Burbank, CA, March 24, 2008
â€“ Chace Audio, a full service audio post-production facility well known for sound preservation and restoration, recently completed restoration of the soundtrack for Steven Spielbergâ€™s Close Encounters of the Third Kind: 30th Anniversary Ultimate Edition. Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, three versions of the Academy Award winning film are featured on one High Definition Blu-ray disc. The Standard Definition version is also available as a three-disc DVD release.
The ability for the Blu-ray edition to incorporate all three versions of the sci-fi classic onto a single disc showcases the formatâ€™s seamless â€œbranchingâ€? capabilities. This release includes the first-ever home video release of the complete 1977 Original Theatrical edition, as well as the re-edited 1980 theatrical Special Edition and Spielbergâ€™s definitive Directorâ€™s Cut (originally released in 1998 on the Collectorâ€™s Edition DVD). This is the first ever Blu-ray release of a Spielberg film and Chace Audio relied on Clarity Audio Restoration by plangent processes (Clarity) and Chace Digital Stereoâ„¢ to bring the soundtracks to their maximum fidelity. In 1998, Chace Audio worked on Close Encounters of the Third Kind for its initial DVD release, but the new incarnation benefits significantly from recent technological advances made in audio restoration.
â€œChace Audio was already intimately familiar with the vast amount of audio material from Close Encounters of the Third Kind from our previous work on the first DVD release,â€? says Grover Crisp, Vice President, Asset Management & Film Restoration, Sony Pictures Entertainment. â€œWe sought to maximize the capabilities of the Blu-ray format while remaining true to the artistic integrity of each version of the film. The amount of audio content required, because of subtle mix differences in each version and the desire to maximize the overall fidelity of the soundtracks as much as possible, made this a challenging project.â€?
To present the three versions, Close Encounters of the Third Kind: 30th Anniversary Ultimate Edition uses a relatively new technique called â€œbranching.â€? While the continuity of the films is nearly identical, there are several notable scene, dialogue and music differences, most notably with a scene of actor Richard Dreyfuss inside the alien mother ship at the finale of the Special Edition. Branching presentations have been done previously for other Blu-ray releases, but Close Encounters of the Third Kind is the first title to offer three complete versions of a film on a single disc. Branching works by incorporating each versionâ€™s unique scenes and the scenes common to all the films, providing a seamless rendition with continuity flowing together as if it were a single recording. In terms of audio, the high data capacity of Blu-ray also allowed for the presentations of both DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby Digital TrueHD audio selections. This is Sonyâ€™s fist DTS-HD track for Blu-ray.
Chace Audio improved overall fidelity by returning to the two original 35mm magnetic soundtracks that together contained all of the audio for all three versions. These mags included a 35mm 6-track (L/boom/C/boom/R/S 70mm version) from the 1977 Original Theatrical version, which provided the bulk of the source material, and also the 6-track (L/boom/C/boom/R/S 70mm version) from the 1980 Special Edition. These were digitized at 96kHz and 24-bits to take advantage of the higher bit-rate encoding offered on Blu-ray. A digital transfer on the Sondor OMA-SE Chace, was then made for the Clarity process. Clarity is a combination of proprietary DSP (Digital Signal Processing) and hardware designed for the playback of 35mm magnetic sound film and audiotape to remove mechanical instabilities like wow and flutter commonly found in analog recordings. Clarity was a critical tool to correct the instability anomalies that were the result of the analog technology used in the 1970s to record the film.
â€œClarity does not add any new information to the audio, but simply reveals the maximum potential of the original recordings,â€? says Sr. Digital Audio Restoration Engineer Brian San Marco. â€œToday most restoration or re-mastering technology relies on removing or adding content, often to the detriment of the original material. It was essential that a film of this caliber be presented with the highest audio integrity, and Clarity proved critical to improving the fidelity.â€?
Clarity also delivered stability to composer John Williamâ€™s powerful score, especially in portions featuring long sustained strings, and it improved the intelligibility of the dialogue, even in scenes where it might otherwise sound muffled. The bass channel also benefits greatly with fresh power and resonance. Numerous minor dropouts, hum, distortion, stereo phase and inherent phasing in the soundtrack were also corrected or minimized during the digital restoration process.
The final mix sessions took place in Chace Audioâ€™s Mix One studio and were completed by Sr. Mixing Engineer James Young. â€œAudiences will now be treated to a faithful rendition of the 70mm soundtracks re-formatted for 5.1 home theaters,â€? he explains. â€œThe Baby Booms, which originally had frequency response up to 250Hz, were used as the guide and source material for creation of a new LFE channel and the mono surround was also split and treated with the Chace Digital Stereoâ„¢ processor to create new surround stereo directionality.â€? In all, Chace Audio engineers spent over 300 hours to prepare Close Encounters of the Third Kind for its 30th Anniversary Ultimate Edition Blu-ray debut.
â€œWorking on this Blu-ray release of Close Encounters of the Third Kind allowed us to bring to bear some of the most effective audio restoration tools available today,â€? says Bob Heiber, President of Chace Audio. â€œThe high resolution new transfers, combined with Clarity and the latest audio restoration processing, made the difference apparent between these new tracks and the restoration we did in 1998. The result is the smoothest and best sounding versions of the film ever presented and audiences will be treated to an out of this world experience.â€?
About Chace Audio
Chace Audio is a full service audio post-production facility. In addition to the restoration, up-mixing, and re-mastering of film and television soundtracks, Chace provides transfer from nearly 100 formats, synchronization and varispeed conforms/laybacks, multi-track mixing, DolbyÂ® AC-3, DolbyÂ® True HD, DTS, DTS-HD audio compression, music and effects construction, Foley/ADR recording, and optical soundtrack recording services.
Contact Chace Audio at: 201 S. Victory Blvd., Burbank, CA 91502-2349; Phone: (818) 842-8346; Fax: (818) 842-8353; Website: