Customer Review

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Frustrating!, 2 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Edgar Wallace Mysteries, Vol. 1 [DVD] [1956] (DVD)
Network should concentrate on remastering the audio tracks of these films before they even consider releasing the box set. I've bought a few of the individual volumes and the sound quality is just as bad as many reviewers have said. Even with my TV volume turned up as far as it will go, many words and sound-effects are muffled to the point of inaudibility. Only when actors are speaking in full voice or shouting can you be sure of hearing every word of the script. Softly spoken dramatic dialogue is frequently impossible to hear, as are scenes where characters are listening to tape recordings of speech or listening to telephone calls - which are often key plot points. I think the blame can be placed on cheap and basic sound processing tools to remove crackle and other unwanted noise from the soundtrack: cheap and basic tools like this simply filter out ALL sound which is at the same pitch/frequency as the crackle/extraneous noise. It's a shame because the pictures are impeccably clean and vibrant and these are undoubtedly great vintage mystery stories/thrillers - but because of the incredibly poor sound, they are just so difficult to watch.

EDIT: Network have admitted to me in an email that one of the films in the series has "lip sync issues" but have decided this is "acceptable given the source materials" - in other words, Network are repeating their mantra (also used when people complain about the very poor quality sound in other sets in the same series) that if the original source material is of poor quality, there's nothing they can do about it! HILARIOUS! Listen Network, once you've digitised the films (which you have to do to create DVDs), it's an extremely simple task to correct the lip sync problems - most free movie-editing software allows you to do it! As for the poor quality sound in other editions, Network claims that this is how the original source material sounds, but I'm afraid I'm not convinced by that explanation. When film stock degrades, you get pops and crackles and a muffled "wooliness" in the sound reproduction. What you DON'T get (and what Network's Edgar Wallace series sound suffers from) is pristine clarity apart from the loss of a specific pitch or frequency of sound. This is a problem more consistent with using cheap audio restoration tools to remove hiss which also removes all sound at the same pitch or frequency as the hiss (hence speech loses clarity because sibilant and plosive consonants are removed, whispers become inaudible, etc). Movie soundtracks CAN be easily and effectively restored - check out the great series of B-movies issued by Renown and see what can be achieved! - and in the meantime please stop fobbing off disappointed customers with this silly excuse. The only problem with the Edgar Wallace series that Network have actually bothered to deal with was when they put the reels of one film in the worng order...but presumably they only rectified this because they couldn't blame that fault on the "source materials"! Add to all of this the many errors and inconsistencies in the accompanying booklets and the poorly-designed boxes that mean you can't actually read any of the film synopses unless you take all the DVDs out of the case, and you have one of the laziest, shoddiest and most unforgivably slapdash box sets of recent times. But hey, according to Network, all this is acceptable because of the quality of the source materials... I'm docking another star because of Network's terrible attitude to quality control and customer relations.
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Initial post: 17 Oct 2013 02:52:59 BDT
This is bad news. If I can't hear dialogue, then certanily I can enjoy the film. Not making a purchase, for now. Hope there is better news in the future. Thanks for the review.
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