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Isolating Music and Voices in Star Wars

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I am interested in making a trailer for ANH, and naturally I would like as much of the dialogue as possible to be isolated from the background music. I'm thinking about the Leia Hologram speech in particular. I've attempted to use the six channel AC3 file to isolate the vocals, however this is a very imperfect solution.

I've also attempted to use the noise reduction tool in Audacity to remove the music in this scene, but it always garbled the voice as well.

There is a way to isolate and eliminate the music in a scene, and this involves having an identical recording of the music which was used in the scene itself (this must be the same recording, not just the same notes). If the music is lined up and the waveforms of the recording are inverted, the two music waveforms will cancel out, leaving the rest of the sounds relatively intact.

My question to all the audiophiles on this forum is this: Does the original LP (or the 93 CD) use PRECISELY the same recording of any of the music in Star Wars? If not, is there any other way to isolate the dialogue?

Thanks!

JEDIT: 1,111th thread!

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NOOOO!

Another question for the good forum members: Does Carrie Fisher perform that dialogue in any other video, or is there a source which has this dialogue apart from the film? I know that the Radio Broadcast has this dialogue, but it isn't performed by Fisher.

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fishmanlee said:

Tracks on OST's are usually seperate takes from the those used in the film.

Plus, each track is cobbled together from the best takes.

Are you sure about this? I've always just thought it was, at least for the original trilogy, same takes, different mix.

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I don't know very much about sound production, but I think that while sometimes alternate takes and edits are used for the soundtrack, the scene you seek should be the same take on the cds. The problem is that all the soundtracks have different mastering and EQ than the movie.

Your best bet is 7FN's transfer of the Star Wars LP. I'm guessing this should sound closest to the movie. If that doesn't work, then you could try the 1993 Anthology cd or hairy_hen's adjusted isolated score version of the Special Edition Soundtrack (the stock SE soundtrack has really harsh EQ). Good luck!

Edit: I remember that You_Too made a filtered version of the center channel of Star Wars specifically for voices. He used a different program then audacity so it might be a better starting place for you. If doesn't still have this I still might.

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Thanks, I've never downloaded from the 'spleen or the alt binaries, but I may do so. This is a long term project, so there's no rush for materials. Thank you for the info! I definitely want to try cancelling out the music, so at the very least, we'll have definite proof about whether or not any takes in the LP are exact.

JEDIT: Curse you Frink, stop getting between the poster and my reply! Now it sounds like I'm thanking you!

:P

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I use a program called DVD Audio Extractor. It rips all six tracks as WAV files. Then you can listen to each track and see which one you want to use for background music etc.

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Audio Post guy here.  You are correct in theory, but even if the CD is the same take that was used in the films, different EQ settings, CD mastering, even the compression of an ac3 file will render the inverting phase experiment useless, I'm sorry to say.  That needs to be sample accurate to work.  Sometimes when the music is really low and bass heavy in a scene you can just EQ it out, but for the hologram scene, the notes live right in the vocal range.  

I checked the Star Wars soundboard, but it doesn't have the lines you want. It does have tons of other lines though, in case that might help for another scene.

http://starwars.com/play/online-activities/soundboards/#/?theme=06

P.S.  Also a good idea on stealing the dialogue from the center channel.  I did just the opposite trick when I stole the sail barge music from Jedi for the isomix track.  

P.P.S.  How about if you summed the music from the stereo Left Right channels to a mono track, (which should be dialogue free) inverted the phase on THAT and played it with the center channel? Worth a shot?  It probably won't eliminate the music 100% but it might dip it enough so that if you had other music playing it could mask it. 

UPDATE:  I decided to try that trick.  Didn't work at all.

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When I worked onto my SW project, I used four laserdisc soundtracks (plus one VHS HiFi stereo); of the LD ones, two were "right", while the others had some problems (really can't remember which kind). So, at the end, I had two couples of similar soundtracks that could be used to extract the dialogues (one couple right, one couple wrong)...

So, it is possible to use, let's say, the english and french soundtrack (or german and spanish) if they match all except the dialogues? If so, how? Can I use Audacity to do that? At the end, as "side effect", it could be also possible to extract the isolated score, right?

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I imported the French version of the GOUT soundtrack into Audacity along with the English version, and the waveforms are very different, even for the supposedly identical music. So I don't think that will work either. I also tried copying the english sound and used a compressor to bring down the vocals. Then I inverted the compressed soundwave, hoping to keep the higher volume voice while cancelling out the lower volume music, and while that may work with enough effort, it didn't sound good. There are also parts where the music is louder than the voice, rendering the method useless in those places. So I'm at a loss.

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TV's Frink said:

I think the only solution is to hire celebrity impersonators.

Yeah, but what problem COULDN'T that solve?

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I expect all of the sound mixes would have unique audio properties even if they were built out of the same original stems; this was the analog era, after all.

“That's impossible, even for a computer!”

 

“You don't do ‘Star Wars’ in Dobly.”

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Even the pros have a hard time with this stuff, guys . . . it's impossible to fully separate elements that have been mixed together into one track.  Not that there aren't ways of reducing them, depending how the mixing was done, but it ain't easy.  I admit I don't know a whole lot about this stuff myself.

Just yesterday I had the opportunity to hear a Neve stereo processor intended for mastering use, which among other things is able to perform some very sophisticated mid/side processing techniques to affect stereo imaging.  By splitting the signal into central information and wide information and treating those independently, many tricks and alterations are possible when recombining them into left/right.  This thing can definitely reduce the level of the vocals drastically, which impressed me a whole lot, though it isn't a perfect separation by any means.  Also, it isn't possible to distinguish between vocals and centrally located elements of the music (though some judicious use of EQ could help somewhat), so what's left over isn't going to be a complete version of itself.

If you really want to try your hand at this kind of thing, find yourself a good mid/side processor of some kind and learn how to use it; that's my advice.  But be aware that they're really intended to be used to improve existing mixes by clarifying stereo imaging and things of that nature, so don't expect miracles of separation.

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As snother audio person, I will add that unless you actually enjoy the trial-and-error process, your time might be better spent trying to locate un-mixed soundbites. The M-S processor concept seems to be a more advanced version of the phase cancellation techniques mentioned above (albeit with more fine control over the phase of the signals). 

If you DO want to work on it -  go, man, go! You will definitely learn what works best, what you can live with and what you can't.

Having never listened to the isolated center channel of the DTS Master Audio from the Blu-Ray - can someone verify that the music is present?

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Joel said:

 

Having never listened to the isolated center channel of the DTS Master Audio from the Blu-Ray - can someone verify that the music is present?

I don't have the blu-ray to check, (I finally decided I couldn't financially support more changes to the trilogy), but it is definitely present on the 2004 DVDs.

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Joel said:

 

As snother audio person, I will add that unless you actually enjoy the trial-and-error process, your time might be better spent trying to locate un-mixed soundbites. The M-S processor concept seems to be a more advanced version of the phase cancellation techniques mentioned above (albeit with more fine control over the phase of the signals). 

If you DO want to work on it -  go, man, go! You will definitely learn what works best, what you can live with and what you can't.

Having never listened to the isolated center channel of the DTS Master Audio from the Blu-Ray - can someone verify that the music is present?

Do I enjoy trial and error? Have you seen my color correction method? ;)

I am very interested in knowing whether the Blu-ray has music in the central channel as well.

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