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Not Just Us-not hearing dialogue in new movies


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Article by Ann Hornaday in Washington Post discusses the increasing difficulty in hearing dialogue in new movies.  It's intentional on the part of the directors and producers to add loud music, sound effects and background chatter.  And the actors do intentionally garble their speech.

Another reason why I prefer movies from the '70's and earlier.  The directors made sure that dialogue was heard and that the actors could speak clearly.

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I just read that same article a few hours ago, and found myself nodding in recognition.  I think this all began with the mob movies of the 70's, where the gangsters often talked in hushed voices in order to convey the fact that they didn't need to shout to be feared.  Of course the master of this was Don Corleone.

 

Hornaday also made a comparison between the background noise in movies and the noise and bad acoustics in many newer restaurants, where you can barely hear yourself think.  It was also a point well taken.

 

BTW here's the article:

Critic’s notebook: ‘Interstellar’s’ sonic soup or: How auteurs diss their audiences
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Article by Ann Hornaday in Washington Post discusses the increasing difficulty in hearing dialogue in new movies.  It's intentional on the part of the directors and producers to add loud music, sound effects and background chatter.  And the actors do intentionally garble their speech.

Another reason why I prefer movies from the '70's and earlier.  The directors made sure that dialogue was heard and that the actors could speak clearly.

I agree. Remember when actors, television or movies, e-nun-ci-ated? Never MIND songs, when Sinatra e-nun-ci-ated every single word.

 

Much like the news articles on the internet where NO ONE is proofreading, I wonder who is doing the final production on television. If I hear one more supposedly intelligent anchor insert a LIKE, as in, well he was like, and well, I like, I'll scream. I recently tried to watch a very interesting article on a local PBS channel, and the music was louder than the dialogue throughout the entire show!

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Hornaday also made a comparison between the background noise in movies and the noise and bad acoustics in many newer restaurants, where you can barely hear yourself think.  It was also a point well taken.

 

 

Part of the problem with restaurants is that many (most?) use too many solid surfaces, such as hard floors, walls and ceilings.  Nothing to absorb all the sounds.  Especially true when they go in an "renovate" and old building to use as a restaurant.

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Yeah, sure.  Draperies, soft wall covering materials and carpeting do much to absorb all the "ambient" sound such as echoing, "slapback" and sometimes flanging.

 

But that's in REAL life, and we're discussing movies here.

 

It MAY have a bit to do with the director trying to get the "realistic" vibe in a scene.  It may be his/her own cynical cinematic sneer at that reality that often, too many eateries now play the "music as background/backdrop" too loud these days.  My wife too, has had a couple of mini-strokes in the recent past, and it has affected her speech.  She doesn't SLUR her words as much as she can't PROJECT her voice as well as before.  And when we go out to even a not so fancy "family" type restaraunt, the sattelite radio is cranked enough to make it hard to HEAR her. 

 

In some movies, especially those directed by M. Knight Shama-lama( or whatever), the dialouge is soken so hushed that there need NOT be ANY ambient background noise in the scene to make it hard to hear!

 

And yes, I too, have noticed a diminishing adherence to the need for "enunciation"!

 

 

Sepiatone

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Part of the problem with restaurants is that many (most?) use too many solid surfaces, such as hard floors, walls and ceilings.  Nothing to absorb all the sounds.  Especially true when they go in an "renovate" and old building to use as a restaurant.

And it's actually all quite deliberate.  The Washington Post's restaurant reviews include the decibel level in its writeups and ratings, and the vast majority are deemed in the "conversation difficult" or louder category.  When it gets to this point, it becomes much more than a coincidence.

 

Fortunately, it's a problem with an easy solution:  Don't go to those places.  Avoid restaurants where you can't hear yourself think, and avoid movies that mumble and drown you with background noise.  Use the money you've saved to do a hundred much more enjoyable things.

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And it's actually all quite deliberate.  The Washington Post's restaurant reviews include the decibel level in its writeups and ratings, and the vast majority are deemed in the "conversation difficult" or louder category.  When it gets to this point, it becomes much more than a coincidence.

 

Fortunately, it's a problem with an easy solution:  Don't go to those places.  Avoid restaurants where you can't hear yourself think, and avoid movies that mumble and drown you with background noise.  Use the money you've saved to do a hundred much more enjoyable things.

Why would restaurants want to make conversation difficult? That seems counterproductive to an enjoyable meal - but what do I know.

 

I stopped going to movie theaters ages ago - before there was the problem of cell phones, never mind ear blasting sounds and music.

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Why would restaurants want to make conversation difficult? That seems counterproductive to an enjoyable meal - but what do I know.

 

It's insane to a normal person, but read this earlier article and you'll see some of the thinking behind it.

No Appetite for Noise

 

Some restaurants want the volume turned up. One of the few attempts at noise reduction at the new Westend Bistro by Eric Ripert is a glass partition separating the bar from the dining room. General manager Gonzague Muchery says the restaurant's casual concept demands a certain liveliness in the room, which measured an uncomfortable 80 decibels in a recent sound check. Like other restaurants, Westend Bistro has installed a sophisticated sound system and serenades its patrons with music that is programmed to start mellow and get jazzier as the night wears on.

 

The trouble is, once you fill the place with diners, it's hard to tell what's playing.

Even so, Muchery doesn't think the noise at Westend Bistro is a problem. He says he hasn't received a single complaint about it since the restaurant opened.....

