• Wondering which camera, gear, computer, or software to buy? Ask in our Gear Guide.
  • For posts related to budget, finanace, legalities, distro, and marketing (including festivals) please post in Film Biz.
    Rule of thumb:
    Filmmaking for directors (creative)
    Film Biz for producers (buisness)

is stereo sound OK for indie short film

Status
Not open for further replies.

itsastruggle

Inactive
please oblige and let me be a wild dreamer here. if my film gets into major festivals and is even makes the long list for the oscars, will the fact my DCP is not 5.1 make a difference? is stereo acceptable for short films even for the oscars and sundance, etc? the film is dialogue driven, not a lot of sound effects. assuming the story is powerful and worthy of praise, will a solid stereo mix even be noticed vs 5.1?
 
No, if you are in the main event for one of the more major festivals you'll need a 5.1 mix. Some of the major festivals have out of competition showings, in local bars, cafes, the foyer etc., and in that case stereo would be fine but actually screening in a cinema, you'll need a 5.1 mix. The only possible exception is documentaries which are occasionally in 3.0 (but usually 5.1).

You should be aware that the stereo effect/illusion doesn't work in a cinema. If you sit in the exact middle of the cinema stereo sounds how you would expect but either side of the centre line and it will sound like all the sound is only coming out of the speaker you're sitting nearest to. So if you're sitting to the right of the cinema it will sound like all the sound is only coming out of the right speaker. Audiences don't like that, we see a character centre screen but we hear their dialogue coming from 30ft away to the far right. So yes, unless you're sitting along the centre line, you'll hear a big difference between stereo and 5.1, regardless of sound effects.

Lastly, no, stereo is a consumer format, film is not (and has never been) stereo. The Oscars are awards for film and therefore stereo is not accepted. For this reason, the Oscar qualifying festivals generally won't accept even shorts in stereo, with the exception noted above.

G
 
Last edited:

itsastruggle

Inactive
3.1

No, if you are in the main event for one of the more major festivals you'll need a 5.1 mix. Some of the major festivals have out of competition showings, in local bars, cafes, the foyer etc., and in that case stereo would be fine but actually screening in a cinema, you'll need a 5.1 mix. The only possible exception is documentaries which are occasionally in 3.0 (but usually 5.1).

You should be aware that the stereo effect/illusion doesn't work in a cinema. If you sit in the exact middle of the cinema stereo sounds how you would expect but either side of the centre line and it will sound like all the sound is only coming out of the speaker you're sitting nearest to. So if you're sitting to the right of the cinema it will sound like all the sound is only coming out of the right speaker. Audiences don't like that, we see a character centre screen but we hear their dialogue coming from 30ft away to the far right. So yes, unless you're sitting along the centre line, you'll hear a big difference between stereo and 5.1, regardless of sound effects.

Lastly, no, stereo is a consumer format, film is not (and has never been) stereo. The Oscars are awards for film and therefore stereo is not accepted. For this reason, the Oscar qualifying festivals generally won't accept even shorts in stereo, with the exception noted above.

G

don't most DCP conversions use an algorithm to convert stereo to pseudo 3.1 in a 5.1 container? I have not seen any festival with 5.1 requirement for short and the Oscar guidelines do not state 5.1 is required, it states 5.1 is typical. Can you point to any publically available information specifically from the major festivals or oscars that validates what you are saying?
 

itsastruggle

Inactive
No, if you are in the main event for one of the more major festivals you'll need a 5.1 mix. Some of the major festivals have out of competition showings, in local bars, cafes, the foyer etc., and in that case stereo would be fine but actually screening in a cinema, you'll need a 5.1 mix. The only possible exception is documentaries which are occasionally in 3.0 (but usually 5.1).

You should be aware that the stereo effect/illusion doesn't work in a cinema. If you sit in the exact middle of the cinema stereo sounds how you would expect but either side of the centre line and it will sound like all the sound is only coming out of the speaker you're sitting nearest to. So if you're sitting to the right of the cinema it will sound like all the sound is only coming out of the right speaker. Audiences don't like that, we see a character centre screen but we hear their dialogue coming from 30ft away to the far right. So yes, unless you're sitting along the centre line, you'll hear a big difference between stereo and 5.1, regardless of sound effects.

