Movies that Debuted New Sound Formats

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Ryan Chron, Sep 8, 2003.

  1. Ryan Chron

    Ryan Chron Extra

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    I have heard that Jurassic Park was the first film to use DTS and Batman was the first to use Dolby Digital. I also know that one of the star wars films was the first to use a form of dolby surround. Does anyone know any other films that were the first to use a new sound format, such as Dolby Digital EX, SDDS or even Stereo in general.
     
  2. Tom Brennan

    Tom Brennan Screenwriter

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    I am pretty sure The Phantom Menace was the first film to debut Dolby Digital EX. I would be curious to know what the first SDDS films was.
     
  3. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    I think it was In The Line Of Fire; that's the first film I remember reading came out in SDDS, and it (like the format) appeared a month or so after Jurassic Park and DTS. It might have been Last Action Hero, though.
     
  4. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  5. GregK

    GregK Screenwriter

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    I think "This Is Cinerama" was the first film to have seven channel sound. Five front channels, two surrounds, and a cue activated center back speaker.
     
  6. Tom Brennan

    Tom Brennan Screenwriter

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    Last Action Hero would make sense since it's a Columbia film.

    Are you certain that Batman was the first Dolby Digital film Ryan? I remember seeing it in 70mm 6 Track.
     
  7. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Cinematographer

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    I believe "Popeye" (starring Robin Williams) was the first film to be released using Ultra Stereo which I believe was a format similar to Dolby Stereo (optical).

    Yes, This Is Cinerama introduced 7 channel magnetic surround sound in 1952. There was an audio engineer whose job was to pan sounds to the rear speaker. He had a cue sheet. When TIC played at the Hollywood Dome last year they didn't have anybody to pan the sound. Bummer!
     
  8. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    I think Ultra-Stereo was introduced on the 35mm prints of Cobra in 1986. It was a lower-cost knock-off of analog Dolby Stereo (lower cost to producers and theatres due to a lower royalty payment). Cannon Films/Golan-Globus were the chief users of it at first, IIRC.

    Popeye had an experimental sound track on some 35mm prints (we got one by accident - the track had dots intead of the normal SVA) that may have been some sort of digital experiment, but it wasn't Ultra-Stereo.

    EDIT: Batman Returns was the first general release Dolby Digital film. Dolby's website has some PDF's with the history of their sound formats, they're worth reading.
     
  9. MatthewLouwrens

    MatthewLouwrens Producer

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    Walt Disney's Fantasia - first use of stereophonic sound.
     
  10. Adam Barratt

    Adam Barratt Cinematographer

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    The first film with a Dolby Stereo soundtrack was Tommy, and the first with a Dolby Stereo soundtrack with a surround channel encoded was A Star is Born. Star Wars came out two years and one year after these films, respectively.

    More introduction dates here.

    Adam
     
  11. John Wielgosz

    John Wielgosz Stunt Coordinator

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    As far as I know:

    DTS - 'Jurassic Park'

    Dolby Digital - Tested in limited markets with 'Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country', but the first national rollout was for 'Batman Returns' in the summer of '92

    SDDS - According to 'Hit and Run', the intended movie for the rollout was 'Last Action Hero', but the only system installed in LA malfunctioned and blew out the theater's speakers. Employees apparently joked that SDDS stood for 'Still Doesn't Do Squat'. The final rollout was for 'In The Line of Fire'.

    Edit: Well, Adam's link above pretty much explains it all...
     
  12. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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    Adam's link lists it, but I think it's worth noting separately that Dick Tracy was the first film to use the now-defunct CDS 6-channel digital format, which predated DD and DTS. Other CDS films included T2, Edward Scissorhands (although there has been debate about whether this film used split surrounds), and Hudson Hawk.

    DJ
     
  13. Ryan Chron

    Ryan Chron Extra

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    Thanks everybody, that just about sums it up. I knew dolby digital debuted on one of the batman films. Anyone know of any knew formats soon to debut in theaters?
     
  14. Aaron Garman

    Aaron Garman Second Unit

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    I believe an overhead channel for Dolby Digital was tested on the film "We Were Soldiers". I don't think any theatres actually use this, but I know that it was tested. If I remember correctly, there was a thread I read about it awhile back.

    AJG
     
  15. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Technically, the 1930's reissue of Abel Gance's Napoleon...whittled down considerably...had a type of stereophonic sound.
     
  16. Iain Jackson

    Iain Jackson Second Unit

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    Isn't there going to be a new 10 channel DTS format soon?
     
  17. Jude Faelnar

    Jude Faelnar Stunt Coordinator

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    From IMDB.com:

    Trivia for Earthquake (1974)

    The first film to be presented in "Sensurround", a special low-frequency bass speaker setup consisting of four huge speakers loaned by distributors to select theatres showing the film. This system was employed only during the quake sequences of the film, and was so powerful that it actually cracked plaster at some movie theaters. "Sensurround" was employed in only three other films released by Universal: Midway (1976), Rollercoaster (1977), and the theatrical release of Battlestar Galactica (1979).
     
  18. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Cinematographer

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    Ultra Stereo was incorporated in 1981 according to their site. So 1986 would be quite late for their first effort.

    I saw Earthquake at Grauman's Chinese Theatre when it opened. They placed nets over the auditorium. Mostly for effect I'd think, since the low frequency drivers where on the floor.

    I was quite surprised when leaving the theatre that Hollywood was still undisturbed however! [​IMG]
     
  19. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    Ultra-Stereo also makes sound systems for theatres you can buy in place of Dolby; I call them "El Cheapo" [​IMG]
    Since digital sound has become commonplace I don't know if any of their new equipment supports it, and I haven't seen them credited for sound on any films in quite some time, except for a few straight-to-video titles. If it's in Ultra-Stereo, you know it's a great movie though [​IMG]
     

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