You ever notice these days that when you are watching a movie the dialogue seems way too low in comparison to the soundtrack and special effects? It’s like the sound engineer has failed to stick a compressor on the audio, it’s categorically annoying (similar – if not worse – than a baby crying in the near vicinity of your personal sonic space on a two hour flight), and it is becoming ever more popular within the film industry. It started off as a Bay-ism, were one would find themselves either becoming a manual compressor with the power of the remote control, turning it up at the talky dialogue based parts, only to turn it back down when the action kicked pack in – we find ourselves sitting in our homes behaving like automated oscillators. There is also the subtitle option, which is quite handy if one decides to sit and watch a movie in the small dark hours of the night. Then there is the headphone option – that’s when s**t just starts getting crazy. Well, you catch my drift; it’s a problem, and it’s goddam annoying (goddam you Michael Bay, why you gotta go ruin everything…).
Now it seems, one of the most overrated directors of the past two decades (Christopher Nolan), has decided that he wanted to achieve this effect on Interstellar simply based on artistic aesthetic and it had been ruffling some feathers among movie-goers. Film first reported on myriad complaints about a week ago from individuals’ that were attending IMAX screenings and digital screenings (they used the term “traditional screenings,” but that seems like a bit of a misnomer these days). So, the problem lies with nobody willing to take the blame for the sound issues, with Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar camp keeping shtoom about it, and the majority of theater chains also remaining silent on the issue. However, one theatre in upstate New York (Cinemark Tinseltown USA and IMAX in Rochester) plastered a disclaimer on the entrance of the cinema pinning the blame on Nolan, stating that is the way he intended it to sound and that their sound equipment was all in complete working order. Check out the photo below (Source: The Hollywood Reporter and twitter user @JShooke).
As members of staff independently put up the sign at Cinemark – probably due to constant harassment and folk wanting a refund – things got political and corporate asked them to take the sign down once they were informed of the debacle. I guess they thought diplomacy was the best route to take as Christopher Nolan and Paramount studios are a juggernaut, and it probably wouldn’t be in anyone’s best interest to piss them off.
A spokesperson from Cinemark took time out to explain to The Hollywood Reporter that is was all a misunderstanding – the usual protocol in damage limitation. He said that:
“…the note was actually not correct and any sound problems were, in fact, due to a “hard drive problem” at the theater.”
Funnily enough, most of the early problems derived from people who attended the digital screenings and not actually the IMAX screenings. The very first complaints came from individuals’ who had attended IMAX screenings – but the problem seemed to subdue. It seems that there is a problem with the actual mix as it was Nolan that mixed the sound and in an earlier interview with the New York Times he had this to say about the sound in the film:
“The most important thing, he said, was the volume; he wanted a lot of simple power, and all of it coming right out of the screen. He didn’t put a lot of surround in the mix, because he didn’t want a lot of distraction from the sides. (Outer space, he pointed out dryly, is not known for its ambient murmurs.)”
At this point it isn’t quite clear whom to blame for the sound problems, but this type of thing has become an absolute pain in the ass. Sound off on the comments section below or give us a mighty big bellow of a rant on our Facebook page to let us know what you think! Even better if you have seen Interstellar…
Via – Film