The entire board of the Cinema Audio Society received this e-mail today:
To Whom It May Concern:
Please take this as positive critisism. This past weekend our family spent much time in Chicago for a weekend getaway. We sat at the condo and watched 2 excellent movies.
Problem #1: Why is it the sound mixers or sound production artists have this continual urge to make the music louder at the soft spoken portions of the movie? Isn't the object of the movie to allow us the HEAR what is being said vs commenting on how the music fits the scene or how beautiful the arrangement may be? As a person with a slight hearing impairment I missed several important portions of the movies, and so did my family members who have no hearing impairments.
So what does a resoursefull family do - heck we Google and Wikepedia for the answer to what we could not hear. Dare I say the folks from good ole' Iowa know how to conquer a bad situation?!
Here's a challenge - make a movie that we can actually hear what is going on and leave the background music as it states - BACKGROUND. Do I expect an answer to this email? Certainly would be nice, reality is that I'm' sure no one really cares. So I guess we'll just turn up the volume, keep a computer or i-pod handy and google/wiki away. And in my case, make an appointment for a hearing aid meant for watching movies.
Oh, by the way, "NEXT" and "THE GOOD SHEPHERD" were very good.
Steven and Karen Schulte
Cedar Rapids IA
Vince and Kathleene Berta
Bowling Green KY
The sad truth is that they are right about bad mixes on many movies. But they are wrong to blame it on the mixers. Sadly, it is almost always the producers of the films who argue that the music or sound effects are not loud enough. Experienced mixers know how to make room for the dialogue. But insecure producers think that young audiences need to be constantly bombarded by sound effects, and frequently they are convinced that they will sell more soundtrack albums when they overplay a song. Write your letter again, and address it to the studio exectuives!