Dolby Atmos Coming To A Theater Near You: First Impressions

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Ronald Epstein, May 22, 2012.

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  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    [​IMG]

    EXPANDING YOUR IMAGINATION





    Introduction



    Living up to its name, Home Theater Forum typically places emphasis on entertainment in the home. Today there are nearly 9,000 Blu-ray titles available globally which have become the reference benchmark for all entertainment in providing the best 1080p picture and lossless audio. The advantage of lossless audio is that it delivers an listening experience identical to the studio masters.



    But what about the theatrical experience?



    Dolby has been one of the leading pioneers in sound for the past 4 decades. It was their encoded surround effects that "wowed" audiences starting in the late 70s with films like Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Apocalypse Now. Dolby's multi-channel 5.1 encoding was introduced both into the theaters and home entertainment systems during the 1990s and over recent years, Dolby has been improving upon the theatrical and home systems listening environments.



    Recently, Dolby has been continuing to improve upon the theatrical listening environment. In 2010 the company introduced Dolby 7.1 which added two additional rear surround channels to auditoriums which enhanced overall directionality in providing a complete circle of sound around the audience.



    Now, once again, Dolby is pushing the envelope in providing even more realistic sound for theatrical audiences....





    DOLBY ATMOS





    Theatrical sound hasn't differed much than the 7.1 audio many consumers have been enjoying in their homes. Walk into most modern theatrical auditoriums and you'll find the traditional set of speakers lining the front, side and rear walls. Until now, this was the best way to provide 360 degrees of sound across the theater.





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    Typical Dolby Atmos theater with speaker arrangement

    (Click on photo for larger picture)





    Attempting to further immerse audiences into the most realistic and lifelike experience ever, Dolby has introduced their new Atmos format. Home Theater Forum was recently invited out to Dolby to listen to their new Atmos system, demonstrated in their state-of-the-art theater. With the placement of 6 surround speakers across the sidewall, 5 against the backwall, and 6 hanging above our heads from the ceiling, I anticipated a highly stimulating listening experience.



    I was not disappointed.



    Our demo began with the simple sound of falling rain group with occasional claps of thunder. As I had expected, the sound emanated directly above me. What I found interesting is that I was able to distinguish varying levels of sound overhead, from front to back. For instance, sitting mid-theater, I was able to sense more intensity in rainfall towards the front. When there were bursts of thunder, sound was designated to just a few of the ceiling speakers, giving the sense of pinpointed directionality.



    The next set of demos we listened to were designed to demonstrate movement across the channels. In a 7.1 environment, to move objects from front to back/side to side, sound simply disappears from one side of the auditorium and appears in the other as you move it from one set of channels to the other. Now, with the addition of ceiling speakers, Atmos has the ability to fill in corners of sound that before were not possible.



    Atmos is designed to be incredibly flexible. Dolby has a ProTools plugin so there is a minimal learning curve for mixers to start using it. It is adaptable to multiple theater configurations. Dolby currently has Atmos installed in a 26.3 configuration in their San Francisco mixing stage, a 38.1 configuration in their Burbank mixing stage, 41.3 in the Stag mixing stage at Skywalker Sound and they demo'd it in 47.3 at the Brenden Theatre in Las Vegas for Cinemacon. There can be a maximum of 64 channels.





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    (Left) Dolby's John Loose explains the process of mixing for Dolby Atmos. (Right) Dolby Atmos rendering plugin for ProTools enables pinpointing sound anywhere.

    (click on images for larger picture)



    The picture on the right shows a pre-production sample of the Atmos monitor Protools plugin. It gives sound mixers a visual indication of what is happening with the Atmos mix in real time and allows them to make adjustments. The top left of the monitor has 118 circles representing the 118 objects that can be individually placed and moved at any given time. The objects outlined in green represent objects that are being used in this portion of the mix. These objects are also in the 3D space in the lower right representing a theater. Here is where the sound mixer can actually "drag and drop" a sound object onto the soundstage and pan it around the theater the way they want by clicking and draging them with the mouse. It encodes in real time so they can hear the sound panning around them as they move it around with their mouse. The levels on the upper right are sound levels for the main 9.1 channels. The rectangle with the circles on the lower left represents the speaker configuration for the mixing stage being used and shows which speakers are currently active in the mix.



