The immense Bass in hollywood films .....???

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The immense Bass in hollywood films .....???

Post by Funky40 » Fri Jul 06, 2018 3:30 pm

The immense Bass in hollywood films .....???
is it just a thing of mixing everything with much lower levels than normal,
and then just raising the gain of the Bass ?
(leaving preceding compression and EQing of the Audio signals out for the above question )


is just started watching "Spectral" on Netflix.
i "listen thru my shitty red Tannoy-passive, but even on those is the Bass immense. ......as in nearly any other Sci-Fi etc. production
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Post by subbasshead » Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:01 pm

is it just a thing of mixing everything with much lower levels than normal, and then just raising the gain of the Bass ?
No, not at all. Nothing in a film mix is 'generalised' - every moment is carefully created
Mixing on a film dub stage is also done at a calibrated level dictated by Dolby.
And it is the same level that, in theory, a film will play back at in a Dolby approved cinema.

But thats just the mix side of things, there is no single answer to how the sub bass is achieved in a film
as it is achieved via multiple means (and this is probably a question better asked in the Gearslutz post forum
where there are many more film sound designers & mixers) but here are a few ideas...

content
the sound designer/s and sound effects editors record, manipulate and create sounds with subbass components
where applicable, and this will likely include specifically .1 material...
Whether its recording specific sounds at high sample rate & repitching/slowing down/filtering...
or layering bass heavy elements... or recording with mcis capable of capturing low freq (MKH8020 go down to 10Hz)
or processing - historically the dbx 120 subharmonic synth was used to add/accentuate bottom end, which generates low frequency
material an octave below what its fed, with option/control over subharmonics... Closest with plugins is the LowEnder plugin which is
modelled on the dbx unit. They will be working in studio with calibrated 5.1 or 7.1 monitors, so they know what they create will
translate to the dub stage... Or course it is also a lot about aesthetics, and what the director wants...


predubs
complex scenes, moments, components are premixed to multiple stems (5.1 or 7.1) which may involve augmenting bottom end
& LFE content via processing on the dub stage... So they are premixing at correct Dolby monitoring level...
Dynamics of individual content is of course also managed at this point to a degree...


final mix
The dub/mix stage is calibrated to a Dolby approved mix level, so the mixers and director know that if the final mix is
played back in a properly calibrated cinema it will translate.
Balance decisions are made scene by scene, moment by moment combining the hundreds and hundreds of tracks of
material and stems (DX, MX, FX)
In the end it is the directors call on how a scene plays, but the rerecording mixers (usually three, one handles Dialogue & ADR,
one Music, and the other FX, Ambiences, Foley) work through following their instincts on story, drama etc and direction...
Many, many passes on the mix of each scene are made, with screenings of individual sections and the entire film, with
days of mix revisions and updates...
The schedule for premixes & final mix on a small film might be 2-4 weeks, on a big film it might 2-4 months
of up to 12-16 hour days, 7 days a week...
Once the final mix has been signed off by the director, the mixers print final stems DX, MX, FX

print mastering
The stems are then print mastered/combined to a single stem... And then also down mixed for other delivery mediums...




When you think of how long the physical waveform is for a bass heavy sound, especially sub bass, you can appreciate the
only places you properly experience it is (1) in real life (2) on a film dub stage (3) at a concert or night club...
Its partly room size and partly having accurate powerful subwoofers & amps than can deliver such low frequencies

The fact you still perceive heavy sub bass on smaller speakers is really about the remastering that is done after the film mix is delivered.

