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60 Minutes Dubbed Engines Noise Over Tesla Model S 544

cartechboy (2660665) writes "Did you watch the Tesla 60 Minutes segment the other night? If you did, you might have ended up on the floor rolling around laughing like I did. Since when does the Tesla Model S electric car make audible engine noises? Or downshift? Turns out, 60 Minutes dubbed engine noises and a downshift over the Model S running footage. The show claims it was an editing error. Call it what you want, it was absolutely hilarious. A little note to TV producers assigned to cover Tesla Motors in the future: Electric cars don't upshift or downshift." At least they didn't fraudulently blow it up!
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60 Minutes Dubbed Engines Noise Over Tesla Model S

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  • Lies (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nwaack ( 3482871 ) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @10:50AM (#46649267)
    There is no way that was an editing error. Someone had to purposefully add those noises to the footage. Please.
  • by ZorinLynx ( 31751 ) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @10:53AM (#46649287) Homepage

    Smooth, instant acceleration no matter what your current speed. It's mind blowing when you first experience it.

    I don't get how people can "miss" the sound of a regular engine, and having to shift. A good computer analogy would be "missing" having to manually input bootstrap code to get your machine going. Sure, it can be a nice bit of nostalgia, but it's a requirement of antiquated technology that no longer applies in the case of the Model S.

    I so wish I could afford that car. I hope they can get the price of its successor down into the 30s; I will jump on that SO quick.

  • Because Hollywood. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @10:54AM (#46649305) Homepage Journal

    The editors who put in car-related audio on all manner of film media are morons, plain and simple.

    I mean, these are the same guys that pipe in 'tires screeching on pavement' sounds every time the Duke boys take off, even when they're on gravel or dirt.

    Frankly, I'd be far more surprised if they didn't add a bunch of fake engine noises.

  • Re:Lies (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @10:56AM (#46649335) Homepage Journal


    Definitely one of those "never attribute to malice that which can be explained by incompetence" situations.

    Editor see car, cars make noise, thus, editor add car noise. No conspiracy necessary.

  • by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @10:59AM (#46649359)

    Considering that the report was a complete Elon Musk worshiping puff piece, I doubt Tesla will complain too much. I half expected it to end with Steve Kroft asking for a towel to clean the spooge off his face.

  • Re:Lies (Score:5, Insightful)

    by danheskett ( 178529 ) <> on Thursday April 03, 2014 @11:13AM (#46649505)

    Agreed that this probably common.

    But, the point is, that it's wrong. It's always a fraud on the viewer, even if sometimes it's a small fraud on the viewer. What we are basically saying now is that "it's always a lie, but this time, it's an obvious lie, and so we are sorry".

    The process of dubbing in audio, which we know happens frequently, is the problem. It's always a lie.

    The answer should be "no more lies". In this case, it's always been a pet peeve. The video shows a middle-aged guy accelerating normally down a city street at 20 or 30 mph. The audio is of an engine hitting redline after slipping the clutch.

  • by m.ducharme ( 1082683 ) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @11:24AM (#46649603)

    I love having to manually shift, and the engine revving and all that. It's a lot of fun. I'm sure gonna miss it when I finally can afford my new Tesla. It won't stop me buying one though.

  • Re:Lies (Score:4, Insightful)

    by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @11:28AM (#46649651) Journal


    Definitely one of those "never attribute to malice that which can be explained by incompetence" situations.

    Editor see car, cars make noise, thus, editor add car noise. No conspiracy necessary.

    I would hope that an editor for a NEWS SERVICE would have more sense than that. Altering levels, filtering noises, tweaking, balancing yes, but going to a library of sound effects and overlaying foreign audio and sound effects? I would hope they would only do that under orders from above.

  • Re:Lies (Score:4, Insightful)

    by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @11:34AM (#46649727) Homepage Journal

    The GP said "editor" but it's likely to be a generic sound guy who works on numerous projects. Never worked in the industry, but based upon simple observation I think they pretty much work from a library of standard sounds that they add to everything by default.

    It's the (computer) mice clicks that always get me. Anyone actually have a mouse that loudly clunks in the way shown on virtually every television show, news show, etc? Even better when the visuals show they're using a laptop's touchpad...