    To keep it simple for sound mixers, they just need to mix in 9.1 (7.1 with left and right ceiling channels). Once they have the basic mix down they can take up to 118 individual objects at any given time and place them anywhere in the room. If they want the sound to fly around the auditorium they can simply take their mouse, click on the object, and drag it around the room based on how they want the sound to move (see picture above). This movement data is encoded in the mix and decoded real time by the Atmos processor in the theater based on the speaker configuration for that specific auditorium. The sound mixer doesn't need to do a 47.3. a 38.1 and a 26.3 mix -- just the single Atmos mix. Each Atmos system will have an initial setup done that includes an EQ of the room, calibrating all channels to 85db, and loading the exact speaker configuration. Once the system is set up, it will run a daily check to verify that all speakers are working correctly. If it detects a problem it will email a service request and route around the problem speaker(s) until that problem is fixed. Atmos systems use full range speakers at each location, and extend the surround speakers forward to make for more seamless pans. They recommend that there be one pair of ceiling speakers for each pair of side speakers.





    Watching a scene from Planet of the Apes (2011) I was amazed to watch a helicopter spiraling out of control as I listened to the movement of the motors and blades as they seamlessly swept from the left side, over my head, to the right channels and then the front.



    I believe horror and science fictions movies are going to provide the most terrifying, realistic noise landscape for audiences now that content creators can place threatening sound effects just about anywhere in the auditorium. Take for instance a sound demo (with no video) we sampled that placed us directly in an airplane seat. Around us were the sounds of passenger conversation. Above us we could hear people opening the overhead bins. Towards the front, the sound of the pilot making an announcement. Suddenly -- BAM -- the plane is out of control. We can hear screaming from every direction as the plane plunges towards earth. Suddenly the sound of rushing water from every direction, seemingly rising from bottom to ceiling as we crash into the ocean. Shortly thereafter, audio becomes muffled as we find ourselves completely submerged with the sounds of bubbles above us. Without any video accompaniment, we were left totally to our imaginations to use the sound for filling in the picture. It worked wonderfully.



    In conclusion, Atmos helps tell the story. Every time you can make some technical improvement that removes a barrier you are helping the movie's worth. That’s a good thing. There are limitations to arrays and the most obvious limitation to a single array is the inability to pan a sound without the timbre changing as you go from one loudspeaker to an arrangement of speakers, making it possible to fill in those corners that were never possible before, and I think it’s exciting. Atmos is not only useful with loud movies with lots of pans, the accuracy and low distortion meant it’s probably useful to every movie, even a dialogue film.








    THE FUTURE



    [​IMG]

    Brave opens June 22nd



    There will be a very limited Atmos theatrical rollout for 2012 as Dolby is focused on content creation for the Summer 2013 releases when they plan on having the system installed at 1000 screens nationwide. For now, Atmos will be unveiled in 15 theaters this year in cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York for Disney/Pixar's Brave. While nothing has been finalized, it was obvious that Dolby would like to bring Atmos to home theaters, but we were told it was 3 to 4 years out, and there is no additional data. We did hear a rumor that they are looking at using 11 speakers and subs for home use.









    (Click on the above video to learn more about Dolby Atmos)





     
  2. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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    Sounds interesting - I look forward to checking it out at a theater.

    Can't imagine it's gonna do well for home theaters, though - it just sounds way too complicated to make sense in many people's houses. It might work for the very small percentage of large HT rooms but that's about it...
     
  3. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Colin,

    I agree with you. It's kind of inconceivable for average home use,
    but it's kind of cool knowing that the potential is there.
     
