Panorama Slicing Creates 5.1 From Stereo Classics
Pictured at Todd-AO West (L-R) are Penteo inventor John Wheeler, “Inglourious Basterds” re-recording mixer Michael Minkler, and music editor Jim Schultz. Photo by David Goggin.
In keeping with Quentin Tarantino’s use of eclectic music from his personal vaults as opposed to commissioning new musical scores, “Inglourious Basterds” features more than a dozen familiar and exotic tracks. What’s new is that the stereo masters dating back to the 60s have been converted to 5.1 audio through the new proprietary Penteo Surround process.
“Quentin was open to using the new process,” recalls Tarantino’s re-recording mixer Michael Minkler of Todd-AO, “as long as he could close his eyes and still feel emotionally attached in exactly the way he did with the original music sources he had chosen from his own collection.”
used in the Warner Bros. blockbuster “Watchmen,” the Penteo process allows film mixers to incorporate 5.1 audio elements converted directly from stereo music sources. Multiple Oscar-winner Minkler, who has worked on numerous Tarentino films, first incorporated the new Penteo process earlier this year when working feverishly to prepare the new film for the Cannes festival.
Minkler and music editor Jim Schultz chose various pieces of music for Penteo to process before presenting them to the director for evaluation. It was the new 5.1 version of David Bowie’s “Cat People (Putting Out The Fire)” that convinced Tarantino to have the remainder of the music sources similarly processed.
More than a dozen stereo tracks were converted by Penteo Surround to 5.1, including “Cat People (Putting Out The Fire),” David Bowie; “Tiger Tank,” Lalo Schifrin; “The Devil’s Rumble,” Mike Curb/The Arrows; and a number of pieces by Ennio Morricone, including “Mercenario (Reprisa).”
Various factors make the Penteo process ideal for creating 5.1 from stereo sources for theatrical presentation. “Inglourious Basterds” music editor Jim Schultz says the option of using the original multitrack masters to create new 5.1 film mixes is extremely rare because of the obvious budget and time constraints, and that in many cases the multitrack sources no longer even exist.
According to Penteo president John Wheeler, the process is the first true “panorama slicer.” He explains, “It’s a process that separates out specific pan-pot positions within a stereo mix so that they can then be re-assembled into a true 5.1 mix, either by us, or, as in the case of ‘Basterds,’ another mixer.”
Significantly, the Penteo 5.1 mix automatically snaps back to the original 2-channel mix when presented in conventional stereo settings. “Stereo compatibility is not an issue,” he adds. “We mathematically equal the original stereo mix, but spread out over five positions, so that it precisely downmixes back to the original.”
ABOUT “INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS”
During World War II a group of Jewish-American soldiers known as “The Basterds” are chosen specifically to spread fear throughout the Third Reich by scalping and brutally killing Nazis. The Basterds soon cross paths with a French-Jewish teenage girl who runs a movie theater in Paris which is targeted by the soldiers.
Penteo, LLC, based in San Francisco, California, has created cutting-edge technologies and services that convert any stereo audio into 5.1 surround sound, with automatic downmixing back to stereo. The company has developed proprietary, patent-pending technologies and applications that allow television, film, and music industry professionals to convert and deliver their stereo content and assets into superior-quality 5.1 surround sound, setting a new standard in completely downconvertible, stereo-compatible 5.1 audio processing.
Penteo is a registered trademark of Penteo, LLC.