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Man, I need subtitles for my native language!


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#1 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 01:26 AM

Has anybody noticed that acting in features has progressed to a naturalism or realism,
depending on how one defines those, that seems to be at least partially responsible
for actors mumbling?

Audio recording technology must be as good as it's ever been but I'm amazed at
the number of decently budgeted, well done films in which I can't understand
certain words or lines of dialogue. I have fairly good hearing but I often resort to
backing up and hitting the subtitle feature on the DVD to see what was said and
I'm surprised at how often the inaudible words/lines are key to the stories!

This occurs in other cases than Method actors mumbling. In the voiceover to the
beginning of "Sense and Sensibility" for example, I played it back on a suspicion
that I had missed something and I was surprised how much.

If you believe that my hearing is decent and that I know how to use the volume
control, what's up with this? Have you noticed this?
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#2 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 02:15 AM

Some people have the ability and others don't, it not usually a question of intelligence. With me, it usually happens with dialect heavy films from the UK. I was watching "The Navigators" by Ken Loach once, and I definitely needed subtitles for most of the Yorkshire banter that goes on. Same goes for bits of "The Wind that Shakes the Barley"
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#3 David Sweetman

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 03:14 AM

Do a google search for "mumblecore." It's a filmmaking "movement" (though it seems many are reluctant to call it that) which is apparently just a bunch of indie films where people talk quietly. I read an article which alleged the whole movement was developed by South x Southwest to boost ticket sales by making patrons feel there were part of some kind of scene.
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#4 Matt Pacini

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 03:24 PM

Great.
Just like the "Dogme" crap, we have something that makes the film watching experience irritating, but it's considered "cool". I think giving it a title only legitimizes it, like "Dogme" did for simply intentional ameturish bad filmmaking technique.

I love this scrap from the Wiki definition of mumblecore:
"...Film journalists have also used the terms "bedhead cinema" and "Slackavettes"

MP
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#5 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 03:41 PM

Audio recording technology must be as good as it's ever been but I'm amazed at
the number of decently budgeted, well done films in which I can't understand
certain words or lines of dialogue. I have fairly good hearing but I often resort to
backing up and hitting the subtitle feature on the DVD to see what was said and
I'm surprised at how often the inaudible words/lines are key to the stories!

If you believe that my hearing is decent and that I know how to use the volume
control, what's up with this? Have you noticed this?


Well, isn't it the same with pop and rock music?

It seems that only jazz singers are capable of proper enunciation.

At least if one's listening to operas or oratorios in a language one doesn't speak, one goes in knowing one won't understand the words, so can treat the voices as another musical instrument.
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#6 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 09:11 PM

Thanks for someone finally bringing this up!

I recently watched predominantly features from the 1930 to the mid-1960s for a project, and was actually astonished how good the acting and pronounciation is despite lesser audio recording means and of course a more theatrical acting and theatre stage-inspired mis-en-scene (which many "cine-hipsters" would describe as "wooden").

As English is my third language, I really have, however, increasingly problems following mumblerama features of recent provenience where you have essentially flat actors playing so-called "realistic characters" in "natural settings" with Oliver Wood-style camera work, all the while you have preposterous visual effects, let alone wire action happening which I - as a "realistic character" of my life story - encounter every day in my own realistic environment...

As if cinema and cinematography itself would be all about "reality"?!
It's exactly the contrary, as it is about being an artform, but I fear that this notion gets more and more lost with every new year passing since December 1895...

After this post, I really am now lusting after a Cary Grant & Catherine Hepburn flick...
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#7 Eldon Stevens

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 11:07 PM

Tim, this is something I've been doing for the past three years or so, and my hearing is just fine.

If there's a film or show that I really like, I usually watch it three times in succession. Once with subtitles, to get the dialogue, once without, because then you know the dialogue and can concentrate on the story and characters, then again without subtitles while attempting to analyze the filmmaker's tactics as regards to special effects, sound effects, and (of course) cinematography.

And I have noticed that all of that isn't really necessary with older movies like Shop Around The Corner, The Philadelphia Story, even His Girl Friday, where the actors must've taken speedtalking lessons before the shoot.

At first I thought it was due to the sound systems in theaters being so different than home theater systems. They really seem to boom the dialogue at you in the theater. But after paying closer attention, I've seen a few films in theaters where that wasn't the case. I dunno. So many variables. I shrug and quote Lucas: Sound is 50% of the experience. Whatayagonnado.

And so I'm going through the Firefly series (it was a TV show) and there are 14 episodes, which represent about a 30+ hour commitment. Will take me three weeks at least....
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#8 Matt Pacini

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 05:22 PM

I'm just taking a WAG here (wild-ass guess), but I think perhaps one problem is that a lot of actors think METHOD ACTING = MUMBLE LIKE BRANDO.

I think I'm just going to start shutting off movies that have mumbling, and give them the worst NetFlix star rating possible.
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