  4. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    Yeah, I have to say, 11.x whatever is wow. It may be incredible, but the WAF of it is not so good ;)
     
  5. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    I'm a sound nut but this seems like overkill. 7.1 sound is already plenty- most new theaters aren't even big enough to really take advantage of it, as the seats with the best view of the screen are already close to the back. (I have 7.1 at home too, though my living room is really too small to make proper use of it- my 4 rear speakers are essentially lined up along the back wall.)
    The main problem with theaters right now is the auditoriums are too small, and likewise are the screens- I can't believe how often common-width screens are used. Meanwhile prices keep going up.
     
  6. Brian Dobbs

    Brian Dobbs Ambassador

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    HOLY MOLY!
    Now I need to do some more pre-wiring for my theater-in-progress!
     
  7. Archimedes

    Archimedes Auditioning

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    Hmmm. I think this new development is really interesting. I currently have a 13.3 set up and the audio reproduction is MAGICAL. I use a standard 7.1 decode process but with 2 x center channel speakers, 2 x front subs and a rear sub. The additional 6 speakers are processed through a Yamaha DSP-3000 as presence channels and are placed high (4 front and 2 rear, with options for adding 2 additional side channels and center front as well as center rear). The combination creates a sense of depth and height that has to be experienced.
     
  8. Brian Dobbs

    Brian Dobbs Ambassador

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    Cool. Do you have any photos?
     
  9. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Dolby Reveals List of First Dolby® Atmos™ Global Locations



    Exhibitors, Post Production and Dolby Offices Selected to Offer Dolby Atmos


    WHO
    Dolby Laboratories (NYSE:DLB), the global leader in technologies that are essential elements in the best entertainment experiences.

    WHAT
    Today, Dolby revealed the first locations in the world selected to offer Dolby® Atmos™. Dolby Atmos brings audiences the most lifelike and immersive movie-going experience ever. This breakthrough audio platform represents significant innovation from Dolby and offers audiences a sensory experience that surpasses that of any other sound experience in movie theatres today. It also offers content creators unprecedented control of the placement and movement of sound within the movie theatre leading to powerful storytelling.

    Theatres selected to be the first to show Disney/Pixar’s “Brave” in Dolby Atmos will be officially announced in mid-June.

    WHERE
    The following theatres, post houses and Dolby offices will be the first in the world to provide the future of entertainment sound through Dolby Atmos:

    Movie Theatres:

    United States & Canada
    · AMC Barrywoods 24 (Kansas City, MO)
    · AMC Burbank 16 (Burbank, CA)
    · AMC Century City 15 (Century City, CA)
    · AMC Downtown Disney 24 (Lake Buena Vista, FL)
    · AMC Garden State 16 (Paramus, NJ)
    · AMC Van Ness 14 (San Francisco, CA)
    · Arclight Sherman Oaks (Sherman Oaks, CA)
    · Brenden Theatres at the Palms (Las Vegas, NV)
    · Century at Pacific Commons and XD (Fremont, CA)
    · Cinemark West Plano and XD (West Plano, TX)
    · SilverCity-Yonge Eglinton Cinemas (Cineplex) (Toronto, ON)
    · Cinetopia Vancouver Mall 23 (Vancouver, WA)
    · Kerasotes Showplace ICON at Roosevelt Collection (Chicago, IL)
    · The Dolby Theatre (Hollywood, CA)

    Europe
    · Cinesa Diagonal Mar (Barcelona, Spain)
    · Empire Leicester Square (London, United Kingdom)

    Asia
    · China Film Stella Theater Chain Hefei 1912 (He Fei, China)
    · Shanghai Film Art Center (Shanghai, China)
    · UME Shuangjing (Beijing, China)
    · Wanda Cinemas Wuhan Lingjiao Lake (Wuhan, China)

    Global Post Facilities:
    · China Film Post (Beijing, China)
    · Skywalker Sound - Skywalker Ranch (Marin County, CA)

