tends to not use high pass filters so it's likely there was a healthy amount of sub 20Hz stuff too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fantastic news! There are no IMAX theaters within 2 hours driving of my town, so I am SOL there...nor is there any atmos or anything close to it. The closest we have is some stupid RPX theater, and I didn't even see the movie in that space as it wasn't in 3d. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't get your hopes up on this one guys.  Remember JJ's last venture into sci-fi audio, Star Trek Into Darkness?

2c3c6b4f2c8470441e7e1f1cbaae3b69.png

 

I recently read this about the making of the new SW film:

 

"production designer Darren Gilford (Oblivion) discussed how they used old school special effects at every opportunity, trying to replicate the way George Lucas did things on the first film back in 1977. He said:

J.J.'s mandate from day one was authenticity and being as true to the original trilogy as possible. And he felt the prequels were flawed by the fact that they had every [CG] tool known to mankind and used everything at their disposal. I use the metaphor of disco when the synthesizer came about and everyone was using it in any way possible. And I think J.J. wanted to reconnect with how the original films were made.

This turned out to be quite an extensive process. The team went back and researched every technique they used, from the creature effects to the interiors of the Death Star, which were designed to serve multiple functions, so you could make a few quick changes and use the same sets to serve as multiple places within the battle station. According to Gilford, this served as the inspiration for the way they approached the new base, and creates a familiar feeling even though you’ve never been there.

As far as visual effects go, they shot as much in-camera as they possibly could. This meant building extensive sets, big models, and using matte paintings instead of relying on the green screen technology that was so prevalent in the prequels. They also used flat forced perspective paintings to do things like make a hallway or corridor appear longer than they actually are, and basically went practical and physical whenever they could."

 

I mean dudes, he even shot this movie on real film instead of using digital.  You know he got his grubby little director's intent into the mix rooms so he could make it more "old school".  Need I remind everyone of the bandwidth of the old days?

 

Return of the Jedi -Death of the Death Star:

849051d53572b17abf7a1cf3315e62d4.png

 

My guess is we might eek out down to 30Hz on the new one.  Don't mean to rain on anyone's parade here but there are better prospects for MWB coming up like the new CA, Dead Pool, Batman vs. Superman, Independence Day Resurgence, Ghostbusters...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see they've got Gary Rydstrom doing Sound Design - looks like he's been involved with some good films, bass-bandwidth-wise (War Horse, All is Lost, Mission:Impossible - Ghost Protocol, Tomorrowland, Finding Nemo) and some not so good films (Wreck-It Ralph, Super 8), so I guess we can only hope...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't get your hopes up on this one guys.  Remember JJ's last venture into sci-fi audio, Star Trek Into Darkness?

2c3c6b4f2c8470441e7e1f1cbaae3b69.png

 

I recently read this about the making of the new SW film:

 

"production designer Darren Gilford (Oblivion) discussed how they used old school special effects at every opportunity, trying to replicate the way George Lucas did things on the first film back in 1977. He said:

J.J.'s mandate from day one was authenticity and being as true to the original trilogy as possible. And he felt the prequels were flawed by the fact that they had every [CG] tool known to mankind and used everything at their disposal. I use the metaphor of disco when the synthesizer came about and everyone was using it in any way possible. And I think J.J. wanted to reconnect with how the original films were made.

This turned out to be quite an extensive process. The team went back and researched every technique they used, from the creature effects to the interiors of the Death Star, which were designed to serve multiple functions, so you could make a few quick changes and use the same sets to serve as multiple places within the battle station. According to Gilford, this served as the inspiration for the way they approached the new base, and creates a familiar feeling even though you’ve never been there.

 

As far as visual effects go, they shot as much in-camera as they possibly could. This meant building extensive sets, big models, and using matte paintings instead of relying on the green screen technology that was so prevalent in the prequels. They also used flat forced perspective paintings to do things like make a hallway or corridor appear longer than they actually are, and basically went practical and physical whenever they could."

 

I mean dudes, he even shot this movie on real film instead of using digital.  You know he got his grubby little director's intent into the mix rooms so he could make it more "old school".  Need I remind everyone of the bandwidth of the old days?

