Separation Stories: ADX Technology in Action for Remastered Baywatch Release
Audionamix Services Specialist Stephen Oliver recounts his experience removing music from the blockbuster TV series’ worldwide HD rerelease.
With its water rescue action and eye-popping scenery, the smash hit show Baywatch has been broadcast in over 200 different countries, and watched by over a billion people worldwide. Its success spawned the star-studded 2017 feature film by the same name, and the original story and characters still have a dedicated fan base across the globe.
It’s no surprise then, that in 2018 the company behind Baywatch, Fremantle, started the process of creating a fully remastered HD version of Baywatch for worldwide distribution, including popular streaming platforms like Amazon Prime Video. The original series was shot on 35mm film, making it possible to digitize and clean the negatives for conversion to high-definition digital picture. This involved painstaking work by many talented people, and the end result looks fantastic.
On the audio side, the project presented another challenge: due to the popularity of Baywatch, many of the songs used in the original series have since become very expensive to license due to their commercial success. Licensing these songs for the remastered version would make the entire project cost-prohibitive.
To make the re-release possible, it was decided to replace over 350 songs with new, more affordable music, which allowed the project to get off the ground. This wasn’t a problem for the English version of the show, as the separate music, effects, and dialogue stems were archived and available, so the music stem could be easily be muted and replaced.
For the foreign versions of the show, however, these separate stems were no longer available. The only audio available was the full master track with music, effects and dialogue elements combined into one, making it seemingly impossible to remove and replace just the music.
Enter the Audionamix Professional Services team, a group of audio experts working with proprietary artificial intelligence technology that aims to find and extract specific elements in a mix without processing or destroying the rest of the information within.
Using a patented process known as “Music Dissociation”, we were able to separate only the music from each scene, leaving the dialogue and effects intact. Music Dissociation works by teaching the AI the sonic fingerprint of the song, or source, in this case provided to us by Warner Bros. The AI then analyzes the full audio file and separates it into two elements, the learned music and the remaining dialogue and effects.
Armed with this technology, our team worked on over 400 clips from the show’s nine seasons, allowing for the replacement of music in the French, Spanish Neutral, Spanish Castilian, Italian, and German versions of the show.
In a perfect world one would perpetually have access to all of the elements that create a full mix, whether it be a movie or a song. But this world is complicated, unexpected challenges arise, and archives are often lost over the years. I’ve been honored to assist clients through these worst case scenarios to help them realize their visions for beloved shows, movies, and songs.
Turns out sometimes even the Hoff needs a helping hand.