June 30, 2022

Here's Why Movie Dialogue Has Gotten More Difficult to Understand (And Three Ways to Fix It)

An excerpt from, "Here's Why Movie Dialogue Has Gotten More Difficult To Understand (And Three Ways To Fix It)" By Ben Pearson, SlashFilm, December 13, 2021:

I used to be able to understand 99% of the dialogue in Hollywood films. But over the past 10 years or so, I've noticed that percentage has dropped significantly — and it's not due to hearing loss on my end. It's gotten to the point where I find myself occasionally not being able to parse entire lines of dialogue when I see a movie in a theater, and when I watch things at home, I've defaulted to turning the subtitles on to make sure I don't miss anything crucial to the plot.

Knowing I'm not alone in having these experiences, I reached out to several professional sound editors, designers, and mixers, many of whom have won Oscars for their work on some of Hollywood's biggest films, to get to the bottom of what's going on. One person refused to talk to me, saying it would be "professional suicide" to address this topic on the record. Another agreed to talk, but only under the condition that they remain anonymous. But several others spoke openly about the topic, and it quickly became apparent that this is a familiar subject among the folks in the sound community, since they're the ones who often bear the brunt of complaints about dialogue intelligibility. 

Video Title: Here's Why Movie Dialogue Has Gotten More Difficult to Understand (And Three Ways to Fix It). Source: SlashFilm. Date Published: December 13, 2021. Description:

Written and Narrated by Ben Pearson All quotes professionally reenacted 

Have you noticed that you're having a hard time understanding dialogue in movies lately? Well here's the good news: It's not just you. Movie dialogue really is harder to hear than it used to be. Now here's the bad news: There isn't one simple solution for the problem. Here's why movie dialogue has gotten more difficult to understand -- and three ways to fix it.