 

Return of the Jedi -Death of the Death Star:

849051d53572b17abf7a1cf3315e62d4.png

 

My guess is we might eek out down to 30Hz on the new one.  Don't mean to rain on anyone's parade here but there are better prospects for MWB coming up like the new CA, Dead Pool, Batman vs. Superman, Independence Day Resurgence, Ghostbusters...

 

JJ was also the director of the five star bass film 'Star Trek', so that fact alone doesn't mean jack on how the sound mix will end up.  ST's sound mixer was Anna Behlmer, who's been around for a while and worked on War of the Worlds and Super 8.  ST:ID's FX were mixed by Will Files, a younger, newer sound guy who has done some spectacular work ('9' was his doing) but who also seems a bit more prone to 'cranking it up to 11'.  Different mixers, different results.

 

As far as the whole 'old school' thing I think you're making more than a bit of a stretch by saying the bandwidth of the soundtrack will be the way it was back in '83.

 

I have a lot of faith in Rydstrom.  The guy is a legend in the sound FX community and I think he has more than enough balls to push back when others might want to nudge the volume a bit too much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As far as the whole 'old school' thing I think you're making more than a bit of a stretch by saying the bandwidth of the soundtrack will be the way it was back in '83.

Not what I said.  My guess is filtered at 30Hz.  Hope I'm wrong.  Just pointing out that JJ's say will override whoever is along for the ride in the mix chair and it doesn't give me that great of a feeling about it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just hope no clipping and no serious compression/limiting.  If they shelve away some Infrasonics, BEQ can get it back.  No way to get back clipped material, and near impossible get back the dynamics that are compressed away unless you know the exact settings that were used.

 

JSS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Watched Star Wars last night at a true IMAX. Visuals were awesome on such an immersive screen. Only bass I noticed was a midbass kick in the chest. Didn't notice the bass other than that. Kept forgetting to notice too. Liked the movie but felt like too much of a rehash to call it a "new" episode.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not what I said.  My guess is filtered at 30Hz.  Hope I'm wrong.  Just pointing out that JJ's say will override whoever is along for the ride in the mix chair and it doesn't give me that great of a feeling about it. 

 

Personally I have more faith in this movie having decent ULF than Superman Vs Batman.  Zac Snyder is a 'volume over fidelity' case study if I've ever seen one, and his movies tend to consistently feature heavily filtered and erratic low ends (see Sucker Punch and Man of Steel).

 

Plus I'm not sure where the 'JJ is the director so it's automatically gonna be a filtered mess' belief comes from.  Sure ST:ID was very disappointing, but Star Trek was a five starrer, and even Mission Impossible III was not filtered (no clue about Super 8 since it's not rated).  One 'eff up does not equal a trend.

 

Of course I could be wrong, but given the caliber of the people involved in TFA's sound mix and their previous work, I still think this one's gonna be a monster when it comes out on Blu-Ray.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This has great ulf potential. If we get the theatrical mix, some of the louder/more concussive blasts will probably clip. In some cases square waves prob would be called for.

 

Also, Disney, please no compressed htib/soundbar mix for the BD.....fingers crossed.

 

JSS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I saw this at the Regal RPX a few days ago in a "2/3s back and centered" seat.  The trailer for the Independence Day sequel had plenty of loud 25ish Hz content, so I know the subs were working.  I did not especially notice effects in the movie digging that low.  Overall, the presentation sounded like it had a 30-40 Hz humped, as is common with movies these days including plenty of those with extension.  OTOH, a lot of the effects were broadband, and it's possible there was some lower stuff hiding underneath.  Another issue is that I don't think they were playing at reference level.  For comparison, with "The Hobbit" Battle of Five Armies", the 20-30 Hz bass extension was very apparent in that theater.

 

My short answer to "is it filtered" is: I don't know, but I lean toward it having some kind of filtering starting at 30 Hz.

 

Other than the bass, I thought the sound was quite clean.  I only noticed one effect with clipping, and it was probably done on purpose because it followed the image across the sound-stage.  Everything else sounded quite clean.  Of course, the acoustics of the huge room might hide or at least diminish the presence of any clipping.  More importantly, we have no idea what the BD will get released with!

