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Posted by on Nov 30, 2012 | 4 comments

Ambiences with Dolby Atmos

Sitting there as credits rolled after a Dolby Atmos presentation of Brave this past summer, I felt excited for the potential of this budding format. Before the film, a few seated moms and dads were even verbally excited as the usher announce that we would be watching the film in a new sound format. During the film, the theater was saturated with sound, I truly felt immersed at times.  Yet as I watched the credits fly by, I couldn’t help feeling that until sound crews sink their teeth into the format, we won’t really hear Atmos fully realized. For the format to really sparkle, films need to be designed, edited, and premixed with Atmos in mind or as Dolby would like it, premixed IN Atmos entirely. After reading about the impression Atmos left on Shaun at AES and trying to find a way to contribute to an already excellent month of ambient discussion, I decided I should contact a few sound crews that mixed in Atmos, ask how backgrounds are handled, and with that initial experience how they would approach BGs in their next Atmos mix.

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Posted by on Nov 8, 2012 | 8 comments

My Impressions of Dolby Atmos

One of the hot topics at AES this year…and by “hot,” I mean a subject that had multiple conference sessions devoted to it…was the concept of adding height to the spatial information presented by multi-channel surround formats. I’m sure a fair bit of the enthusiasm for this subject is caused by the announcement and release of Dolby Atmos earlier this year.

My experience with Dolby Atmos prior to AES was non-existent. To date, there are only 14 theaters in the U.S., and one in Canada, currently equipped for Atmos playback. The closest theater to me is in New York, and that’s not exactly a short trip from the Washington, DC, metro area. Thankfully, my trip out to San Francisco for AES provided me with two opportunities to listen to the system at work. The first was a technical demonstration at Dolby Laboratories, scheduled as a “Technical Tour” within the AES events program. The second was the AMC Metreon, which had two daily showings of Chasing Mavericks; the latest film release to be mixed in the new Atmos format.

Just imagining all that could be done in creating subtle backgrounds and ambiences, I was excited to hear what this system could do…though I fully expected the bulk of the examples that Dolby would be showing would tend toward spectacle. That proved, for the most part, to be true. Which made the opportunity presented by Chasing Mavericks all the more important; a chance to truly hear how editors and re-recording mixers would make use of the system throughout the course of a story. Before I get too deep into those experiences though, let’s talk about some of the interesting technical abilities of the system.

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Posted by on Sep 20, 2011 | 0 comments

Creating An Immersive Experience

The August issue of ‘Post Magazine’ has an article about mixing to create an immersive experience – both in 7.1 and 5.1. It features interviews with Craig Henighan for ‘Real Steel’ (he also talks about crowd and robot design), Mike Minkler for ‘Fright Night’ (the remake) and Steve Pederson for ‘Final Destination 5’ (mixed in 5.1 and his thoughts on not using 7.1 and how it might have benefitted).

Even though home enter tainment equipment has become more sophisticated, experiencing a movie in the the- ater is still unsurpassed. With the increase of digital cinemas, a greater offering of IMAX films, the improvement of 3D technology and the growing popularity of the 7.1 format, theaters are able to offer the audience a movie experience like no other.

According to Robin Selden, senior VP, marketing at Dolby, Dolby Surround 7.1 is one of the fastest growing cinema audio formats in the history of their company.Their 7.1 format consists of eight chan- nels in the layout: Left, Center, Right, Low-Frequency Effects (LFE), Left Surround, Right Sur- round, Back Surround Left and Back Surround Right.With the addition of two surround speak- ers, mixers are able to more accurately pinpoint where a sound is placed.They also enhance the spatiality of the sound.

Continue reading here.

/via @lydrummet

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