    Dolby Offices: United States & Europe
    · Dolby 88 (New York City, NY)
    · Dolby Screening Room (San Francisco, CA)
    · Larry Umlang Theatre (Burbank, CA)
    · Dolby Soho Screening Room (London, United Kingdom)
    · Dolby Royal Wootton Bassett, Screen 1 (Royal Wootton Bassett, United Kingdom)


    WHEN
    Movie-goers should check their theatres’ individual websites and local listings for information on Dolby Atmos. Please check back for new locations coming on line here: http://www.dolby.com/us/en/professional/technology/cinema/dolby-atmos.html#id=1

    ASSETS TO SHARE
    To learn more about Dolby Atmos, visit dolby.com/Atmos. For an educational video on Dolby Atmos, visit: . For press materials, visitdolby.com/press.

    CONTACT
    For more information or to receive any of the aforementioned assets, please contact Joshua Gershman, 415-645-5611, jgers@dolby.com orDolbyHKTeam@hkstrategies.com

    About Dolby Atmos
    Dolby Atmos is the latest sound technology from Dolby Laboratories that brings a powerful new listening experience with more natural, realistic cinema sound that truly envelops the audience. It is an end-to-end solution that takes into account the entire content pipeline and brings together mixers, studios, and distributors to create dramatic improvements in the audio experience. The Dolby Atmos platform provides content creators with a new creative freedom to tell their stories and simplifies movie distribution with a single universal package to deliver to audiences the full impact of the artist's intent, regardless of theatre configuration.

    About Dolby Laboratories
    Dolby Laboratories (NYSE:DLB) is the global leader in technologies that are essential elements in the best entertainment experiences. Founded in 1965 and best known for high-quality audio and surround sound in environments from the cinema to the living room to mobile devices, Dolby creates innovations that enrich entertainment at the movies, at home, or on the go. For more information about Dolby Laboratories or Dolby technologies, please visit www.dolby.com.
     
  10. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    4 out of 14 US theaters in Socal. There are advantages to living here. :)
     
  11. Jerome Grate

    Jerome Grate Cinematographer

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    I would love to experience this new sound format. I agree with the other posts that it is not practical for home theater use. Heck, I just got 7.1 surround, and I can't see placing speakers over head.
     
  12. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer
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    As a direct follow-up to Ron's good work here, I attended a Dolby Atmos demonstration at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood yesterday morning. (This demonstration was done as part of the official unveiling of the Dolby Theatre, which included a day-long concert outside at the Hollywood & Highland complex.)

    Leading the demonstration and discussion were:

    Kevin Yeaman, President and CEO
    Ramzi Haidamus, EVP Sales & Marketing
    David Gray, VP Worldwide Production Services

    Kevin Yeaman provided a basic overview of Dolby's philosophy and work, reaching back to the original work of Ray Dolby in starting the company. Ramzi Haidamus discussed the primary motivator of the company as being a way to best present the artist's intent in whatever format is being used, whether that be a smartphone, a tablet, or a large theater space like the Dolby Theatre. David Gray came forward and provided more technical detail.

    David Gray described a significant undertaking to set up the Dolby Theatre for Dolby Atmos. A total of 164 speakers are used to make the Dolby Atmos sound - 36 JBL speakers at and behind the screen, and 128 Meyer Sound speakers in the surround positions. Surround positions now include two large trusses hanging over the audience - 68 of the speakers are found in those trusses. (The trusses have a specific problem related to this theatre that I'll get to in a minute...) The idea behind all these speakers was described as making the entire theater a "sweet spot" rather than just having a place in the center where it worked best. That said, our group was all seated at about the center of the theater.

    Demonstrations of the Dolby Atmos sound were done through a variety of clips presented on the screen.