 

And I do hope we get a good mix for this!  Forgive me rant.  Over the holidays, I discovered that the Disney BD release of "Spirited Away" has a mix that's 6 dB louder (subjectively) than the DVD mix.  When I first heard the BD mix, I knew something was way off.  I turned it down to "-12" over the course of the film because I found it to be irritating.  I borrowed the DVD from my mom to compare before realizing that my Blu-ray, despite being a 2015 release, came with a copy of the old DVD (with a new label, lol).  I put the BD And DVD in each of two disc players, synced their playback, and then carefully level matched the two by ear (focusing mostly on dialog).  It's amazing how, on first impression, the BD sounds cleaner, like the sounds are easier to hear, but with more attention, it becomes clear that the louder BD mix sacrifices a whole lot!  The quiter DVD mix sounds far more natural and believable.  I chose a playback level of "0" for the DVD and added a +4 trim to the digital input to compensate for the -4 DD dialnorm attenuation.  I found the viewing experience to be very relaxing and enjoyable.  The score especially came to life with a much deeper sound stage and "larger" overall sound.  I never had the urge to touch the MV, despite a couple of very loud (albeit never harsh) moments.

 

Unfortunately, I believe typical BD mixes are more like what I heard in "Spirited Away".  It is very insidious because on first impression (especially without somehow normalizing for loudness), the louder mix sounds "better", even though the "heart and soul" of the track can be destroyed in the process.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Unfortunately, I believe typical BD mixes are more like what I heard in "Spirited Away".  It is very insidious because on first impression (especially without somehow normalizing for loudness), the louder mix sounds "better", even though the "heart and soul" of the track can be destroyed in the process.

 

That's the heart of the loudness wars: loud material inherently sounds 'better' to most listeners and grabs their attention easier.  Unfortunately, that volume comes at the expense of dynamics and ear fatigue.  Try listening to a CD like Metallica's 'Death Magnetic'.  You can't make it through more than two or three songs due to the compressed and always LOUD sound.

 

That's one thing I found almost refreshing about TFA.  The sound was pretty damn loud at many points, but it had some very nice dynamics so it wasn't 100% balls to the wall all the time.  Those dynamics will probably be reduced for the Blu-Ray, but hopefully they won't be completely removed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

These retards make this big visual movies yet forget how important audio quality is :huh: and they expect people to ''PAY'' for that crap HA :ph34r: .

 

I agree, which is why I don't really want to go to the movies unless it is a big movie such as The Force Awakens...and then it reminds me why I'd rather stay home with my own system.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I have a feeling it will be loud.  I was waiting to see another movie.  A theater near mine was playing The Force Awakens.  I could tell that it was one of the space battles. This was a non-IMAX theater and I was a good 10-15 feet away from the theater with the door shut. I clearly heard the effects of the tie fighters and laser blasts where I was standing.  I did notice some bass as well.  Obviously standing out in the hallway is not a place to guess how good the bass is but my guess would be that it should be fine.  

 

Now I don't know if this theater cranked the level to 12, or that was the way it was supposed to be but it was loud.  I don't think that theater was super small either.  I saw it at a different location.  I saw in in the largest non IMAX theater this particular movie theater has.  To me, it sounded great.  Not too loud(my ears did not hurt).  It did seem like it had some bass to it.  But I think it's so hard to judge this from a theater.  As an ex, I saw Jupiter Ascending in a theater.  I thought the bass was weak.  But measured on this site, it seemed to go very low.  I am holding out hope that the sound is good on this one.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've found over the years that most theaters skimp on the subwoofers and in many cases this leaves movies feeling pretty weak on the low end.  They're plenty loud on the volume, but it has no heft.  As bad as it sounds I've found that paying extra to go to an IMAX theater (even a multiplex one) or the SDX theater at Mann Cinema was worth it because there was at least some standard they had to adhere to for that logo (including subwoofer performance).  This movie definitely had some serious bass (although the jury is still out on how low it is or how badly it clips).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I went to an IMAX (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) to watch The Force Awakens and other than noticing some midbass, I didn't notice much deep bass.  Not saying it wasn't there but I didn't become consciously aware of any strong, deep bass.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks like I might have been wrong on who actually mixed the sound FX on this one.  Many places pointed to Gary Rydstrom but the academy award nomination names  Chris Scarabosio.  Scarabosio is a good mixer (he is the sound designer/mixer behind the Despicable Me franchise) but I don't think he's as big of a ULF purist as Rydstrom, so we may indeed end up with some kind of filtering, especially given the volume of some of the bass effects.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...