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Brant Biles and Bob Margouleff
Mi Casa Multimedia Inc.


Brant Biles and Bob Margouleff (pictured right) of Mi Casa Multimedia, Inc. answered some questions after their seminar with co-presenter Steve Parr on how film audio is mixed for DVD. Among other things, Mi Casa handles the soundtracks for DVD movie transfers. Brant and Bob's basic philosophy when mixing for DVD is that DVD has a different audience, and hence different expectations than a theater audience. DVD is watched at home in smaller rooms with a few people, whereas theaters project films for hundreds of viewers in a very large room. Therefore, they usually extensively remix and remaster film audio when producing DVDs.

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Brant and Bob gave several examples of the differences between a commercial theater and a home theater and how they mixed DVD audio as a result. Often, a theater's sound system is much less sensitive and low-resolution than a home theater's, because of inferior equipment, or ambient noise levels, or scale, so anomalies that go unnoticed in a theater become painfully apparent at home. They also eschew the use of THX re-equalization, and mix their soundtracks such that re-EQ is unnecessary upon playback. In fact, they recommend turning off re-EQ when watching one of their DVD productions.

Mi Casa is also notable in that all of their two-channel soundtracks are downmixed from the 5.1 source with Lexicon's Logic 7 and accordingly are Logic 7 encoded, so playing back the two-channel soundtrack on a Lexicon processor or Harman/Kardon receiver with Logic 7 will recover much of the original 5.1 discrete soundtrack experience. Brant noted with some irony that the chances of a Lexicon owner actually using the 2-channel soundtrack rather than the 5.1 soundtrack are rather small.

Apparently, the Lexicon DC-1 at Mi Casa is kept quite busy doing other things as well; Brant hinted that some of its music processing modes are used to produce surround versions of two channel music stems (individual sources within a surround soundtrack mix) for some DVD transfers. A complete list of the DVDs transferred by Mi Casa can be found on their website - http://www.micasamm.com/ - in the Filmography section. []

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Show report last updated: 7th September 2003.

 

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