Lastly, no, stereo is a consumer format, film is not (and has never been) stereo. The Oscars are awards for film and therefore stereo is not accepted. For this reason, the Oscar qualifying festivals generally won't accept even shorts in stereo, with the exception noted above.

G

just verified with academy 3 channel LRC is the minimum that is accepted. 5.1 is not required for short films, but you are right that stereo is not accepted. I still think the DCP conversion pseudo 3.1 in 5.1 container using the algorithm would work.
 
just verified with academy 3 channel LRC is the minimum that is accepted. 5.1 is not required for short films, but you are right that stereo is not accepted. I still think the DCP conversion pseudo 3.1 in 5.1 container using the algorithm would work.

Depends what you mean by "would work". I've done a lot of films and shorts for major festivals, in fact I finished one just last week. They are always, in my experience, in at least 5.1. An upmixing process would work, just not very well. 3.1 would also work but again, not very well. Sure, you can force your stereo mix into a mix format which fulfils the technical requirements of film but if all the other shorts in the festival were custom 5.1 mixes how do you think your upmixed 3.1 film is going to sound in comparison? Also, it's not just about the channel format, your short will also have to comply with theatrical calibration levels or it's likely to be rejected for in competition screening.

I understand you're trying to do this yourself on the cheap but there's no way around the basic requirements of what makes a film actually a film rather than just a video. If you want to make film (rather than video) then you either have to employ someone with the film equipment and know how or get the equipment yourself and learn how to do it yourself.

G
 

itsastruggle

Inactive
Depends what you mean by "would work". I've done a lot of films and shorts for major festivals, in fact I finished one just last week. They are always, in my experience, in at least 5.1. An upmixing process would work, just not very well. 3.1 would also work but again, not very well. Sure, you can force your stereo mix into a mix format which fulfils the technical requirements of film but if all the other shorts in the festival were custom 5.1 mixes how do you think your upmixed 3.1 film is going to sound in comparison? Also, it's not just about the channel format, your short will also have to comply with theatrical calibration levels or it's likely to be rejected for in competition screening.

I understand you're trying to do this yourself on the cheap but there's no way around the basic requirements of what makes a film actually a film rather than just a video. If you want to make film (rather than video) then you either have to employ someone with the film equipment and know how or get the equipment yourself and learn how to do it yourself.

G

No not trying to do it on my own at all. Already employing a professional. Just not certain its worth the time or hassle to do 5.1 for the type of film I made. That's right I called it a FILM cause that's what it is. Also, most festivals require a DCP so the idea that they are going to reject your film because its not 5.1 is absurd. You obviously are more interested in promoting an ideology rather than providing factual information. Oscars qualification accepts three channel and I think as long as its a good film any festival will be happy to accept it. I doubt a festival is going to accept a crappy "film" that's in 5.1 vs a "video" that happens to be a fantastic film that's in LRC. Most of what the "pros" are crapping out is just that, beautiful looking and sounding piles of sh*t. Just like Tangerine that was filmed on an iPhone. There are all kinds of technical snobs out there that would say its not a film if its filmed on an iphone. Well the world has spoken that it is a film and no person looking down there nose and is going to convince anyone differently.
 
Last edited:
Just not certain its worth the time or hassle to do 5.1 for the type of film I made. That's right I called it a FILM cause that's what it is.

Video is stereo, film (today) is at least 5.1.

Also, most festivals require a DCP so the idea that they are going to reject your film because its not 5.1 is absurd.

The absolute minimum for a DCP (SMPTE or DCI) is 3.0 and 5.1 is the de facto standard minimum. What's really absurd is that you want to make films but you don't want to accept what film is!

You obviously are more interested in promoting an ideology rather than providing factual information. Oscars qualification accepts three channel and I think as long as its a good film any festival will be happy to accept it.