Here is the local film dub stage which has 640 channels of PT HDX playback & full Dolby Atmos monitoring
http://www.parkroad.co.nz/sound/

And this is a useful thread about room calibration for post/sound design
http://duc.avid.com/showthread.php?t=87830

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Post by criticalmonkey » Sat Jul 07, 2018 12:14 am

on the content side it is all about keeping the frequency space clean - fundamental and overtones of it - thus you get reproduction on a range of speakers and all that focused power...
very easy to create a mess in low end/mix by not having it all working together -

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Post by subbasshead » Sat Jul 07, 2018 1:23 am

true.... and same goes for dynamics

Worth a read is this article by Walter Murch: Dense Clarity - Clear Density

https://transom.org/2005/walter-murch/#part-2

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Post by Funky40 » Sun Jul 08, 2018 6:59 pm

subbasshead wrote: When you think of how long the physical waveform is for a bass heavy sound, especially sub bass, you can appreciate the
only places you properly experience it is (1) in real life (2) on a film dub stage (3) at a concert or night club...
Its partly room size and partly having accurate powerful subwoofers & amps than can deliver such low frequencies
i hear it in my ( very shitty ) Room, 15m2, on my shitty old red Tannoys.
Thats what baffles me !
.....and this would take out some points of the above equation me thinks.

and the film passages i had in mind were quite simple ones.
The Bass ( Subbass ? ) has huge power. i never heard that from my music.
i see the point of keeping the frequenzy spectrum clean, but when you deal with very simple signals vs. a whole orchestration of noises is that aspect also less pronounced i´d guess.

i still can´t see what else then keeping all gains lower than normal that one could emphasize the bass more than normal could be the solution.
but you tell me its not this ?
but just the whole sum of "all that clean professional work" "according to the full art of mixing" etc. ?


So, you just told me then that i won´t achive that then, haha. ;)

Much thanks that you took that time for that long explanation, subbasshead !
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Post by subbasshead » Sun Jul 08, 2018 7:07 pm

Try reading the part about content again.
Most of the sub bass is created by sound effects editors and sound designers using techniques I described, it often is not coming from score/music... (heavy sub bass from music & sound design at same time would be a sure fire train wreck - such choices are made by the rerecording mixers & director)

And no doubt you can make your speakers produce bass/sub bass to a degree,
the question is whether that bass will then ever play as you heard it, on other peoples systems....
perhaps play a low freq sweep down to 10Hz and see what your speakers are actually playing you?
It may be low freq distortion you are getting off on...

But what I don't quite get is that if you are convinced it is so easily achievable, why dont you just do it?
Last edited by subbasshead on Sun Jul 08, 2018 10:01 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Post by Reese P. Dubin » Sun Jul 08, 2018 7:14 pm

Regardless of the tech specifics, all this mega bass is utterly played out, generic and incredibly annoying.

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Post by dubonaire » Sun Jul 08, 2018 8:22 pm

Interesting thread. Thanks subbasshead.

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Post by subbasshead » Sun Jul 08, 2018 9:58 pm

"all this mega bass is utterly played out"

Totally agree... it is a cliche
But thankfully it is only symptomatic of a certain kind of film...

but funny when you also think of such cliches related to music genres
I remember when (yeech) Lord of the Rings came out & they had that big bass drop at a certain point...
for some people it seemed to be a big deal, but that exact same sound had been a cliche of drum & bass for a few years prior...


Whats even worse are the fckng trailer booms!
They dont seem to care what genre or style of film it is,
quiet emotional drama... dialogue dialogue BOOM

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Post by dubonaire » Sun Jul 08, 2018 11:26 pm

Even though it's a cliche, I must confess to enjoying the sound in a big Imax theatre. Where I live we almost only get blockbusters so I have surrendered to the genre. But I do sit in the Imax cinema and marvel at the sound. The soundtrack to Dunkirk was awesome.

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Post by Funky40 » Mon Jul 09, 2018 4:37 pm

subbasshead wrote: the question is whether that bass will then ever play as you heard it, on other peoples systems....
absolutely !
...whatever i do in music, it just has to sound nice here in my room, haha ;)

subbasshead wrote: It may be low freq distortion you are getting off on...
thats an interesting point !
if its so, it would be a step forward for me to get aware *of this* ;)
need to turn to this one.......

subbasshead wrote: But what I don't quite get is that if you are convinced it is so easily achievable, why dont you just do it?
it was just a thought ! the most logic one to me ;) not directly saying it was easy ;)
I have allready an idea how pros work.
on the other side have i had my observations in my jamms and i came quite far......just not THAT far ;)

unfortunately i can´t sit down on the DAW and draw automation lines, one by the other.
health issues based on computer sitting.............
so i´m limited to work simple.