  • by cfulton ( 543949 ) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @11:35AM (#46649735)
    They have lost all credibility in the last year. They are no longer a news outlet but the paid shills of their network an their sponsors.
  • Re:Lies (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 03, 2014 @11:48AM (#46649887)

    The answer should be "no more lies".
    Ok, so you want a virgin audio track with any film you see? Because that's what it's going to take for you "no more lies" garbage to become a reality. And the sound quality you're going to get out of it is going to make 1940s films look like they were recorded in the latest audio technology in comparison.
    I'm simply floored that something like this post got modded up. When you call audio editing on a TV show a "lie" and a "fraud" it makes me wonder how you haven't gone completely hostile over things like the NSA and the Patriot Act. You're petty and unreasonable by normal standards.
    Oh, and if you want a real mind bender? Those people who get shot in movies? Yeah, they're not really dead... or even shot... heck, that blood isn't even really their blood and the gun isn't firing real bullets.
    Oh, the humanity!

  • Re:Lies (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rinikusu ( 28164 ) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @11:48AM (#46649891)

    Well, good luck with that. Go shoot a movie and edit it. See how your sound stacks up. You'll find that frequently, it sucks. This is why we have foley, ADR, etc.

    Now, granted, in a so-called news piece, it's much more egregious.

    Guess what? CG is also a fraud on the viewer. Those Channel 5 graphics don't really exist outside of a computer. Your favorite newscaster is wearing makeup. Etc.

  • by Sarten-X ( 1102295 ) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @11:56AM (#46649989) Homepage

    Hi. I'm an audio engineer. I've done several short films, nominated for a few awards. You just called me a moron, because you don't understand what I do.

    Frankly, my dear, nobody gives a damn about what a particular car sounds like in a particular situation except for us nerds. Unless the media piece is explicitly focused on how something sounds, having realistic audio is actually distracting to the audience. There are thousands of little noises that our brains filter out because we don't care about them. Someone walks down an alley in a city at night, and their ears will pick up rustling clothes, a jingling zipper pull, creaking pipes, whistling wind, noisy cars, buzzing fans, someone shouting a block away, et cetera. Of course they'll hear their own footsteps, but that's the only thing they'll notice. A good audio engineer will strip out the soundtrack completely, add a noise floor to match the rest of the production, and dub in footsteps. Leaving in the raw audio will also leave in those background noises, but because the audience hasn't been exposed to them, the background noises stand out more, distracting the viewer from the film's actual subject.

    Having tires squeal on gravel is similar. Rather than background noise, the distracting element is that the sound just isn't what's expected. In an action shot, there usually isn't time to properly establish the scenery.

    Consider a scene where the Dukes are waiting by the side of the road, and leave in a hurry. They hop in their car, step on the gas, and rush off from a standstill. Sure, visually you can see it's a soft shoulder, but audibly, your brain hasn't bothered to think about dirt or gravel noises. The first sound most audiences associate with a fast departure like that is a squealing tire. That's what they expect, so having the more realistic grinding noise will raise a different cue in the audience's mind. They'll wonder briefly why the engine is grinding, and worry whether something bad happened to the General Lee.

    In another scene, the boys have pulled head-in to a parking space. After the iconic hood-slide, they have to back out on the gravel before they can take off. That's a chance for the audio engineer to put in a slow gravel noise, hinting to the audience that they should expect to hear gravel. By the time the car accelerates, the audio scene has been established in the listeners' minds. A fast gravel grind may be acceptable, but the squeal is still less likely to distract.

    The professional audio technique, and similar techniques on the visual medium, are a major reason behind the perceived quality difference between professional films and home movies. Subtle echoes, timing, and the selection of noises all contribute to keeping the audience focused in the direction the director wants. Blame him if something bothers you.

  • by Radak ( 126696 ) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @12:08PM (#46650131) Journal

    buying your way into a carpool lay seems quite WRONG to me, but its how its done, now. the rich aren't like us; they really hate to wait....

