The classic Bond movies are being brought into the 21st century with special 5.1 surround sound remastering ready for new DVDs in 2005...

UPDATED: 24th January 2004

Classic Bond DVD 5.1 Surround Sound Remastering
24th January 2003 / 14th July 2003

Whilst the James Bond series has spanned 40 years, audio technology for the filmmaker, cinema-goer and home viewer has drastically evolved. As Bond gets a foothold in the 21st century, his old missions are being lovingly remastered in time for a new series of DVDs.

Los Angeles based Mi Casa Multimedia Inc, founded in 1997 when DVD technology was just emerging, are usually tasked with mastering 5.1 Surround Sound and Dolby DTS tracks for the latest blockbuster releases - but now the latest technology is being applied to films up to 40 years old.

MGM have tasked Mi Casa with remastering the every film from "Dr. No" through to "The Man With The Golden Gun" from mono to Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.

Mi Casa Multimedia Inc CTO Brant Biles in the "lounge studio"

The first eight Bond films were all released in mono, as stereo technology only became practical at the time of "The Spy Who Loved Me" in 1977 - but not for much longer...


Original masters from the films only had mono dialogue, music and sound effects - so how can 5.1 surround sound tracks be created? The answer came in the shape of original scoring session at Abbey Road Studios, London. A cornucopia of tracks and formats have been reshaped to form polished surround sound sound by using clips and segments from unused recordings to patch up the original masters.

Faults such as crackle, hiss or other areas of low quality in the original tracks have been surgically replaced with pieces selected from up to eight hours of original session recordings. Messing with a classic Bond film will have most fans gritting their teeth, but this clever use of unused takes keep the soundtracks authentic, without the need to synthesise replacements.


Unlike the music tracks, the special effects could not always be put into the surround environment without some artistic licence. Some spot effects and sounds had to be recreated or added as new by specialist group "Lunatek Music" to deliver a rich surround sound track.

Due to the technical restrictions of the old formats, low frequencies which went unnoticed would spoil a modern digital surround track, so many of the deep bass noises have been altered or added as necessary. At the other end of the spectrum, for similar reasons, gun shots and tyre screeches have been dialled down. The larger dynamic range of the modern technology should provide an exciting new dimension to the audio special effects, but Bond purists need not worry though, as the original mono sound track will also feature on the DVD so you can switch back to the original traditional if you desire.

Audio philes may like to know that Mi Casa selected the brand new Bryston SP 1.7 multi-channel preamplifirer/processors for use in the James Bond remastering project.


DVD Dossier

Completed: "You Only Live Twice", "Live And Let Die", "Diamonds Are Forever", "On Her Majesty's Secret Service".

In Progress: "Thunderball"

Pending: , "Dr. No", "From Russia With Love", "Goldfinger","The Man With The Golden Gun".

Formats: 5.1 Dolby Digital, original mono soundtrack, possible Dolby DTS track on some titles.

Release Date: October 2005

Related Articles
New 007 DVDs In 2005
MI6 DVD Section