So I’ll admit it–I don’t actually listen to the dubs in my collection. I’m a collector, I like to help others, but, well, I don’t actually know all of these languages so I don’t listen to them.
Which goes to explaining how the Czech dubs have been the way they are for so long. The Star Wars Czech dub is actually in very good shape–it has some clicks, pops, and it only falls noticeably out of sync a couple times. But the dubs for Empire and Jedi? Yeesh. Omlouvám se.
There are several Czech dubs–one early nineties dub, one mid-nineties dub, and a Blu-ray dub. The mid-nineties dub, although it was supposedly done in 1995, is AFAICT only available as despecialized SE dubs. So since I always favor authentic OOT dubs, and also because Harmy likes the early nineties translation best, the early nineties dub gets most favored dub status. But the audio quality (and here I’m mostly talking about Empire) is pretty poor. And worse yet, the sync is godawful (the overall good sync in Star Wars notwithstanding). Not only the sync in the edited-to-sync-to-the-GOUT files we’ve been working with, but in the original dub, the voices were just put in wildly inaccurate places, so you can choose to sync the voice or sound effects, but not both. And they’re so out of sync that trying to sync halfway between SFX and dialogue often doesn’t work, which sometimes works well for small differences.
A handful of Czech users have logged in to complain about the Czech dub, asking why we don’t use one of the later dubs. I always thought it was the audio quality they were complaining about. It turns out at least a good portion of it was the sync, and when I finally checked (thanks Tomalakis!), yuck, I wondered why we used these too.
I’ve been editing these audio files for the past few weeks and I finally finished my first pass on all three films. A little more finishing work still to go, but these new files are now much, much, MUCH better. They’re still mono VHS captures, of course, and because of how the voices and sound effects are synced differently, sometimes there’s still a fairly obvious problem (score, SFX or voices are noticeably off, because I chose to sync something else). But they’re now the exception rather than the rule, and they’re all pretty tolerable IMO.
I think the worst bit was that the score in the scene where Luke meets the Emperor was way off, so if you synced the elevator noises at the beginning, and the voices at the end, there was this long (over ten second) audio gap while Luke walked up to the Emperor. The original files worked around this by repeating the elevator noises a second time, which was pretty crappy. I patched in some Emperor-appropriate music from the isolated score, which is still pretty crappy (it’s not even pretending to be authentic) but at least you’re not hearing sounds for things that aren’t happening onscreen, and you’re not hearing dead silence. Actually there were a lot of bad things, and you can still hear some of them. But that was the thing I was least happy about. I’m gonna have nightmares about these files.
I’ll probably be making these available in the next week or so.