January 31, 1998

I sat down in the afternoon with the VHS copy of the D2 video master, trying to get a handle on the nature of the sound problem at the reel change.  On closer listening, it appears to me that the problem is not simply a matter of a frame of sound omitted in the video transfer--it's possible that there has been a volume discrepancy between reels one and two ever since we did the sound mix, and it's gone undetected all these months because the finished reels haven't been cut together until now.  My feeling is that the reels on the whole have about the same sound volume, but that a single sound (the rustling of the bedsprings as the actors change positions) jumps in volume over the reel change.  I compared the new tape with Robin's old Avid sound track from before the mix sessions, and the sound cut is completely smooth in her Avid mix.

I guess I've learned, much too late, a reason not to place a reel break in the middle of a scene.  If the problem does indeed date back to the sound mix, then it's on the optical track and the print as well.  Even if it is, I imagine that an audio postproduction house could smooth over the problem on the D2 master tape, for a price, thus giving the VHS copies a better sound track than the projected film.  I might decide to live with the problem at this point, but I want to confirm the nature of the goof-up before I decide.

While watching a 16mm print of Sirk's SUMMER STORM today, it occurred to me that my print doesn't contain those little circle marks at the end of each reel that tell the projectionist when to start the next reel.  How do those marks get there?  How will projectionists know when my reels are over?  More mysteries to ponder....

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