I haven't talked about the biggest reason gets into headphones, music and movies.
This article was inspired by Sideways from YouTube. This video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaO3M-zZR8E.
Movies are a amazing medium, only second to music (in my opinion, of course). I recently came across the above video and decided it was finally time for me to watch the remakes, and compare. This article will refer to Disney's Aladdin (both versions) and Disney's Beauty and the Beast (both versions). I will also be referring only to the music, its recording, and the differences in style (due to different actors/actresses).
Starting with the remake. The voice work in talking scenes sound great, slight echo, but in a city built of clay the echo sounds almost at home. Almost. The orchestral sounds fantastic, nothing short of what Disney is capable of. Clear, clean, untouched perfection of a string recording. The accompaniment by Alan Menken did spectacular. Back to vocals, in the music this time.
Auto-Tune. I hate it. While I love Will Smith getting into the role, the language being totally Big Willie Style; I don't appreciate the large numbers being exactly "Williams" esque, I get it. Auto-tune. While the auto tune is hidden well by the accompaniment, my Sendy Aivas make is shine so easily. The low note in "Whole New World" by the princess, hurts. In music, auto tune is purposeful. In movies, its like seeing a penguin with a giraffe head, photoshop (thanks to Sideways, I stole that.) Auto-tune in musicals is like photoshops in photos. It hurts. It also hurts that Will Smith didn't get to do his version as "Friend like me" instead doing a rehash. The rap is fantastic.
The original film, Robin Williams sounds totally into the song. Its almost as if the song was written for him! While I admit, audio effects are used and sound faked they are used for comedic effect. They are not used to enhance a performance. You can hear the actor/actress's inflections in their voice. You can hear them smile, its voice acting within a song! Novel idea, right? I still hear a slight "studio echo" or possibly a echo effect used post recording. Hidden well, but it sounds like they are singing in an amphitheater.
Now on to Beauty and the Beast, 2017 edition. Bell sounds like a computer singing. The children sound the same, the ladies do a tad, not as much. Gaston sounds echo'd, is the echo a disney thing? I'm into the first number, and confused. Plenty of tallent, hell Kevin Kline sounds amazing. Gaston's big number still has auto-tune, surprising considering he is a theater actor. But again, the accompaniment is fantastic. Crystal clear and clean. The kitchen number is better, sounds like pure talent. I do detect a little auto-tune, very subtle though.
The original B&B, I have the same realization. Disney lets the talent do the work in the originals. Its almost like the modern movie is emulating or concerned so much with the look that the vocal talent took a back seat. I think Disney was more concerned with filling the roles to make it visually appealing that auto-tune was needed to fill the hearing aspect.
On a whim, I decided to listen to the soundtrack on TIDAL. It is still blaring. Check out "Belle" the first line. In between the note changes, it is blaring. Almost like a computer was singing. The second verse sounds great, the speaking parts are great, the next part sung by Emma Watson again sounded digital. I feel that Disney wasn't confident with her high range talent. I'm also glad that TIDAL has the masters. "little" seems to be the word that I head it the most on. Every time too.
It's sad. Its like Disney doesn't look for the same quality it used to have. Or maybe I'm getting old. Either way, talent and dedication always beat out auto-tune. I'm going back to my jazz music now.