    Clips:

    1. Introduction to Dolby (mostly just various film clips and quotes from around 30 movies as characters say "Listen!")
    2. Dolby Atmos Logo - about 23 seconds long, utilizing 120 sound objects independent of the various channels.
    3. The Incredibles Clip - A three minute clip from The Incredibles was presented, with the channels augmented by 20-30 objects to bring saucer engines and other sounds to specific areas in the soundscape.
    4. The Incredibles Clip, Objects Only - The same clip was shown again, this time with only the objects in the surrounds and the overhead truss speakers.
    5. Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol Clip - A 4 minute clip from the latest Mission Impossible was presented, with the channels augmented by a larger number of objects to present the sequence where Ethan Hunt pursues a bad guy on foot through a sandstorm and then in a stolen vehicle. At the end of the clip, the crashing car clearly flew across the soundfield and impacted somewhere in the balcony.
    6. Dolby Atmos Background Clip - A shorter version of the movie in Ron's original post was presented.
    7. Fly Me To The Moon 3D - A short 3D clip was shown in Dolby 3D, with miniature astronauts floating in front of the screen and one floating out into the house to pursue a little piece of food.
    8. Dolby Atmos Logo 3D - The same 23 second clip was presented again, this time in 3D.

    The demonstration was impressive in the specificity of where the sounds were being directed. The sheer number of individual speakers where sounds could go provided a fairly robust landscape on which to place the various ideas, including roaring engines, bullet impacts, or even the blowing sand of the sandstorm in the MI clip. I note that this demonstration was all the more impressive as David Gray had only 3 weeks to put this rig together, down from the 7-8 weeks he had requested.

    The added complication of the Dolby Theatre I alluded to earlier is the presence of the Cirque du Soleil troupe performing "Iris" ten times each week. Since Cirque du Soleil has trapeze artists and acrobats moving throughout the upper space above the audience, the Dolby Atmos trusses cannot stay in position. If they did, they would pose a severe danger to the trapeze artists. This means that the trusses must be removed for any rehearsal or performance of the troupe. Which means the trusses will only be up when a Dolby Atmos event is at hand, like the upcoming premiere of Brave in this theater. I asked David Gray how they intend to deal with this over the long haul. His idea is to have a system where the trusses are drawn up toward the ceiling and then stored off to the sides up there. Unfortunately, this could not be done in such short notice. So the trusses today must be pulled down and stored someplace backstage.

    When the demonstration was completed and the floor was opened for questions, I asked Kevin Yeaman how Dolby Atmos will be applied to Home Theater setups, given that we usually have 5 to 7 speakers plus a subwoofer. He did not have a specific answer to this. He did say that Dolby is dedicated to finding an appropriate way to bring Dolby Atmos to home theaters but this has not been worked out yet. (Which sends us back up to Ron's description above of several years down the road - and I agree with that.) I have a separate concern here, which I was hoping could be answered but which remains open. Many of us have receivers, players and speakers that we have invested a fair amount of money in - to provide us with the best home theater environment possible. These systems are now updated to the most current picture and sound codecs and can play everything up to Dolby True HD 7.1. The new Dolby Atmos appears to be a system that will require new receivers and players, as well as more speakers than people currently have. To say the least, this is a bit of a concern for me. I just upgraded last year to my current system, and I do not anticipate suddenly getting all new equipment anytime soon.

    At 12pm sharp, our group was ushered out into the 2nd Floor gallery, where multiple Dolby products and prototypes were displayed. These included headsets for Dolby Sound for laptops, tablets, and smartphones at one end of the gallery, and a 52" glasses-free 3D HDTV prototype at the other. I gravitated to the glasses-free 3D display to see how effective it works. It's a 4K television apparently sending 1080p to each eye. Clips were shown from Hugo and the latest Transformers movie, as well as the Titanic 3D trailer. The 3D works intermittently. If you think of a viewing arc around the TV screen, this is not a situation where you can smoothly see 3D as you travel across the room. On the other hand, the 3D does work in areas outside of the sweet spot right in the middle. In some ways, the off angle viewing provided better 3D than straight on. However, it isn't consistent. It works well in some spots and then goes 2D in others. I noticed the image would appear to waver when I found a sweet spot, after which I would see a 3D image, although not nearly as intense of one as I can see on my home system with active shutter glasses. I identified somewhere close to 8 different points in the room where the 3D seemed to work, and many more where it did not. I asked for clarification about this set, and got an acknowledgement that this is a system that is still being developed. It's possible that some makers will have HDTVs using this system for CES next year. But we're still a ways away from being able to have a completely glasses-free 3D TV that works in all areas of a home theater. I would say it will be another 5 years before we get there, but they could surprise us and work it out sooner. Either way, a 4K television will undoubtedly be an expensive proposition.

