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Old 09-28-2010, 05:44 PM   #1
Registered: Feb 2005
Location: Germany
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Removing a "decibel cap" with mencoder (or similar)?


recently, a friend of mine gave me a private copy of a great movie, "Brazil". (Which, according to German law, is legal.) Unfortunately, there seems to be a kind of "decibel cap", which means that during louder scenes (explosions etc.), dialogue is almost impossible to understand.

Is this a kind of "flag" in the file which can possibly be removed by mencoder or similar software, or will I have to bug him to reencode the movie for me? If possible, what software and which flags would I have to use to remove this cap?

mplayer says:
Selected video codec: [ffodivx] vfm: ffmpeg (FFmpeg MPEG-4)

Thanks very much in advance,

PS: If this question happens to be off-limits for this board (i.e. if US laws were to be applied), I apologize and ask to have this thread closed.
Old 09-29-2010, 11:30 AM   #2
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I can't speak to whether or not your question is "legal" here, although it does have technical merit.

The problem you mention typically stems from the Hz frequency the file is encoded with. For example, if the audio is 22kHz MP3, then you will have "distorted" audio during the loud scenes. Some people refere to this as "underwater sounding". Unfortunatly, if this is the case, there's no way to correct the audio without re-encoding the entire thing (as you cannot "replace" missing audio without "knowing what it looked like", so to speak).

By the way, a great film. I loved the constant fighting over the length of their desks!

EDIT: Note that when I say I can't speak to the legality of your question in the sense of our forums, I have read the rules multiple times. You're not asking how to circumvent copyright protection, or how to commit a crime under US law. However, next time might I suggest rewording your question so as not to mention questionable details. The MAFIAA is not nearly as understanding as our moderators.

Last edited by xeleema; 09-29-2010 at 11:34 AM.
Old 09-29-2010, 11:52 AM   #3
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I think it's legal in the US too, as long as you give it back (you know, borrow it for the weekend)

Anyway, I would try using the equalizer audio filter in mencoder, increasing the higher frequencies and decreasing the lower frequencies should help the voices be heard.


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