Improve Audio (Dynamic EQ, LFE (Bass) Levels) in Disney Home Video Releases
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Take a recent Disney/Lucasfilm/Marvel Studios film on a home video format. Start it up, and get to a really heavy action sequence (or better yet, go to the Holdo Maneuver scene in Star Wars: The Last Jedi). Do you remember in theaters how loud that scene was and how packed with bass and rumble? Well you won't hear much anyways through your TV's speakers or if you soundbar is weak on bass in the first place. But if you have a decent subwoofer or speakers that can hit some of the lower frequencies in films, well wait, you can't really hear or feel any bass or rumble, and if you do it sounds flat and compressed. This is amplified if you have anything beyond a standard setup whether it's a stereo setup or a 9.2.4 (9 surround speakers, 2 subwoofers, 4 atmos speakers).
TLDR: Recent Disney and Co. home video releases have become notorious for Dynamic EQ and LFE levels that severely limit low frequencies. And for home theaters, it makes most of the affected films severely disappointing in the sound department.
From the guy who brought you the Marvel Studios IMAX Sequence Preservation Petiton
Who does this affect: Audiophiles, Home Theater Enthusiasts, Average Consumers, anyone who watches these movies using headphones, my subwoofer (good boy he is).
Pretty much covers it above. But there's obviously more to this story.
"But guys, why don't you just turn up the volume a bit, it should solve the problem."
While that can help diminish some of the issues, the lower frequencies are still compressed and sound flat and limited.
To help back me up, let me pull some quotes from reviews of the UHD Blu-ray releases which have the highest quality of the audio tracks (Dolby Atmos).
"Here is another recent release from Disney that has instances of questionable dynamics. Early in the film during the sequence with the guerillas in the jungle, the machine gunfire as well as the variety of point to point physical contact between the Black Panther and the bad guys have little impact. The same is true during the altercation in the casino in Korea. During that encounter Klaue blasts T’Challa with his Vibranuim blaster and that as well as T’Challa’s landing afterward sound compressed. The extended chase that follows in the streets directly after has moments where things hit harder but, there isn’t substantial depth." (AVS Forum's Review of Black Panther)
"The low-end also seems a bit throatier and tad more room-energizing than before, with the best bass moments coming during the music, song selections and in the Wakandan aircrafts. However, many of the action sequences remain lacking or don't really deliver the sort of wall-rattling punch the visuals seem to imply, such as Klaue's sonic gun in what should be the most sonically aggressive South Korea car chase sequence." (HighDef Digest's Review of Black Panther)
While I only pulled quotes from Black Panther reviews, I did so because it's easier to find right now. But the point is that it is apparent Disney will do this to pretty much every home release. And while some titles are more affected than others, it is still highly disappointing to get to an action sequence you loved in theaters to only hear it severely limited in the sound department.
Another issue is that Disney is also pre-rendering it's Dolby Atmos tracks. Most Dolby Atmos tracks are dynamic and can work for a 5.1 system to a 9.1.6 system and beyond, the only limit is how many audio objects are playing. With Disney pre-rendering them at a 7.1.4 configuration, it kinda changes how the track works. This may be trivial in the long run as most people don't even have an Atmos setup at home. But this could be part of the problem or a larger problem in the future.
To Disney, and whomever it may concern,
Please open up the EQ a little bit more and bring out the big hitting moments in your films on their home release formats. We don't care if we wake the neighbors because a good LFE impact or hit is well worth it. We enjoyed these films a lot in the theater and would like to recreate that experience to the best of our ability at home. We are fans of the films you distribute and produce, we only want the best experience possible when we watch your films.
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