Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

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Mastering Big-Boned Despecializations

This week Varinia had her annual check-up over at the vet's office, and it's official: I have a fat cat.

This wasn't entirely unexpected, as it was pretty obvious from recent photos that she was getting pretty huge, although it was a little odd because I did cut down significantly on her food intake. It turns out, however, that the food I'd been giving her was just way too rich and she had become a lot less active as she settled into apartment living, and she needs to go on a diet. The vet drew up a plan, and I have started implementing it.

“I'm not fat. I'm storing for the winter.”

Ironically, the amount of food I am to give her is actually more than she would have been eating otherwise, but the caloric content is much lower. She's okay with the wet food but is not too fond of her new kibble, although she will pick at it.

The good news is that she is young and doesn't have any other health issues, so once her weight is gotten under control — I have a follow-up appointment with the vet next month to check on her progress — she should be perfectly fine.

In other news, I have a confession to make. After I had posted my entry blog for my revised Star Wars Trilogy compilation, I noticed some sonic issues that I felt I could correct — not just artifacts in the recordings (although I did minimize those as best I could, with some damn fine results if I may say so myself), but dynamic and presence. What this means is that the edits and flow of the album have not changed at all since I posted the original entry, but I was tinkering with the master for the past few weeks to get it as close to perfect as I could possibly make it. It's finally complete, for real this time.

And yes, I did edit the entry and the CD-Text on the album master to change all references from “A New Hope” to “Star Wars.” I feel better now.

I gave a cursory listen to my prequel trilogy mix and may be revisiting that disc at some point in the near future as well. I can certainly make a cleaner presentation than that nowadays, although I have to say that I was impressed with how much I managed to accomplish with what I had at the time. The prequel trilogy in some ways was a more ambitious mix than that for the original trilogy because I was combining music from the three films to make completely new sequences that played out across multiple tracks. This is something that was very hard to do back when I last worked on the prequel trilogy mix, but is par for the course nowadays.

Like the original trilogy mix, I like the general structure of the prequel trilogy compilation, and so will be preserving a lot of it, but I will be making a few structural changes, such as the location of “Enter Darth Vader” and “Battle of the Heroes,” which are horribly misplaced on the current version (even if the former has a great transition from the previous track).

Another point of somewhat related interest is that Harmy has released an AVCHD of the rough draft of his upcoming Star Wars: The Despecialized Edition Blu-ray. I was so satisfied with the previous version that I was wondering what sort of improvements he could offer. It turns out that he re-color-timed quite a lot of the footage to bring it in line with its original values. This has its most obvious advantages during the scenes on Tatooine, which looked a slightly washed-out in the older version but are vivid now, but the entire film has a much more natural, film-like appearance — much more so, in fact, than the official Blu-ray of the film.

The “Despecializations” have been recomposited with higher quality sources as well, with Mos Eisley (formerly the “messiest” of the footage because of all of the shots that needed to be worked on to remove additions made to the Special Edition) looking almost completely seamless. Footage of the Death Star battle is much more solid now, any issues now look more like the limitations of the optical printing process required to generate the effects footage.

Harmy's Blu-ray should be out soon, and I am eagerly looking forward to it. He is including all of the English language options in DTS-HD MA lossless, and I am excited about hearing both Hairy Hen's reconstruction of the 70 millimeter track and the 1985 home video mix* in lossless. He is also including several of the Blu-ray's commentary tracks edited to conform to the GOUT, which are very nice to have. Whenever they refer to a Special Edition change, I just have to smile.

* — I had originally stated that the 1993 laserdisc mix was my preferred way to watch Star Wars, but that was mostly familiarity. I have since changed my mind, especially after viewing the film with the various audio options available. The 1993 mix, which is what I'd been listening to for Star Wars for nearly twenty years, has some elements I now find distracting (one of the most prominent being the sound of glass breaking added to the cameras exploding during the cell bay shootout). The 1985 mix is essentially a slightly embellished version of the 1977 Dolby Stereo track with a few extra effects and lines here and there. Most importantly (at least to me) is that the music is at the forefront in this mix, spacious and clear. The surround field is very nice as well, especially in Pro Logic II.
Tags: film music, food, john williams, mix workshop, star wars, varinia
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