RECENT: Old optical films digitalised and murdered

Foley masters Mike and Matt are aware that people using iPads and other entertainment devices, all the way through to surround sound system televisions, are listening to bad sound, because distribution networks are not aware that they’re being supplied with  (in a lot of cases) old Optical-sound based movies that haven’t been converted over to Digital. Hence: adverts come crashing in 30% louder than the films being watched.  The industry lacks patience in its pushing for results, making quality the first casualty for many sound editors.  The public don’t like bad sound, as has been well documented of late with so many complaints coming in from those very same people we are supposed to be entertaining.  It’s sad that vision has gone the other way, with beautiful photography and excellent VFX sitting in pole position for the admiration awards. If a producer wants us to do a rush sound job, we simply back away.

IT DOESN’T TAKE LONG to spend just a few hours pulling up the optical soundtracks (when converting older movies for digital transmission) and to appreciate the original efforts made, especially during the 70s and 80s, by dedicated sound editors who had to get everything perfect as part of their jobs.  Also, it seems that everyone has gone Db crazy these days, and yet so few modern sound designers even know where the term Db came from, let alone appreciate the craftsmanship put into some of those iconic movies, like our John Poyner’s editing on ‘The Dirty Dozen’ for which he won a well deserved Oscar. Try listening carefully to the way he mixed the numerous effects, explosions and gunfire, yet with every word of dialogue coming over crystal clear.  “It’s unfortunate that there’s nobody around these days to rumble these inexperienced sound people”, said John.

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