Friday, September 24, 2004

Fans Discover Glitch in 'Star Wars' DVD Soundtrack

"Fans of John Williams are up in arms over an apparent glitch in the new Star Wars DVD set in which the left and right channels fed to the rear speakers in surround sound are reversed in the original Star Wars movie (Episode 4). John Takis, who frequently analyzes film scores for Internet groups, points out that the violins can be heard coming from the left surround-sound speakers and the cellos from the left. 'It is essentially a 124-minute audio glitch,' Takis writes on the John Williams fansite, 'The sound effects are correctly positioned in the surround channels. It's just the music that's backwards.' Takis also takes issue with other aspects of the sound mix for the original movie. 'Remember the awesome fanfare version of the Force theme that kicks off the Death Star battle?' he writes 'Good luck hearing it this time around -- it's virtually inaudible.' "

This glitch has already been discussed at length at the Home Theater Forum in this thread as well as others. The Digital Bits published Lucasfilms' response:

"We are always impressed with how closely fans listen to the many different sound mixes we have made for the Star Wars movies over the years. It is flattering to know that, indeed, the audience is listening. Consequently, each mix comes out differently and any changes that you hear on the all-new Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX tracks on the Star Wars Trilogy DVD set are deliberate creative decisions. We can confirm that there are no technical glitches as reported."

We'll see what happens. The argument is: if reversing the music cues in the surround channels was a brilliant, "deliberate creative decision," then why didn't they make the same brilliant decision for Empire and Jedi?

Honestly, I was already aware of the problem when I watched the DVDs. There were a few times when I could tell that this had happened, but I am certain that I would have never noticed it if I hadn't already known. Bottom line in my book, it's not that big of a deal. There was a similar issue with the Back To The Future Trilogy. There were several parts of BTTF: Parts 2 & 3 which had been misframed for the DVD release. Universal set up an exchange program where you sent in the discs for 2 & 3 and received back in the mail corrected copies of the discs. I doubt that I would have noticed the misframing in BTTF, but since they were offering the exchange, I sent mine in and got my replacements without any problem. I'll take the same approach to Star Wars. If they offer to correct the problem, fine. If not, fine.

No comments: