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Batman V Superman bathroom scene

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There is a scene in Batman V Superman at Lois Lane's apartment bathroom.

Noticed underneath dialogue there was taxi car horn noise.  Was just checking to see if there was a discussion on that decision.

Whoever made that choice really set the scene really well. You didn't have to say it was Metropolis, it sounded just like New York.

Was there any back and forth about laying more noise under dialogue?  Or was that one of many honks from on location where more noise needed to be added to match unavoidable set issues?

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One occasion of the really effective use of background noise that I remember was in The Elephant Man, where there is a scene set in the basement of a hospital. There is a gentle thrumming of gas passing through pipes laid under the dialogue and as this was before the days of mains electricity and all lighting would have been gas lighting - and as attached to the walls and ceiling you could see many pipes - it was such a simple and brilliant concept. Someone in the dubbing sessions must have heard this effect in real life and suggested it. Good for him/her!

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I wouldn't necessarily give the credit to a meticulous sound design team.    In most high dollar popular Films they use Car Horns,  Dog barks and other short BG SFX to code the "print" (DCI Distro)  with a unique ID that can be tracked for Anti Piracy enforcement.   The position of the Car Horn or the number of Honks can serve to indicate which theater was showing the film when somebody used a Camcorder to make a pirate copy.  It is a version of Watermarking that can survive bad camcorder copies and other attempts to conceal the source.  That Taxi Horn may appear in different positions or with a different Honk pattern in each location it is shown.

 

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3 hours ago, cmgoodin said:

The position of the Car Horn or the number of Honks can serve to indicate which theater was showing the film when somebody used a Camcorder to make a pirate copy.  

That is SO cool!

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3 hours ago, cmgoodin said:

That Taxi Horn may appear in different positions or with a different Honk pattern in each location it is shown.

 

28 minutes ago, Jim Feeley said:

That is SO cool!

Good grief! I had no idea this practice was going on. I hope desperately that it's one that doesn't continue for long.

 

On the subject of car horns, whilst I'm not usually too precious about my own work and generally trust the decisions of my colleagues to recut, conform or mix, I had an occasion a few years ago when (presumably) the director had my work chopped and repeated in a mix I wasn't attending. I had very carefully laid sound effects around/through a music-driven scene's track by a very famous composer where my tracks perfectly complemented the music in rhythm and pitch throughout the sequence. Although the director (to me) had already reviewed and indeed complemented the scene I guess in the fun of the mix he decided he wanted 'a bit more' and the easiest and quickest way to achieve this was to cut and paste a chunk of my track ... not only cheesy in the extremis, but the 'meticulous sound design' suddenly became in effect out of time and out of pitch. The reason I'm being cagy with details and names is that I continue to happily work with the director and if he realised my own reaction when I first heard the final mix he'd likely now be rather embarrassed. Whilst similar things happen all the time in our collaborative efforts this is the only time in 20 years I didn't just shrug or laugh it off but thought 'eughhh'. I still hate to watch that scene. I just hope that one day I'm going to be able to take the composer aside and quietly explain that ... 'that - wasn't - me!' Honk honk indeed.

Jez

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On 5/18/2016 at 10:19 AM, cmgoodin said:

I wouldn't necessarily give the credit to a meticulous sound design team.    In most high dollar popular Films they use Car Horns,  Dog barks and other short BG SFX to code the "print" (DCI Distro)  with a unique ID that can be tracked for Anti Piracy enforcement.   The position of the Car Horn or the number of Honks can serve to indicate which theater was showing the film when somebody used a Camcorder to make a pirate copy.  It is a version of Watermarking that can survive bad camcorder copies and other attempts to conceal the source.  That Taxi Horn may appear in different positions or with a different Honk pattern in each location it is shown.

 

Mule muffins!

I have never heard of such a thing.  My friends who work on big dollah films have all told me tales of overly meticulous sound supers spotting all kinds of things in addition to the editors themselves and the Director. The audio post sound budgets for these things are north of 400K!

Creating different position and honk patterns for a MAJOR release would require an unwieldy amount of copies!  Think of the spreadsheet and the amount of time to PRINT each mix.  Batman V Superman was released in 4242 Theaters.  Presumably there will be more.  You mean to tell us, there will 6,000 (or more) DIFFERENT copies of the soundtrack?

I find this all quite hard to believe.

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1 hour ago, minister said:

I find this all quite hard to believe.

I think of Courtney as being a rather careful poster of information. And note that he's not saying that each DCI print is tweaked by hand. Yes, that'd be crazy. It looks like the process is automated. However, while we wait for Courtney to reply with more info, check out these two web pages:

DCI Specification, Version 1.2 with Errata as of 30 August 2012 Incorporated

http://dcimovies.com/specification/DCI_DCSS_v12_with_errata_2012-1010.pdf

Read the Forensics section starting on page 117, and especially the "Audio Survivability Requirements" starting on page 120.  Pretty technical, but pretty damn impressive...uh, at least the few bits that I read and the even fewer that I understood.

So then read this whitepaper-y marketing page I found on Nexguard's website:

Forensic Watermarking 101

http://www.nexguard.com/forensic-watermarking-introduction/

Two brief excerpts:

Forensic Watermarking for video and audio content allows the creator or service operator to embed a unique serial number in the content as it is playing. This payload remains completely imperceptible to the consumer while at the same time being resistant to nearly any transformation of the video in size, format or resolution.

----

What if the video is copied by using a video camera pointed at the screen?

We call this “camcording”. From the beginning, we have offered watermarking that is robust against that. In fact, that’s the primary way that movies are pirated in the cinema, so that requirement is part of the Digital Cinema Initiative’s specifications.

 

So ya, this is happening. I don't know exactly what sort of unique audio mark gets inserted into each copy/playback of a DCI film, but it's designed to be detectable after a film is pirated on a camcorder in a theater, and then I guess distributed via DVD, YouTube, etc.

I look forward to hearing more about this from Courtney or someone...

 

Jim "just delivered a big project so now relaxing" Feeley

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Jim, I've read the DCI spec docs before.  I know what Forensic Marking is. Which is, yes, a process added to each DCP.  But, Audio Forensic Marking is inaudible. (look at page 120 in your document) That's different than what he says here about using a pattern of taxi horns.

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Audio steganography is pretty well developed. It can be applied automatically, and can carry actual data identifying a print or anything else. 

But as Minister points out, it is (or should be) inaudible. Thus it doesn't have be done in a mix theater or approved by a director or conflict with the sfx stem. 

Just about every major market radio station uses transparent, automated watermarking to identify their program stream for Nielsen audience-rating sample listeners, who carry a pager-sized gadget that hears the tones while the people are listening to the station. (Don't get me started on how the watermarking has recently gotten less transparent and more audible. I'm on the Voltair development team.)

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I was informed of this practice in a Hollywood SMPTE meeting a few years ago.  Presentation was made by the industry's  top Anti-Piracy teams from all the major studios.  They had comprehensive charts on each pirated copy of the popular tentpole moves with the date and place each camcorder pirate copy was made.  In some cases they even knew the name of the person who created the pirate copy. Usually a known bad guy (by pirate name) in a foreign country and beyond the Legal reach of US copyright holders.   The pirates are international and pull elements from many different locations including pulling a copy of the Video from a Chinese or Russian print and marrying that with the English soundtrack from another country recorded in a theater with concealed portable audio recorders.

The steganographic techniques can be both not visible or audible and visible and audible.  The inaudible techniques are designed to carry a lot of data and is for high quality copies like digital duplication (like DVD ripping).   But for Camcorder copies a more robust form that is audible and visible must be used because it is captured by a sensor and microphone in a camcorder  and never sees any of the original data of the DCI or DVD.    It is not inaudible just not normally delectable by the pirate (or viewer) unless they know what sound is being used for the marking.   It has to be audible to survive recording by a separate device especially that has automatic gain control and automatic iris like that of a typical phone or consumer camcorder.   They also showed examples of coded specular highlights on some object in the frame in some scene.  What looks like the reflection of sunlight on some glass in a scene will have a different pattern or position on the glass for each location shown.   These  SFX sounds and specular highlights are encoded as  numbers  in the DCI metadata and transformed to audible and visual artifacts in the projector head and audio system in each theater. They are also combined with some decryption Key unique for each projector so they can trace it back to the actual theater in a multiplex that may be showing 4 instances of the same DCI data in 4 different theaters.  They don't have to create a separate mix or "print" for each showing.   It is all automated and the only human interaction has to happen before duplication where they determine what sound effect and scene to place the encoded anti-piracy codes in.   The variations and positions are created on the fly in software during decoding in the projector and Sound System.  Kind of like how you can program most Laser Printers to apply a faint watermark to every page printed and every copy machine encodes a small (almost invisible) dot pattern on each copy for forensic ID.

Some theaters used a system of infrared LEDs embedded in the screen to flash out code numbers throughout the film.  These are normally not visible to the human eye but most CMOS sensors see them as white lights. (see tip below) However the smart pirates can thwart these just by putting an infrared blocking filter on the camcorder.  So the visible spectrum and audible spectrum must be used to survive the Wiley IP Pirate...

TIP:  Since most CMOS camera chips see in the infrared part of the spectrum a great way to test your flaky TV or Audio infrared remote is to point your smart-phone camera at the LED emitter on the remote and press some buttons.  Your Eyes see nothing but the phone camera will see a bright white light flashing if the remote is functioning normally .   

 

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