Subbasshead, Thanks again !







What sense it makes to do such subbass music is then another topic ;)
i think its about to feel where which sound suits..............some few guys got it definitly right.
some definitly not. my opinion
( watching films since 3-4 years again after a period of beeing totally off of TV / video/ cinema for 12 years or so )
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Post by hsosdrum » Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:02 am

subbasshead wrote:true.... and same goes for dynamics

Worth a read is this article by Walter Murch: Dense Clarity - Clear Density

https://transom.org/2005/walter-murch/#part-2
Thanks for this link, subbasshead. Murch's thoughts are always fascinating, and always provoke many more thoughts.

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Post by VanEck » Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:11 am

dubonaire wrote:Even though it's a cliche, I must confess to enjoying the sound in a big Imax theatre. Where I live we almost only get blockbusters so I have surrendered to the genre. But I do sit in the Imax cinema and marvel at the sound. The soundtrack to Dunkirk was awesome.
absolutely. i always pay the extra money and drive the extra 30 minutes it takes me to get to the IMAX theater, mainly because i love the sound system in real IMAX theaters. i've had too many cinematic experiences ruined by crap sound systems in normal theaters... no bass, straining to hear the vocals, blown out speakers, etc. IMAX is always booming and clear and the bass is always on point. totally worth it.
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Post by Lysene » Thu Aug 02, 2018 11:39 am

re: "why does it sound so huge in the cinema" I think my 2 cents would be that it's because of the (sonic) context

- your productions (I assume) and most other musical contexts within which sub bass exists often feature beats and other upfront sounds. often cinematic scores eschew such things for atmospherics and soundscapey things coupled with massive sub (layered with midrange stuff as others have already said). I think it is the space created by the lack of transient midrange material that allows the bass so much prominence and therefore *relative* weight.

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Post by mt3 » Thu Aug 02, 2018 9:40 pm

subbasshead wrote:"all this mega bass is utterly played out"

for some people it seemed to be a big deal, but that exact same sound had been a cliche of drum & bass for a few years prior...
A fetish fantasy of mine is to hear a lot of the modern sound design DnB in an iMax theatre.
:loves:
:fap:

[video][/video]

[video][/video]

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Post by subbasshead » Fri Aug 03, 2018 6:34 pm

"because of the (sonic) context "

Context is everything!
But the context is primarily related to expressing/supporting the story or action of the film
the sonic context only exists for that reason, not vice versa, and changes constantly through moments, scenes, acts and the film

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Post by mt3 » Sun Aug 05, 2018 2:30 pm

[video][/video]

Forgot to mention the live tours for these blokes are insane. Has a Cirque de Soleil meets IMAX meets 3d shooter feel.
Crazy.

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Post by cretaceousear » Sun Nov 04, 2018 3:00 pm

Bit late to this but anyone interested in movie sound tracks should check out this BBC documentary series by Neil Brand - Sound of Cinema: The Music That Made the Movies
Four episodes I think - not sure how many are on You Tube
Interviews with Murch and plenty of others

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNRZFZEyTLI
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Post by Chevron87 » Mon Nov 26, 2018 6:32 am

I know I love it too, I assume they spend a lot of time getting it right in mixing, and use some of the low end enhancers like Waves R-Bass, Lo Air or UAD Little Labs Voice of God, BX Sub Filter etc

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Post by idontknow » Tue Nov 27, 2018 5:13 am

subbasshead wrote:true.... and same goes for dynamics

Worth a read is this article by Walter Murch: Dense Clarity - Clear Density

https://transom.org/2005/walter-murch/#part-2
Well, that was a great read, thanks !

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