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-   -   Does The Director Always Knows What's Best? (https://www.gearslutz.com/board/post-production-forum/1323992-does-director-always-knows-whats-best.html)

dr.sound 1st September 2020 03:23 PM

Does The Director Always Knows What's Best?
 
Does The Director Always Knows What's Best?
https://www.esquire.com/uk/culture/a...ound-problems/

kludgeaudio 1st September 2020 03:49 PM

Everybody wants more of everything. And you can have all of everything for a scene or two, but when you have more of everything all the time for a whole feature film, you get a mess.

The good news is that you can enable closed captioning though.
--scott

Brent Hahn 1st September 2020 04:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kludgeaudio (Post 14945965)
Everybody wants more of everything. And you can have all of everything for a scene or two, but when you have more of everything all the time for a whole feature film, you get a mess.

The good news is that you can enable closed captioning though.
--scott

I was a fly on the wall for a lot of the sound design and foley for Werner Herzog's "Grizzly Man." The team spent about a month and a half on it, and it was beautifully done. By the end of the second playback, Herzog threw almost all of it out.

Late add -- I neglected to follow the link before. Nolan. That explains it. His mixes are always terrible. 5.1 helps a little but we don't have that in the bedroom. Like Scott says, that's what closed caption is for. Well, that and Game of Thrones and Outlander.

pethenis 1st September 2020 04:44 PM

Yes he is, he's/she's the person hired for his vision. No doubt Nolan can make films and I don't have much problems with his mixes. I mean how many of us are slaves to "what is considered a balanced mix" and if you work for TV, the readings of your meters?

philper 1st September 2020 05:28 PM

I'm glad to see that the debate over Nolan's mixes has shifted from "the mixers screwed up" to "that Nolan is a deaf nut etc"--ie that the blame for how the mix sound is being laid in the right place. No one who worked on that film is other than an A-list professional with decades of experience in big movies--there are no mistakes in that mix. The mix sounds how the director wanted it to sound.

mattiasnyc 1st September 2020 06:05 PM

I think this is worth considering:

Quote:

Christopher Nolan's long-time sound editor, Richard King, took to Reddit to explain the reasoning behind the director's controversial approach. "Chris is trying to create a visceral emotional experience for the audience, beyond merely an intellectual one. Like punk rock music, it's a full-body experience, and dialogue is only one facet of the sonic palette," he explained. "He wants to grab the audience by the lapels and pull them toward the screen, and not allow the watching of his films to be a passive experience. If you can, my advice would be to let go of any preconceptions of what is appropriate and right and experience the film as it is, because a lot of hard intentional thought and work has gone into the mix."
I mean, it's art, right? So it is what it is.

We're (hopefully) professionals so of course our sensibilities are a bit different than the average audience member but surely there's an ounce or more of logic to the above. Perhaps his movies simply aren't for everyone, despite being 'blockbusters'?

Brent Hahn 1st September 2020 06:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mattiasnyc (Post 14946184)
Perhaps his movies simply aren't for everyone, despite being 'blockbusters'?

If the track's unintelligible, then knowing English doesn't matter. It doesn't get more "everyone" than that.

kludgeaudio 1st September 2020 06:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brent Hahn (Post 14946192)
If the track's unintelligible, then knowing English doesn't matter. It doesn't get more "everyone" than that.

And there are films for which unintelligible speech might be okay. But this is a film that relies heavily on dialogue to put across the plot.
--scott

mattiasnyc 1st September 2020 06:44 PM

My comment was general in nature, because this isn't only about this film but a general note on Nolan and mixing in general, no?

I remember being very annoyed by missing one key line in Interstellar. Later in the film I was given enough information to understand what that line was retroactively. Now, as a sound engineer I was obviously annoyed and it took me out of the film for a while. On the whole however I can't deny that the massive onslaught of sound in conjunction with space and the visuals etc was highly impressive and gave me a more visceral experience. Was that the right approach? Well I'm not sure if I would have gone that far, but I'm also not Nolan and I've directed fewer billion dollar grossing movies.

I mean, his whole point seems to be "Don't just think, sense/feel" in which case the argument "You have to always be able to hear the dialog" is out the window.

Of course if you can't enjoy the movie then it doesn't work for you. But 2001 worked and still works far less to me than Interstellar, despite being 'superior' in many ways. I just feel more emotionally engaged in the latter and the former leaves me cold. So...

Is it really this clear-cut at all times?