 

FOR ALL THE DINERS WHO DON'T LIKE NOISE, there are plenty of people who look forward to some buzz with their Wagyu burger.

 

Janice Carnevale felt as if she had to whisper when she dined in a snug upstairs room at 1789 in Georgetown. "I don't like it when everyone around me can hear what I'm saying," says the 27-year-old wedding consultant from Falls Church. She much prefers the "dull roar" and "revelry" of a louder restaurant. Plus, "If my husband and I don't have a lot to talk about," she says, a noisy restaurant allows her a little anonymity and the chance to zone out. "I talk to people all day long."

 

"It's a double-edged sword," says Zagat, the dining guide founder. If a restaurant is hushed, "a lot of people feel it's dead."

 

Parents often seek out loud restaurants for a different reason. "I can dine out with my infant and never get dirty looks for the occasional squawk or utensil banging," one mom explained during an online chat.

 

And most restaurateurs don't seem all that worried about the decibel level in their bars and dining rooms. From the moment he opened Rasika three years ago, Ashok Bajaj knew he had a noisy venue on his hands. The floors were wood, and the bar was paved with stone tiles. To soften any blows, he'd had the walls covered in orange fabric, but it wasn't enough to dampen the volume of a full house. Sound experts came in to look at the problem; they recommended more fabric and acoustic tiles.

 

Ultimately, the restaurateur opted not to change the interior: The vibe, after all, was intentional. "I wanted a place with buzz," Bajaj explains. He also hoped to distinguish it from his more traditional Indian restaurant near the White House, Bombay Club. While some diners at Rasika told him they didn't like the din, Bajaj says he queried upwards of 70 patrons in all age groups, and the message he says he heard was: "Don't change it. If we wanted a quiet restaurant, we'd go to the Bombay Club.

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Article by Ann Hornaday in Washington Post discusses the increasing difficulty in hearing dialogue in new movies.  It's intentional on the part of the directors and producers to add loud music, sound effects and background chatter.  And the actors do intentionally garble their speech.

Another reason why I prefer movies from the '70's and earlier.  The directors made sure that dialogue was heard and that the actors could speak clearly.

Somehow, the earliest film that comes to mind in which the dialogue was intentionally made difficult to understand was MCCABE AND MRS. MILLER

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Why would restaurants want to make conversation difficult? That seems counterproductive to an enjoyable meal - but what do I know.

 

It's insane to a normal person, but read this earlier article and you'll see some of the thinking behind it.

No Appetite for Noise

 

Some restaurants want the volume turned up. One of the few attempts at noise reduction at the new Westend Bistro by Eric Ripert is a glass partition separating the bar from the dining room. General manager Gonzague Muchery says the restaurant's casual concept demands a certain liveliness in the room, which measured an uncomfortable 80 decibels in a recent sound check. Like other restaurants, Westend Bistro has installed a sophisticated sound system and serenades its patrons with music that is programmed to start mellow and get jazzier as the night wears on.

 

The trouble is, once you fill the place with diners, it's hard to tell what's playing.

Even so, Muchery doesn't think the noise at Westend Bistro is a problem. He says he hasn't received a single complaint about it since the restaurant opened.....

 

FOR ALL THE DINERS WHO DON'T LIKE NOISE, there are plenty of people who look forward to some buzz with their Wagyu burger.

 

Janice Carnevale felt as if she had to whisper when she dined in a snug upstairs room at 1789 in Georgetown. "I don't like it when everyone around me can hear what I'm saying," says the 27-year-old wedding consultant from Falls Church. She much prefers the "dull roar" and "revelry" of a louder restaurant. Plus, "If my husband and I don't have a lot to talk about," she says, a noisy restaurant allows her a little anonymity and the chance to zone out. "I talk to people all day long."

 

"It's a double-edged sword," says Zagat, the dining guide founder. If a restaurant is hushed, "a lot of people feel it's dead."

 

Parents often seek out loud restaurants for a different reason. "I can dine out with my infant and never get dirty looks for the occasional squawk or utensil banging," one mom explained during an online chat.

 

And most restaurateurs don't seem all that worried about the decibel level in their bars and dining rooms. From the moment he opened Rasika three years ago, Ashok Bajaj knew he had a noisy venue on his hands. The floors were wood, and the bar was paved with stone tiles. To soften any blows, he'd had the walls covered in orange fabric, but it wasn't enough to dampen the volume of a full house. Sound experts came in to look at the problem; they recommended more fabric and acoustic tiles.

 

Ultimately, the restaurateur opted not to change the interior: The vibe, after all, was intentional. "I wanted a place with buzz," Bajaj explains. He also hoped to distinguish it from his more traditional Indian restaurant near the White House, Bombay Club. While some diners at Rasika told him they didn't like the din, Bajaj says he queried upwards of 70 patrons in all age groups, and the message he says he heard was: "Don't change it. If we wanted a quiet restaurant, we'd go to the Bombay Club.

Fascinating. Guess I'll quit complaining about the bad acoustics in most restaurants I frequent. Who knew they wanted it that way?

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And you know what "kids" do? (at least the teen I know) They turn on the closed captioning on the TV to READ the dialogue! I get angry that TikiKid reads her way through movies because I want her to learn to LISTEN and absorb conversation nuances.

 

Oh well, all that reading has made her very open to foreign & silent films, which she enjoys. That's more than can be said for my 86 y/o mother who won't watch a foreign film because she can't read that fast. Heck, she can barely understand British film's dialogue!

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