    One other glasses-free 3D idea was presented - that being 3D on a smartphone, tablet or laptop. The 3D can be dialed up and down in terms of intensity, going all the way from a flat 2D image to a fully dimensional 3D one. I'm not as keen on this for smaller screens, particularly on a smartphone where it is very hard to watch. But I recognize there are gamers who will enjoy being able to use the 3D on whichever platform they have.

    At 1230pm, the event was concluded and the journalists took their leave, by way of the Hollywood & Highland complex where the concerts continued.

    Thanks much to Aziza Johnson and The Outcast Agency for inviting Home Theater Forum to this event.
     
  13. Brian Dobbs

    Brian Dobbs Ambassador

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    Thanks for the info. I think I'll still pre-wire for Atmos.
     
  14. Jeff Cooper

    Jeff Cooper Screenwriter

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    Seriously? How is this going to catch on? How many theaters are going to pay to upgrade their equipment to this standard? What about maintenance? What are the odds that at least 1 of those speakers will be blown? How many movie sound editors are going to compose their effects for placement in each speaker? What are the costs of this going to do to ticket prices?
     
  15. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer
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    Thanks for catching that number, Jeff.

    The thing to keep in mind is that the high number of speakers is specifically for the Dolby Theatre.
    Other theaters will use the Atmos system with a greatly reduced number. I would think that even a collection of 30 speakers or less could do it.
    The Atmos system is designed to be scaled up and down, depending on the number of speakers available to place the objects.
    The list of theaters they have named includes multiplexes with a much smaller number.
    The conversion costs shouldn't be that high if it's a minimum of new equipment using the existing speakers in a different way.
    Putting the Atmos system into a venue like the Dolby Theatre or someplace like the Village in Westwood will allow them to have a higher number.

    This does not mean that it will work all that well in a 5.1 or even a 7.1 setup. But Ron is correct to note that it could be an 11.1 setup for home theater.
    My issue there is that it puts a huge cost burden on us to buy a bunch of new equipment when I just purchased a new receiver, new player and new HDTV last year.
    Now I find that in a couple of years, we're being asked to trade everything in for new 4K TVs to watch 3D without glasses, new receivers and new players to handle the new encodes, and of course even more speakers.

    A good point was made to me yesterday that in a typical home theater setup in an apartment or house, there's not a lot of room to add more speakers. We don't live in giant barns, after all. A typical den or living room can accomodate a 7.1 system around the perimeter, but when you add 4 more speakers overhead and elsewhere, the situation starts to become really complicated. And I'll have to see how that really works in practice.

    Again, my concern is the Home Theater angle of this. For movie theaters like the Village or the Bruin or the Chinese, this should be a great system.
     
  16. Archimedes

    Archimedes Auditioning

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    I guess I can take some photos next week when I'm back in town. I may eventually add two additional side presence channels for a better effect. Speakers are all Klipsch. KSP-400 as mains, KSP C6 as centers, KSP S6 as rears, SS-3 as sides, and RSX-4 as four front presence, and SS .5 as two rear presence. Two front subs are part of the KSP-400 package, and the rear sub is a KSW-150. I also have an extra pair of KSP S6s that I thought about adding to the rear sides for enhanced effects, but have never gotten around to it. Speakers are currently powered by 3 x Harman Kardon Signature series amps (1 x 1.5 and 2 x 2.1, as well as a Marantz amp for the two centers and two rears) with signals for mains, centers and rears being buffered through 3 x Musical Fidelity Tube buffers (X-10 v.3) . The arrangement is really breathtaking with phenomenal sound effects and sheer musicality, but I guess it can always improve. Frankly, I think the sound is TOO BIG for the 60" Sony Bravia mounted on the wall. The wall can accomodate a 70" comfortably, but I think 80" would make it look too crowded. I am waiting for a second or third-generation passive 3D 70" to 72" (with better resolution than the current passive 3D offering from LG) to come to market from Sony, Panasonic or Samsung.
     
