- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Flipboard
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Tumblr
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
Finally, you soon might be able to actually understand Christopher Nolan movies without subtitles.
Amazon’s Prime Video is rolling out a streaming feature that will allow viewers to increase the dialogue in movies and TV shows.
The feature is called Dialogue Boost and, according to Amazon, it lets you raise the volume of dialogue relative to background music and effects, “creating a more comfortable and accessible viewing experience that cannot be found on any other global streaming service.”
Dialogue Boost analyzes the program’s audio and uses AI to spot points where dialogue may be tough to hear. Then speech is isolated and its audio enhanced to make dialogue clearer. Amazon points out this is actually different than using a traditional center channel speaker in a home theater setup because it “delivers a targeted enhancement to portions of spoken dialogue instead of general amplification.”
The issue of muddled and tough-to-understand dialogue has been a growing problem due to dialogue competing with increasingly dynamic music and sound effects, viewers watching more content that’s produced overseas with accented actors, and directors having actors deliver lines in a more realistic, throwaway style instead of the more articulated, stage-influenced style of Hollywood’s past.
In this week’s episode of HBO’s Succession, for example, some key stammer-murmured dialogued delivered by Logan Roy’s devastated mistress Kerry (Zoe Winters) amid a chaotic moment of picking up items off a floor was missed by many of the show’s viewers who discussed the scene afterwards on social media. Nolan’s films have been considered peak mumblecore, with the director often deliberately opting for dialogue that’s part of an artistic sound landscape in films like Tenet and Interstellar, rather than always being the audio focus of a scene.
Two studies, in 2021 and 2022, found that more than 50 percent of viewers are using subtitles — particularly on streaming services — and that young people are far more likely to have them on (anywhere from 70 to 80 percent of adults 18-24 or Gen Z, depending on the study).
“At Prime Video, we are committed to building an inclusive, equitable and enjoyable streaming experience for all our customers,” said Raf Soltanovich, vp technology at Prime Video and Amazon Studios. “Our library of captioned and audio described content continues to grow, and by leveraging our technological capabilities to create industry-first innovations like Dialogue Boost, we are taking another step to create a more accessible streaming experience.”
Unfortunately, the feature is currently only available on select Amazon Originals like Jack Ryan, but the streamer is pledging to continue rolling it out wider. The feature was previously only available for customers with high-end audio setups, but is now available across all devices that support Prime Video playback. You can find it in the audio and subtitles drop-down menu labeled “English Dialogue Boost: Medium” and “English Dialogue Boost: High.”
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day
More from The Hollywood Reporter
The Full Monty
‘The Full Monty’ Star Hugo Speer Says He Was Dropped From Disney+ Spinoff After Runner Saw Him Naked in Trailer
Neil Patrick Harris Says Filming for ‘Uncoupled’ Season 2 Is “on Pause” Due to Writers Strike
Writers Guild Members Get Candid About What Makes This Writers Strike Different Than Previous Ones: “We’re Mad”
The Good Fight
Script to Scene: ‘The Good Fight’ Scribes Detail the Paramount+ Drama’s Final Moments
The Good Wife
Hollywood Flashback: ‘The Good Wife’ Won Showrunners Robert and Michelle King Their First Case