Dolby: The Truth

From Dolby’s website, I glean a whole heap of interesting information. Including the following…

Dolby SR = Dolby Spectral Recording
This is analog (as opposed to digital) sound. It is recorded next to the sprocket holes and the picture on a negative. Four channels of sound–front, centre, left and surround (LCRS)–can be mixed and encoded as two channels on the final film print. The surround track refers to one channel of sound that comes from the side and/or rear speaker or speakers.

Dolby SRD = Dolby Spectral Recording Digital
This is (wait for it) digital sound. It is recorded between the sprocket holes adjacent to the analog tracks. If it fails, the sound automatically switches to the analog Dolby SR recording. Up to six channels (5.1) are recorded–front left, front right, surround (side and rear) left, surround (side and rear) right, centre and low frequencies (0.1 of a track as played back by the subwoofer)–in a digital surround mix.

What have I got on Last Train? Dolby SR. ie. an analog surround sound mix, with LCRS tracks encoded as Dolby. That’s on the 35mm print. The video, of course, still has no sound because the DAT is still missing. The latest is that they are going to try to make a new DAT using the sound on the 35mm print. I will go in and listen to see if it’s okay.

Points: the print HAS got surround sound. The lab tells me one thing and then another and then another. The master sound mix is still missing…

What have I got on Fate & Fortune? A non-Dolby mix with LCR tracks and no surround.

Points: Will it make a difference? Will anyone care? More importantly I need to (a) phone the lab to make sure it will play out on theater systems if it’s not Dolby encoded and (b) I need to make sure I get at least two back-up copies of the DAT made before I give it to the next lab. If (a) turns out to be impossible, then we are back to getting it mixed again…

September 5th

Good news: I had a phone call from the rerecording mixer this morning to say he has found the master tape for Last Train and can make a new DAT for the lab people. There is much rejoicing.