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. Adam Gregorich

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    Robert already touched on this, but the sound designers, just place the sound where they want it in the room on a GUI and the Atmos processor does the rest. This is because there is no standard for how may speakers an Atmos theater will have. There are some with as few as 26 (could be lower now) and you could have some with up to 64. The Atmos processor in each theater decodes the mix and decides based on the number of channels in that specific theater where to direct the sounds in the mix. During a demo I saw a mixer take a sound and with the mouse move it all over the room in real time. As to blown speakers, they system does a self test each day looking for speaker problems. If it finds a problem it sends a repair alert and routes around that speaker until it can be fixed.

    There will be a big roll out in 2013 with over 1000 screens world wide. A lot of next summers blockbusters will be mixed for it as well.
     
  2. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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    Can't wait for the Atmos remix of "My Dinner With Andre"!
     
  3. DavidJ

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    I'm pretty excited about this technology and may have to dive to West Plano or KC to hear it. It sounds impressive.
     
  4. Craig S

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    Hmm. A road trip to West Plano may indeed be in order for me as well. It wouldn't be the first time I've driven 4 hours to the Dallas area just to see a movie!
     
  5. DavidJ

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    It wouldn't be a first for me either Craig. We could have a mini HTF-meetup.
     
  6. Steve Tannehill

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    I just saw Brave at Cinemark West Plano on their XD eXtreme Digital screen with Dolby Atmos.
    The speakers were arrayed along the sides and embedded in the ceiling
    I was not at all impressed. From my vantage, centered on row J, there were very few effects to hear. I noticed rain overhead, but not much else. The wisps seemed focused on the front screen. The horse galloping was side-focused, and sounded okay.
    Considering I paid $14.75 to see this on XD, I would not pay a premium to see a movie in Atmos.
    YMMV.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  7. Craig S

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    Well, that kills my enthusiasm for a road trip to West Plano...
    Thanks for the honest review, Steve.
     
  8. Steve Tannehill

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    Maybe the effect would have been more pronounced had I not been sitting close to the screen on row J, which is the first third of the auditorium.
    Frankly, I've heard other 7.1 auditoriums with fewer speakers arrayed on the sides that sounded just as enveloping.
    It is showing through Tuesday, 4:40pm if you want to catch it. It only has 3 showtimes per day.
     
  9. NY2LA

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    Great just what we need, an excuse to make theatres look even more like a techno-geek's basement. The El Capitan now has those hideous trusses hanging overhead, ruining the gorgeous vintage look for an effect that was totally lost on me. I was in the back row of the orchestra, under the overhang, but that's not supposed to matter now, is it? I thought it was just plain loud. The EC rig is temp, as in the Dolby across the street, but I would bet that integrating into decor and making the speakers less conspicuous is not at all on their list of priorities. The trend is to show off all that hardware, because it is perceived as cool, but to me it's like the guys who used to haul those enormous blasting boom boxes around.
     
  10. Steve Tannehill

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    I made another visit to Cinemark West Plano to see Taken 2 in Dolby Atmos on their XD screen.
    This time, the theater staff handed out hats that said Taken 2 on the front, and "I heard it in Dolby Atmos" on the back.
    As I got to my seat, about 2/3 back this time, preceding the before-show programming, they showed two Atmos trailers. This time I could hear the effects overhead and side-to-side. It makes me wonder if they had not engaged the Atmos processor for Brave, or if sitting further back is the sweet spot.
    Before the trailers started, a woman representing Dolby addressed us, telling us that we were one of the few theaters in the world equipped with Dolby Atmos, and that there were speakers overhead. She said to listen for the car chases to hear examples of the effects. Then she said they would be handing out a survey card and that we could win an iPad if we went online to respond.
    Before the movie, they repeated one of the Atmos trailers. As for the sound of the movie, I noticed fireworks overhead, and one of the two car chases had sound that went through the auditorium. The second car chase just sounded like standard, front-focused with ambient sound in the surround channels.
    I liked Dolby Atmos better this time. But I still think it is a hard-sell.
    Oh, after the movie the Dolby workers were outside the theater handing out cards with Dolby buttons attached to them. I now have an addition to my flair collection.
     
  11. Colin Jacobson

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    So are "Brave" and "Taken 2" the only Atmos-mixed movies so far? When I was in NJ a few weeks ago, I wanted to see something at the theater there but they had nothing Atmos playing...
     
  12. Tim Glover

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    Ditto! We travelers should plan a gathering. Count me in :)
     
  13. Joe Wong

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    For those HTFers intrigued by Atmos, and who are eagerly anticipating more Middle Earth, the following is of interest;
    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/hobbit-receive-dolby-atmos-sound-382197
    Cheers,
    Joe
     
  14. Steve Tannehill

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    Posted already in the Hobbit thread.
    Also, Chasing Mavericks is in Dolby Atmos this week.
     
  15. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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    The nearest Atmos theater (to me) is in NJ. I'll be in NJ 12/13 and 12/15 for the Stones. "Hobbit" opens 12/14.

    I think I know what I'll be seeing 12/14 - and where I'll be seeing it!
     

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