Inaudible dialogue has been a signature trademark of director Christopher Nolan and his newest film is no exception to the rule.
While “Tenet” won’t open in the United States for a few more days, reporters who attended press screenings along with early audiences in New Zealand and Australia have noted difficulty hearing exposition dialogue in the movie.
— Adam Santarossa (@adamsantarossa) August 22, 2020
Numerous reports of this. Even by Nolan/Zimmer standards the sound mix was BAD, a good 20-25% of the dialogue is unintelligible on the big screen – especially with cinemas cranking up the subwoofer as to announce “we’re back baby”. https://t.co/116jOrQ6uM
— Garth Franklin (@darkhorizons) August 21, 2020
This is an interesting question. I think I saw it with you. It was appalling. Word was it was the print. But I’ve talked to people who saw the digital projection this morning and they had similar issues.
— 🥃Donald Clarke📽 (@DonaldClarke63) August 21, 2020
Part of the explanation behind this could be Nolan’s apparent hesitance for additional dialogue replacement (ADR), a method of rerecording lines after shooting a scene. Tenet’s production notes describe how IMAX 70mm cameras are noisier than regular cameras.
“There were intimate dialogue moments that we couldn’t get with the IMAX camera, so then we went back to the 65mm camera,” said the movie’s cinematographer Hoyt van Hoytema.
Some theaters offer closed caption devices, such as glasses or cupholder displays, and some offer select open caption shows. Such devices however are not designed to work with analog film projection, such as 35mm or 70mm film.
While many theaters around the world remain shut due to the COVID-19 pandemic, “Tenet” has begun its global theatrical run. In the United States, the film is set to open in select theaters on September 2.
Image: Warner Bros.