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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Film Handlers' Forum   » Sensurround (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Sensurround
David Stambaugh
Film God

Posts: 4016
From: Eugene, Oregon
Registered: Jan 2002

 - posted 04-16-2002 08:38 PM      Profile for David Stambaugh   Author's Homepage   Email David Stambaugh   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
(This Sensurround discussion started in the "What's in your van's console?" thread)

I vaguely remember seeing something (Earthquake?) in a theater with a temporary Sensurroud installation. Was probably the original Edwards Cinema in Costa Mesa, CA. There were a bunch of large odd-looking speaker enclosures sitting on the floor in front of the screen, and big thick cables leading to them. I honestly don't remember how well it worked, but I do remember the LA Times running a story saying some Sensurround theaters were having problems with things like falling ceiling tiles, and that they had to be careful not to overdo it or they risked cracking the plaster walls (OK, I might be embellishing the part about cracks in the walls).

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Greg Mueller
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1687
From: Port Gamble, WA
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 04-16-2002 08:43 PM      Profile for Greg Mueller   Author's Homepage   Email Greg Mueller   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If you do a search on it in the archives there was quite a discussion on it a while back

Greg Mueller
Amateur Astronomer, Machinist, Filmnut

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Mark Lensenmayer
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1580
From: Upper Arlington, OH
Registered: Sep 1999

 - posted 04-17-2002 03:01 PM      Profile for Mark Lensenmayer   Email Mark Lensenmayer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 

You might check with Thomas Hauerslev. He has been collecting material on this topic. Thomas has been know to visit these parts on occasion.

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

Posts: 10701
From: Lawton, OK, USA
Registered: Apr 2001

 - posted 04-17-2002 10:52 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The original Sensurround is an odd format. Mono with a LFE channel added. A DVD of "Battlestar Galactica" has a Dolby Digital 1.1 reproduction of the Sensurround mix. "Sensurround Plus" was tag given to some 70mm presentations, but Format 42 already had two subwoofer channels.

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Brad Miller

Posts: 17687
From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99

 - posted 04-18-2002 12:00 AM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
Hmmmm, aren't Woody Allen movies mono with subwoofer? If so, let's all advertise "Sensurround" on his next release.

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Paul Linfesty
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1381
From: Bakersfield, CA, USA
Registered: Nov 1999

 - posted 04-18-2002 12:24 AM      Profile for Paul Linfesty   Email Paul Linfesty   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Actually, the first Sensurround film, EARTHQUAKE played in first-runs with mag stereo prints (without a surround track). The optical track of the film included the tones to switch the "rumble box" control on and off. 70mm prints were used outside the United States for EARTHQUAKE, but used the standard SENSURROUND tag.

ZOOT SUIT was the one and only to utilize the SENSURROUND PLUS name (on 70mm prints). This referred to the fact that DBX noise reduction was used for the entire soundtrack, and not just for the Sensurround effex portions used on the second (MIDWAY), third (ROLLERCOASTER), and fourth (BATTLESTAR GALLACTIA), all of which WERE optic-mono releases.

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Paul G. Thompson
The Weenie Man

Posts: 4718
From: Mount Vernon WA USA
Registered: Nov 2000

 - posted 04-18-2002 12:51 AM      Profile for Paul G. Thompson   Email Paul G. Thompson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
As most of you know, Cerwin-Vega built most (if not all) the 18-inch subwoofer speakers for the movie Earthquake. At the end of the Earthquake movie run, the speaker boxes and speakers were promptly abandoned.

I have been told the speakers served no practical purposes after the movie, because they were so non-linear. Supposedly, it was cheaper to abandon them that to have them all shipped back to Universal.

How many are left, I don't know. But I know of a few that still exist and are in service as sub-woofers. They were designed to make noise, and that's what they do.

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Michael Coate
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1873
From: Los Angeles, California
Registered: Feb 2001

 - posted 04-18-2002 03:25 AM      Profile for Michael Coate   Email Michael Coate   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
ZOOT SUIT was the one and only to utilize the SENSURROUND PLUS name (on 70mm prints).

Some 35mm engagements also advertised Sensurround Plus (such as the Edwards Cinema in Costa Mesa, CA)

This referred to the fact that DBX noise reduction was used for the entire soundtrack

Sensurround Plus also incorporated an in-theater lighting effect.

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Michael Coate
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1873
From: Los Angeles, California
Registered: Feb 2001

 - posted 04-18-2002 03:42 AM      Profile for Michael Coate   Email Michael Coate   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
DVD of "Battlestar Galactica" has a Dolby Digital 1.1 reproduction of the Sensurround mix.

The DVD soundtracks are 1.1 as well for "Midway" (the second release, from Universal; first DVD from Image is 1.0) and "Rollercoaster."

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Brad Haven
Master Film Handler

Posts: 300
From: fremantle, West Australia
Registered: Aug 2001

 - posted 04-18-2002 06:09 AM      Profile for Brad Haven   Email Brad Haven   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
i believe that our company has two of the sensurround speakers that came from melbourne, we have one in our cinema 1 and there is one at the luna leederville cinema 1 , that was the sales pitch anyway ! . they have both been re coned with plain 100w speakers, they certainly do make plenty of noise, we run in SR which doesn't help!