    The object of the carpool lane is to reduce greenhouse gas emission per capita. Carpools accomplish this. So do electric cars. (This could potentially be argued due to manufacturing- and charging-related emissions, but the electric car generally still comes out "cleaner".) I don't see a problem with allowing cars with lower per capita emissions to use the special lanes, no matter what the source of the reduction in emissions.

    Things that do bug me about carpool lanes: Seeing two people riding in a Hummer in the carpool lane while a single guy in a non-plugin hybrid can't be there, and places that actually sell stickers allowing single drivers of otherwise ineligible vehicles to drive in the carpool lane (yes, this does happen some places).

  • Traffic congestion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @12:16PM (#46650223)

    The object of the carpool lane is to reduce greenhouse gas emission per capita.

    The object of a carpool lane is to reduce traffic congestion. Reducing tailpipe emissions is a second order benefit.

  • by David_Hart ( 1184661 ) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @12:27PM (#46650347)

    Did you see the episode? It was, another, excuse to bash on all things American*. The presented t as if it ran out of charge. They really tried to hide the fact that they were not driving the car under normal road conditions.
    Clarkson also has a long history of attacking electric cars, and when he is presented with argument, he responds with non sequitors.
    I like how the article you linked only links to itself and not to any actual reference to the court case.

    *sometime justifiable, but all too often I've seen them do things to American car they don't do to non American cars.

    Here ya go... []

    Top Gear is Cartainment... In my opinion, it isn't a serious car show. Though, it is popular... Those who watch it understand that the hosts have their tongues firmly planted in their cheeks and that they drive cars hard, not like normal people in day-to-day traffic. Saying that a show is disingenuous because it doesn't represent daily driving habits is a specious argument simply because it isn't that type of show.

    The point is that Top Gear isn't a show for people to find information on daily driving. That's what Motor Week and Consumer Reports are for....

  • Re:Lies (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AF_Cheddar_Head ( 1186601 ) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @12:47PM (#46650585)

    If you are over a couple of hundred feet away from the explosion there will be a difference that you can perceive. You know that sound and light travel at different speeds, right?

    If you want a fun demonstration of this get a day on an EOD range, you see the explosion, then hear the explosion, then feel the blast wave, then feel the ground rumble all with different time lag from the actual explosion. Really cool.

  • by JDG1980 ( 2438906 ) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @01:40PM (#46651161)

    Who really killed the EV? It was the "consumer" who was beating down the manufacturer's door for an EV but never put down their cash when the manufacturer delivered on that demand.

    Tesla is, in fact, a highly profitable company. They paid off their $465 million Department of Energy loan [] nine years early. So the rest of your rant is irrelevant. Tesla is profitably making electric vehicles that actual customers are buying. And they already have designs coming up that will be considerably less expensive than the Model S, and will almost certainly see much higher sales figures as a result.

  • by OneAhead ( 1495535 ) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @02:27PM (#46651655)

    If it would be Europe, they would explain it as "reducing greenhouse gas emissions while at the same time recovering some of the taxpayer's money that went into road construction". But since this is the USA, we can't slap taxes onto undesirable things because that's "socialism". Don't ask me why. It always puzzled me that they banned a lot of popular incandescent light bulbs, rather than slapping a tax onto them and investing the income in renewable energy. The bulbs would die out effectively, but you'd get to keep the infrastructure improvements. Slightly more on-topic, there are the plans to ban vehicles that don't meat certain fuel-efficiency standards. Why not leave people the Freedom (Which Is More Important Than Anything Else In Life) to buy them but simply tax them? Or much fairer and easier to implement, tax the fuel itself, or at least stop sponsoring it through tax breaks for the oil companies. Assuming the price increases are not too unreasonable and are ramped up gradually enough, The Market (In Which We Trust) will find its own way towards more fuel-efficient vehicles, with built-in exemptions for The Rich (Whose Privileges Shall Not Be Touched) who can afford to pay more in tax. But no, I live in confusion and ignorance. Freedom, especially for The Rich, and faith in The Market are all marks of The Devil, and its name is Socialism.

    But I sorely digress. This thread being about the USA, yeah, your "make more effective use of tax dollars" sounds about right.

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