Name a film (other than a doco) which has won or been nominated for an oscar with a 3.0 mix in the last 5 or so years. You asked a question, I gave you the answer. If you don't like the answer, why ask the question? If you think you know better than someone whose done this for a living for more than 2 decades or that I've got an agenda and am lying, the answer is simple; make your video in stereo or upmixed stereo and find out for yourself. Although, even the oscar publication you quoted states that 5.1 is typical, so good luck with that!

G
 
Last edited:

itsastruggle

Inactive
Video is stereo, film (today) is at least 5.1.



The absolute minimum for a DCP (SMPTE or DCI) is 3.0 and 5.1 is the de facto standard minimum. What's really absurd is that you want to make films but you don't want to accept what film is!



Name a film (other than a doco) which has won or been nominated for an oscar with a 3.0 mix in the last 5 or so years. You asked a question, I gave you the answer. If you don't like the answer, why ask the question? If you think you know better than someone whose done this for a living for more than 2 decades or that I've got an agenda and am lying, the answer is simple; make your video in stereo or upmixed stereo and find out for yourself. Although, even the oscar publication you quoted states that 5.1 is typical, so good luck with that!

G

As I said, just cause you have experience it doesn't mean you get to dictate what is and is not a film. As I said lots of snobby know it alls just like you didn't consider Tangerine a film because it was I phone, yet it sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars. You claimed no festival would take something that's not 5.1 that's not true. You claimed Oscars require 5.1 that's not true either. I already said that I'm doing 3.0 which is perfectly acceptable by both festivals and Oscars. Youre responses are not helpful, they are the ego driven know it all hyper masculine type a type of crap that thank God is dying. You know so much where is your Oscar. What film were you awarded your Oscar for?
 

itsastruggle

Inactive
Funny I just got a response from an actual Oscar winner on a different site.

"3.0 is your best option for the festival circuit. Take into account the majority of festivals are not outfitted with industry standard screening facilities. It's very possible if you go with 5.1 that you will find your film plays poorly because the facility is inadequate. Happens all the time even at some of the larger well-regarded festivals. Even the most expensive equipment malfunctions with age and heavy use. Go with 3.0 and, to be honest, when you create your DCP there will be very little difference between your sound and another's 5.1. Except that perhaps yours will fair better when technology fails! Good luck!"
 
As I said, just cause you have experience it doesn't mean you get to dictate what is and is not a film.

Huh? I'm not dictating anything, I'm just telling you what the standard is, as YOU asked!!

You claimed no festival would take something that's not 5.1 that's not true.

Now you're just making it up/lying, I said no such thing!! I said the MAJOR festivals, as did you in the OP! The vast majority of festivals are not the major festivals, in fact most of them aren't even really film festivals, they're really video festivals. This fact invalidates your last post because yes, with the vast majority of festivals there's a good chance a 5.1 film won't be screened correctly. This is not true with the majors though, as they are directly supported by Dolby who supply equipment and personnel for the duration of the festival to make sure the cinema is calibrated to theatrical standards.

I already said that I'm doing 3.0 which is perfectly acceptable by both festivals and Oscars.

If you think upmixeing stereo to 3.0 is perfectly acceptable, why come here and ask your question? Stop arguing, insulting and procrastinating, make your film in stereo, upmix it to 3.0 and find out for yourself, what's your problem?!

Youre responses are not helpful, they are the ego driven know it all hyper masculine type a type of crap that thank God is dying. You know so much where is your Oscar. What film were you awarded your Oscar for?

What's wrong with you, I mean seriously?!

G
 

itsastruggle

Inactive
in fact most of them aren't even really film festivals, they're really video festivals.



If you think upmixeing stereo to 3.0 is perfectly acceptable, why come here and ask your question? Stop arguing, insulting and procrastinating, make your film in stereo, upmix it to 3.0 and find out for yourself, what's your problem?!

G

Now you are trying to dictate what qualifies as a film festival. What and ego maniac. And I already said we're doing it in 3.0. Not upmixed stereo, but 3.0 done by a professional sound person.
 

itsastruggle

Inactive
They should have taught you in gradeschool, your opinion is just that your OPINION. This is ART and you don't get to dictate what is or isn't a film vs a "video" and what does and does not qualify as a legit film festival. People might respect your opinion more because of your experience, but when you give it in such a condecending manner its hard to take it seriously.