  17. Todd Erwin

    Todd Erwin Cinematographer
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    Dolby Laboratories invited me to a screening of Brave at the AMC Century 15 in Century City last night to experience Dolby Atmos in the ETX auditorium.

    This was the most immersive sound experience I've ever had in a movie theater. The riot sequence in the throne room in Brave will likely become a core demo for the format. You could pinpoint characters rioting offscreen in exact locations within the auditorium. The forest scenes were just as impressive, with distinct atmospheric effects (for lack of a better term) also coming from exact locations within the room. The end credits also benefited, with various musical instruments spread throughout the room.

    Perhaps the biggest compliment came from my wife, who is never all that impressed with movie sound, who not only gave me a thumbs up during the Dolby Atmos trailer, but also had nothing but praise for the audio presentation from the time we walked out of the theater, during dessert in the food court, and on the way back to the parking garage.

    However, and this has more to do with the sound mix that the format itself, I felt the way narration was handled did not work, trying to give a sense of the dialogue coming from inside your head by spreading the narration across the outer speakers. The effect would have induced a headache if it were any longer than it was.

    All in all, I can't wait for more theaters to have this installed so more people can experience Dolby Atmos!
     
  18. Todd Erwin

    Todd Erwin Cinematographer
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    Where I see theater chains installing this is in their premium auditoriums, such as Regal's RPX, Cinemark's XD, and AMC's ETX, and not their smaller, more standard screens, at least at first. It would add a bit more value to what many moviegoers currently perceive as a marketing ploy to charge extra for a larger screen, louder sound, and (in some cases) more comfortable seats.
     
  19. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    As I understand it, sound editors don't have to think in terms of sound in each speaker. They just need to think "I want to put sound X at location A. It's the system that figures out what speakers and at what relative level to place the sound in to achieve that effect.
     
  20. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    Matt
    We took the kids this morning to the BarryWoods 24 in Kansas City, where they were presenting "Brave" in ATMOS. Dolby engineers made a short presentation before the screening, and asked us to stay after to fill out questionaires. Here are some of my thoughts, and I'll write something longer up loater..

    ATMOS is better then I expected - in the presentation of brave, small audio cues are represented in a way t I hadn't really imagined before in a movie screening.. "whisps" moved around left/right middle/back above us in front of us, behind us.. small audio payouts really worked - and this is something I had expected.
    One thing I had not expected was the effect of relocating the impact of sub-level bass. With LFE type effects coming from in front, in the front corners, and the rear corners, it allowed you to get a much stronger sense of big movement in front of and behind you.. you could "feel" it so to speak.

    While we watched the presentation in 3D, the audio is what we drove the distance for, and it was worth it. When asked if I'd pay more to see a film in ATMOS, I responded 20% over ticket.. IF 2D. I'm hoping ATMOS doesn't become tied at the hip with 3D presentations; though I could see that happening. Dolby representatives took questions afterwards, and several people asked: will their be 2D showings with ATMOS in the future.. I think the clear thought on the mind of a lot of the viewing audience is that 2D is in some cases preferred (for me in almost all cases).

    It's definitely unique. They tell us 13 theaters in the US are active this weekend, but by fall, that number will drastically increase. AMC will be on of the "leaders" in rolling out ATMOS, Dolby told us.. (We did get free Brave in ATMOS posters and free popcorn for writing a review, so if you're in KC and want the goodies and a great experience, MAKE THE TRIP.
     

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