---

Has anyone here seen Tenet yet?

kludgeaudio 1st September 2020 08:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mattiasnyc (Post 14946251)
I remember being very annoyed by missing one key line in Interstellar. Later in the film I was given enough information to understand what that line was retroactively. Now, as a sound engineer I was obviously annoyed and it took me out of the film for a while. On the whole however I can't deny that the massive onslaught of sound in conjunction with space and the visuals etc was highly impressive and gave me a more visceral experience. Was that the right approach? Well I'm not sure if I would have gone that far, but I'm also not Nolan and I've directed fewer billion dollar grossing movies.

If it's the line I am thinking of, you're not supposed to have heard it. That's part of building up the tension!
--scott

mattiasnyc 1st September 2020 08:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kludgeaudio (Post 14946403)
If it's the line I am thinking of, you're not supposed to have heard it. That's part of building up the tension!
--scott

Yeah, that didn't work for me.

EvilRoy 1st September 2020 08:40 PM

Film maker for 40 years here. If you need to explain the plot to the audience, then you’re just narrating a story.

seanmccoy 3rd September 2020 06:16 PM

I'm firmly in the camp of loving Nolan's movies and hating his mixes. The bad mixes extend to the blu ray versions as well, but at least I can watch them with subtitles. As a sound designer and composer, I should love the too-loud music and sfx, but every single great movie in history starts with a great story, which is told primarily through the dialogue. It's weird to me that Nolan doesn't seem to have the same level of respect for his own stories.

Brent Hahn 3rd September 2020 06:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by seanmccoy (Post 14950293)
It's weird to me that Nolan doesn't seem to have the same level of respect for his own stories.

I think it might also be that he's so familiar with the script that he can't put himself in the place of the rest of us, who aren't.

DrewP 3rd September 2020 10:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brent Hahn (Post 14950371)
I think it might also be that he's so familiar with the script that he can't put himself in the place of the rest of us, who aren't.

Exactly. I've run into this a lot.

I'm also wondering if he surrounds himself with yes men. Outcomes like these seem to happen when directors refuse to take professional advice or criticism to heart. If half of the audience is taken out of the moment and straining to hear the dialog, then it's accomplishing the exact opposite of what you want with your art.

mattiasnyc 3rd September 2020 11:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrewP (Post 14950765)
If half of the audience is taken out of the moment and straining to hear the dialog, then it's accomplishing the exact opposite of what you want with your art.

Except he's said exactly the opposite, that he is aware and actually wants dialog to not always be clearly heard.

I think it's possible to both say that we'd do things differently ourselves and acknowledge that Nolan knows what he's doing and is getting what he wants.

Like I said before - isn't it possible that this isn't an error but simply that his films aren't for everyone for this reason?

Brent Hahn 4th September 2020 12:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mattiasnyc (Post 14950824)
Except he's said exactly the opposite, that he is aware and actually wants dialog to not always be clearly heard.

I can appreciate that. When I watched Radiohead on Austin City Limits with the closed caption on and realized what Thom Yorke was actually singing in "Paranoid Android," I liked that song a little less.

iluvcapra 4th September 2020 06:38 PM

The Guardian has picked up this story as well...

https://www.theguardian.com/film/202...hppXiwDaLum_9Q

This article interviews some practitioners so it gives more of that kind of context. One detail sounds spot-on...

Quote:

A studio’s reference level tends to be around 85 decibels, or 7 on the Dolby scale, he says. But cinemas will often play the film at 4 (around 75 decibels). The Irish Film Institute has been playing Tenet at 4, Markey says, because 6 was “ridiculously loud” when tested. Cinemas will not necessarily play a film at the recommended level of 7 if they feel it is too loud.

dr.sound 4th September 2020 07:37 PM

You obviously didn't seeing my other post here:
Another View of Mixing

philper 6th September 2020 05:03 PM

The theatre playback level as spec'ed by Dolby and listened at in the dub stage vs. the level a commercial theatre actually plays the film at in response to audience complaints is a way bigger issue than just Nolan's films.

tedmanzie 13th September 2020 03:04 PM

Glad I found this thread. Some of the dialogue mixing in TENET is SO inaudible I can only conclude that we weren’t supposed to hear it (boat scene)?! Mark Kermode said in his podcast that many viewers are seeking out the subtitled version so they can follow the dialogue.

In another film it may not be so bad but TENET is very hard to follow anyway and consequently it definitely became an irritation for me while watching.

I did really like the music & sound design though.