JUST FYI for any one who interested in getting an answer to this thread. The prevailing wisdom is that stereo alone is probably not adequate for most festivals, but 5.1 is not necessary either. As an oscar winner says...

"3.0 is your best option for the festival circuit. Take into account the majority of festivals are not outfitted with industry standard screening facilities. It's very possible if you go with 5.1 that you will find your film plays poorly because the facility is inadequate. Happens all the time even at some of the larger well-regarded festivals. Even the most expensive equipment malfunctions with age and heavy use. Go with 3.0 and, to be honest, when you create your DCP there will be very little difference between your sound and another's 5.1. Except that perhaps yours will fair better when technology fails! Good luck!"
 
They should have taught you in gradeschool, your opinion is just that your OPINION. This is ART and you don't get to dictate what is or isn't a film vs a "video" and what does and does not qualify as a legit film festival.

And they should have taught you at grade school the difference between fact and opinion, and before that they should have taught you to read! I've already told you that I'm not dictating anything, industry bodies (such as the SMPTE) dictate what film is, so all I'm doing is trying to explain to a wilfully ignorant idiot what the film industry has already dictated.

How could anyone beyond grade school not know that film isn't just an art but an industry? With over 120,000 cinema screens worldwide, the film industry could not function unless film were defined/standardised. Come on, you don't need to be a genius to realise this, just a minimum amount of common sense/intelligence should be enough!

Not upmixed stereo, but 3.0 done by a professional sound person.

That's funny ... really funny! Unfortunately for you, you've deliberately alienated one of the few people here who could've explained why it's so funny.

G
 

itsastruggle

Inactive
You're an ego maniac. Looking at your other posts you have a history of being the biggest know it all douche in the room. Bye loser.
 
please oblige and let me be a wild dreamer here. if my film gets into major festivals and is even makes the long list for the oscars, will the fact my DCP is not 5.1 make a difference? is stereo acceptable for short films even for the oscars and sundance, etc? the film is dialogue driven, not a lot of sound effects. assuming the story is powerful and worthy of praise, will a solid stereo mix even be noticed vs 5.1?

Cannot speak to Sundance or the Oscars, and never intend to. But I can speak to just about everything else from a "boots currently on the ground in the midst of a film festival circuit run" perspective.

Stereo is perfectly acceptable.

Also worth noting we have never been selected or nominated at a festival that screened in a "bar or a cafe". Yikes. These are all very real theaters and cineplexes - and our little stereo effort shook the room. Most recently at the Charlie Chaplin on the Raleigh backlot. A 4k DLP with 7.1 capability... made a 1080p (2:35:1) stereo piece sing and dance. Still have chills.

Couple notes though. (a) It's just a short. (b) We worked very hard dialing in our sound design and have a couple few decades of experience in the studio under our belt to this end. (c) The mid-tier festivals rarely require DCP (yet) so I haven't had to deal with that nightmare/cost.

Best of luck.
 
Last edited:
You're an ego maniac. Looking at your other posts you have a history of being the biggest know it all douche in the room. Bye loser.

Except I'm provably not a loser, I work in film (and video, incidentally) for a living and have done for many years. Your ignorant opinion is worthless and it's obvious who the loser is going to be, only you're too dumb and up yourself to realise it!

Knock yourself out maintaining your insults, ignorance, stupidity and cutting off your nose to spite your face! I've got better things to do with my time than wasting any more of it on the likes of you.

G
 
Stereo is perfectly acceptable.

Stereo is not "perfectly acceptable", it's an actual requirement, because many festivals can't play anything but stereo! However, according to the OP we're not talking about many festivals, we're talking about the major festivals and Oscar requirements, and they require actual film specification content, not video. Did you not read the thread before posting?

Also worth noting we have never been selected or nominated at a festival that screened in a "bar or a cafe". Yikes.

Yes, you've said you're apparently not interested in festivals like Cannes.

G
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top