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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 Oct 8, 2011 | 1 comment

The Sound of Real Steel

Who says robot boxing won’t happen in 2020?! “Real Steel” plays out this fantasy as robots have replaced humans in boxing in this Shawn Levy film (“Night at the Museum” franchise and “Date Night”).

Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) loses a chance to become a boxing champion when robots take over, and he becomes a small-time promoter. When he has difficulty making a living, he reluctantly teams up with his son Max (Dakota Goyo) to build a robot that can contend for the championship.

The stunning visual effects behind the robots can only be brought to life by believable sound. The team responsible for this difficult task include Craig Henighan (sound designer, sound re-recording mixer, supervising sound editor), Skip Longfellow (first assistant sound editor), Warren Hendriks (sound designer), Rob Nokes (sound effects field recordist), and Dan O’Connell (foley artist).

Grab your boxing gloves and step into the ring!

SoundWorks Collection


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Posted by on Jul 6, 2011 | 5 comments Launches New Site

The new site of is now live: features a large waveform viewer and audio player that enhances the previewing of sounds before purchase. Individual channels may be selected, this is especially good for polyphonic sound recordings of guns or on-board cars, tanks and airplanes. In layman’s terms a gun could be recorded at the muzzle, five feet away, fifteen feet away, and one hundred feet away. The waveform player allows the user to select the individual channels and specific time points, in and out, of the sound file for preview and or purchase.

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Posted by on Apr 1, 2011 | 2 comments

Rabbit Ears Audio Releases Military Vehicles SFX Library (Q&A Included)

Rabbit Ears Audio has released its fifth library, called Military Vehicles, a huge collection of seven sfx packs, featuring recordings of the following military vehicles:

  • M5A1 Stuart Tank: In service WWII and Korean War. Engine: 2x Cadillac Flathead V8.
  • M60A3 Combat Tank: In service 1961–1997. Engine: Continental V-12
  • M41A2 Walker Bulldog Tank: In service 1951-1970s. Engine: Continental AOS-895-3.
  • M106A1 Mortar Carrier: In service 1960s-1980s. Engine: 212 hp Diesel.
  • M4A2E8 Sherman Tank: In service 1942–1955. Engine Diesel GM 6046 (2×6-71 inline).
  • M42A1 Duster Tank: In service 1953-1963. Engine: 6-cylinder air cooled gasoline.
  • M75 Armored Personnel Carrier: In service Korean War. Engine: 6-cylinder AO-895-2.

All those vehicles where recorded by Michael Raphael and Rob Nokes of at the Fort Snelling Military Museum in Minnesota.

The gear used – Exterior: Schoeps MS pair, Neumann RSM 191; Onboard: Sanken CUB 01 (multiple), Sennheiser 835S(multiple), Crown PZM; Recorders: Sound Devices 744T and Deva 5,

Military Vehicles is available now at Rabbit Ears Audio. The tanks are being sold individually at $95. There’s a complete collection priced at $499  and packed with over 30GB of sounds.

Now let’s read an interview I had with Michael and Rob, who talked about the making of this huge library.

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