17 votes

Here's why movie dialogue has gotten more difficult to understand (and three ways to fix it)

11 comments

  1. [11]
    bhrgunatha
    Link
    [...] At the risk of: Old Man Yells at Cloud There's no good music any more Modern art is garbage It's not just movies, TV shows are far worse offenders. I do understand why creators want to...

    One person refused to talk to me, saying it would be "professional suicide" to address this topic on the record. Another agreed to talk, but only under the condition that they remain anonymous.

    [...]

    the gulf in quality that can sometimes occur between what a film sounds like in the mixing stages and what it can sound like when it plays in a multiplex.

    At the risk of:

    • Old Man Yells at Cloud
    • There's no good music any more
    • Modern art is garbage

    It's not just movies, TV shows are far worse offenders.

    I do understand why creators want to exploit new technology, but at the same time I'd argue the vast majority of consumers aren't using state of the art equipment.

    What drives me round the bend even more than the sound though is the excessive overused modern trend for darkness and removing the colour and draining contrast from the visuals. I'm fed up to the back teeth of grey grass and trees and everything being virtually monotone. You realise monotonous means boring right?

    We get it - the scene is emotionally dark and upsetting but I feel everyone goes way too far overboard. I seriously crave colour so much to the point that now, I'll continue watching something below par just because it is colourful and I miss the colour so much.

    "It might fall into the realm of the 'Jurassic Park' thing: they spend so much time realizing that they can do all these things, but not thinking about if they should do all these things."

    Sums it up beautifully for me.

    8 votes
    1. [5]
      the_funky_buddha
      Link Parent
      Re: Missing color. Yes, I felt, until recently, the same about videogames. Especially around the late 00s era, it seemed like the trend was brown/grey = realistic, ie, CoD4, MoH, Skyrim but...

      Re: Missing color. Yes, I felt, until recently, the same about videogames. Especially around the late 00s era, it seemed like the trend was brown/grey = realistic, ie, CoD4, MoH, Skyrim but especially military shooters and FPS were bad. In the age where just recently had the power to show off a vast array of colors, we'd have such bland and boring monotone art in games. Don't even get me started on the subsequent bloom fad. Or in both movies and games (BF3, looking at you esp), the orange and blue fad.

      But I also love color (full) in movies and games. I don't need color to set mood, we have faces for that, and music, and words, and so many other ways to express mood.

      7 votes
      1. [3]
        Thrabalen
        Link Parent
        I call Guild Wars "The Bronwening" because they start with this beautiful landscape, and then in a cutscene they render it universally beef gravy looking. I know why they did it thematically and...

        I call Guild Wars "The Bronwening" because they start with this beautiful landscape, and then in a cutscene they render it universally beef gravy looking. I know why they did it thematically and stylistically, but the end result was a game I dropped before I hit level ten because it was uninteresting and depressing.

        2 votes
        1. [2]
          Akir
          Link Parent
          The problem with most monotone designs is that they are just put in as a really cheap way to add stylistic tone to visuals. It's kind of like how new photographers get obsessed with depth-of-field...

          The problem with most monotone designs is that they are just put in as a really cheap way to add stylistic tone to visuals. It's kind of like how new photographers get obsessed with depth-of-field and bokeh shots; it suddenly becomes easy to do and so they use it everywhere. But if you use it as part of your toolkit the effect can be breathtaking. Take a look at Shadow for an example.

          (I'd normally look up a youtube clip of it to show you all but it seems they only have the actions scenes - they're good too, but the best scenes are the quiet ones of people simply talking.)

          EDIT: And then I end up looking at those results for another minute and find exactly the kind of clip I wanted to show.

          6 votes
          1. Eylrid
            Link Parent
            Shadow has a lot of contrast, which makes it visually interesting even without much color. It harkens back to old black and white movies where contrast in brightness was all they had so they...

            Shadow has a lot of contrast, which makes it visually interesting even without much color. It harkens back to old black and white movies where contrast in brightness was all they had so they really played it up.

            1 vote
    2. [5]
      lou
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      The lack of color is also unnerving for sure. Too many media nowadays have this bland pasteurized look. You realize that when you watch something from the 90s or early 2000s. Not everything must...

      The lack of color is also unnerving for sure. Too many media nowadays have this bland pasteurized look. You realize that when you watch something from the 90s or early 2000s. Not everything must be dark, grey, and gritty.

      4 votes
      1. [4]
        babypuncher
        Link Parent
        The trend these days seems to be the opposite. Movies and games are finding all kinds of excuses to throw bright vibrant colors into their presentation. The color palette shift between Guardians...

        The trend these days seems to be the opposite. Movies and games are finding all kinds of excuses to throw bright vibrant colors into their presentation. The color palette shift between Guardians of the Galaxy and its sequel really highlight this transition. 2014 was really the tail-end of movies with drab muted color palettes being the norm with very saturated and colorful presentations becoming popular. John Wick and Deadpool also exhibited this trend with their sequels.

        I think part of this trend has been driven by improving technology. Wide color gamut displays started becoming readily available to consumers about 5 years ago. This allowed filmmakers to really crank up the saturation on colorful elements without crushing some of the detail hidden within them.

        4 votes
        1. [2]
          Akir
          Link Parent
          I really doubt that consumer displays are a big consideration for most films. There's a reason why so many industry insiders were against competing against streaming films; they design them with...

          I really doubt that consumer displays are a big consideration for most films. There's a reason why so many industry insiders were against competing against streaming films; they design them with the express idea that they will be viewed in a cinema.

          But who knows, maybe they made those movies so dark specifically so it would look bad on your low-brightness-in-the-sun cell phone screen.

          4 votes
          1. babypuncher
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            It's not just consumer displays that have improved in contrast and color gamut, digital cinema projectors have too

            It's not just consumer displays that have improved in contrast and color gamut, digital cinema projectors have too

            1 vote
        2. NaraVara
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          I was watching Great British Baking Show recently and the color grading in that show is a trip in HDR. It’s like reds are way oversaturated while most of the neutral tones are under saturated. The...

          I was watching Great British Baking Show recently and the color grading in that show is a trip in HDR. It’s like reds are way oversaturated while most of the neutral tones are under saturated. The net effect is that all the brightly colored frosting or makeup ends up looking like a Roger Rabbit intrusion of cartoons into the real world.

          3 votes