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Thomas Hauerslev
Master Film Handler

Posts: 437
From: Copenhagen, Denmark
Registered: Aug 2000

 - posted 04-18-2002 08:23 AM      Profile for Thomas Hauerslev   Author's Homepage   Email Thomas Hauerslev   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Since my last Sensurround posting a year ago, I've recieved a couple of complete Sensurround processors and a manual. Only for substandard movies (35mm), however. If anyone have the 70mm cards lying around, I'd be happy to give the cards a safe retirement in Copenhagen. Wonder what will happen if I actually fire a processor up and connect the processor to the LP soundtrack with the Sensurround sample or perhaps a LD/DVD?

The most likely scenario is probably blown speakers, a stunned wife, a nice white jacket with long sleves that can be secured on the back for me and a long visit to the local (projectionist-)asylum.

Cheers, Thomas - The 70mm Newsletter|||http: //

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Per Hauberg
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 881
From: Malling, Denmark
Registered: Jul 2000

 - posted 04-18-2002 01:16 PM      Profile for Per Hauberg   Author's Homepage   Email Per Hauberg   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thomas said >wonder what will happen...<

Easy: Charlotte will order new locks for the whole house, next time You are out, and you will never live on Frederiksberg again...

and thats it

happy new year

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Bill Carter
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 162
From: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Registered: Sep 1999

 - posted 04-18-2002 01:51 PM      Profile for Bill Carter   Email Bill Carter   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
A couple of quick Sensurround stories...

When Earthquake opened where I grew up in Roanoke, Virginia, the first performance brought down ceiling tiles in front of the screen at the Terrace Theater. The newspaper reported that the audience clapped and cheered wildly... thinking it was part of the show.

The stories from here in Minneapolis aren't quite as funny... up here, Earthquake shook down 50 years worth of dust and dirt from the walls and ceiling in one of the big old downtown houses, prompting (according to local legend) a patron's fatal asthma attack.

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Frank Angel
Film God

Posts: 5198
From: Brooklyn NY USA
Registered: Dec 1999

 - posted 04-18-2002 02:46 PM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
So it was a sound system AND a theatre cleaning machine!!

Problem with those Cerwin-Vega boxes was that they were designed to couple with the walls; they had units that were designed to be placed vertically in the rear corners of the room and the massive throated units that sat in front of the stage with the mouth opening right in the face of the folks in the front seats. As well as smaller units that sat vertically on either side of the stage. These thing had to be against the walls to work so they really couldn't be kept in the theatres if aesthetics were considered.

All these bins coupling to the walls and pumping out resonating low end....the SPL was spectacular. I would love to know what they were able to achieve. It was so loud that it actually modulated the sound from the main speakers -- I saw EARTHQUAKE in 4 track mag and once the Sensurround kicked in, it was like the dialogue was filtered through a fan....kind of a sympathetic vibration taking place. It was totally awesome and the day I went, I stayed for every show until the theatre closed.

IMHO, the system ONLY worked well for EARTHQUAKE where the synthesizer was external to the soundtrack. Once they tried to adapt it to reproduce part of a non-descrete soundtrack, it didn't work nearly as well. Yah, you got subbass sound, but it really was just trying to reproduce components of the existing mono track -- basically just normal low end sounds. Only they were too loud, as mentioned, the Sensurround reproduction was nonlinear, in other words, just big, poorly designed subwoofers trying to reproduce normal low-end sounds. And the processing had terrible artifacts going on -- lots of false triggering of the low-end system by sound that were just at the edge of the threshold, like vocal "P"s and "B"s which would pop into the Sensurround channel and blast out like cannon explosions. Very annoying. Bad system.

But the original design for EARTHQUAKE with 4 track mag -- fabulous. I think with today's technology, you would run EARTHQUAKE and come pretty close to the Sensurround SPL levels with just a really good subbass system, maybe needing to add a few more bins, like in the back corners of the room. And of course you would need that synth box, but today you could create that random rumble sound in a synth generator in about 5 minutes, record it on a CD, set it to repeat play in a CD player and let the Sensurround tones trigger the audio from the CD player.

I was lucky enough to get one of the original EARTHQUAKE soundtrack LPs; cut 1 opens with a recording of the actual rumble noise from the synthesizer. They removed that from subsequent pressings because it cause lots of damage when people turned it up too high. If you look closely at the grooves, they are spaced very far apart -- space needed so the cutting lathe wouldn't cut into the walls of the adjacent groove walls. Played on a good system, the effect is quite impressive.

A local TV station here in NY had the broadcast premiere of the film and they made a big promotional deal about broadcasting it with Sensurround. They actually mixed the rumble synth sounds in with the audio. I recorded it on 3/4 in tape (Beta and VHS hadn't been invented yet) and it was very effective -- again, only if you had a good playhback system. I can't imagine what kind of havoc this created for the transmitter engineers, trying to keep overall modulation within limits and yet still getting dialogue to read.

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Gordon McLeod
Film God

Posts: 9460
From: Toronto Ontario Canada
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 04-19-2002 07:21 PM      Profile for Gordon McLeod   Email Gordon McLeod   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Rollercoaster and Midway and Earthquake were shown in Canada in 4 track mag sensuround and there was DBX on all tracks

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