Tuesday, 8 September 2015

A Hard Day's Night - speed corrections

© Bettmann/CORBIS
You might recall that one thing the new edition of A Hard Day's Night DVD/Blu-ray didn't address, was the speed issue. The film was shot at 25 fps and played back at 24 fps, but they neglected to speed up the tracks during filming, and as a result, when played back, the songs sound slower in the film than on the records.

Music Radar interviewed Giles Martin about the speed issue.

MR: I read that the mixes of the songs in the film were slower than the album versions. Why was that?

GM: “Yeah, and that’s something I asked them to change. When I was working on the Martin Scorsese-George Harrison film, I noticed it. And I Love Her was a semitone down. It’s got to do with frame rates. I asked them, 'Can you change the frame rate of the film?' and of course, you can’t because that would speed up the film. Pitching the music but keeping it at the same speed might have worked, but then you’re going into a digital world that’s kind of unpleasant. It’s a bit like plastic surgery, and you don’t want to be doing that, putting a new face on something. The thing about And I Love Her in the film is, it’s a different mix. It’s not a double-tracked vocal, whereas the original is.”

Now, a friend of WogBlog has released speed corrected versions on YouTube. Done in computer at 106% playback speed, these versions match the speed of the 09 remastered studio tracks, but with the audio from the film.

And I Love Her

If I Fell

I'm Happy Just To Dance With You

Finale Concert


DirectorDonP said...

If you watch "If I Fell" you'll see why they didn't do it. Little visual 'jumps' every second or so. I'm sure they could have concocted a slightly more fluid visual speed up - but then one would argue that the integrity of the original picture would be lost. (They could have given us two versions...!)

LonglivetheBeatles said...

I personally don't like the sped up versions, as far as a visual jump , it's true, I've tried it myself with Adobe Premiere Pro and the very small jumps are there, almost unnoticeable but there never the less . after over 50 years , I think of it as like Paul McCartney once said about playing live , We played fast , very fast, case in point when he talked about All My Loving in the Beatles Anthology . so to hear the film songs speed up just doesn't " feel right " . but as they say " to each his own ".... Oh , and one final note , the soundtrack in these sped up clips sound like the Miramax release, not the newest issue , the Miramax issue was hammered because the finale' sounds like they're playing in a cave....

joey anthony said...

with todays technology it's a shame they can't fix this mistake.people argue that you dont mess with the originals.but it was a mistake and you want perfection when dealing with the beatles.they always wanted perfection and they would agree.hearing the songs played so slow doesn't sound right.the miramaz versions are very bad audio wise.and just listening to them compared to the new bluray release,you can hear a huge difference in quality.

winston o´boogie said...

Good idea, but awful sound in these "corrected" versions.

Meredith(GTBJ) said...

I'm no sound expert,but even though the song seems to match up OK with their mouths moving, the sound has a "booming" feel that seems too crisp for the time.

DirectorDonP said...

The way to do it in my opinion is to not randomly speed up the footage, but to carefully remove select frames over the duration to make it work. Frames removed when there is less movement taking place is virtually unnoticeable. A good editor could remove the required amount of frames - instead of one every 25 frames - one (hypothetically)at 12 - one at 72 two at 90 etc. This would keep things in sync provided the correct number of frames were removed over the entire duration. But it would take care and the human touch - not an automated 106% speed up...One place where a frame or two can be readily removed without notice over the duration is at the beginning and end of each cut...anyway, there's my boring technical rant...!

LanceHall said...

Ummm, the correct adjustment would be 104% NOT 106%. These are too fast. You CAN'T use the remastered versions as a basis for the correction because most of the AHDN album is actually sped up.

Mariosonic7878 said...

If you speed up the AHDN audio to 106% You'll get the album speed.
If you speed up the AHDN audio to 104% You'll get the original recording speed.

However, the audio is a little bit to fast, as the correct measure is closer to 5.85 than to 6%

You can find out why in your usual places :)

Tammy said...

Ugh!, the biggest fly in the ointment. SO disapointing they couldn't/wouldn't correct this. Giles words are hollow when he mentions he didn't want to get into digitally changing the audio of the movie. For a start, he remixed the stereo, he had no issue doing that beyond amateur drop in of Paul's vocal on one of the tracks, i mean, that was SO beyond bad, a kid with a 2005 PC could have done better. The absolute corker for me was, Richard Lester approved this new Blu Ray version, without even viewing it. As with 'every' Beatle project, somehow, they always manage to drop the ball, when things could so easily be almost perfect.

LanceHall said...

It would have been revisionism to change the speed for the Blu-ray and they made the correct decision to not alter the film. Giles also floated the idea of raising just the pitch but not the speed but it didn't sound right. Now if they ever release these as part of a music video compilation then it would be appropriate to speed correct them.

I'm glad I'm not the only one that realizes the album is sped up and doesn't represent the actual performed speed (on most songs).