Immersive beyond-surround cinema-sound with Dolby Atmos - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #1 of 17 Old 02-19-13, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
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Immersive beyond-surround cinema-sound with Dolby Atmos


To mimic real life sound in the cinema experience, Dolby Atmos technology delivers overhead and surround sounds in crystal clarity. Now film creators can provide sound to audiences exactly how intended. This new technology allows the use of dynamic effects by moving sound throughout the theater, reproducing an audio experience that is lifelike and natural. Up to 64 speakers are employed to really make the sound hit your eardrums in a realistic way.

Technical Design

Building the movie soundtrack is done through a unique layered approach, with static ambient sounds mixed using a standard channel-based approach covering the greater portion of the base layer. Dynamic sound elements are then layered on top which can be moved around to attach to the onscreen images. The behaviors (based on the director's intent) of the elements while being played back are stored as descriptive metadata, irrespective of theater configuration. Expanding towards dual-layers ensures a consistent experience in each theater, and offers much more freedom and power for film creators.

Technology Advantages

The technology has a "scaling" component to it where it can be delivered uniquely based on the size of the auditorium, from "a small art house theater, up into a big multiplex," said Re-recording Mixer of the Pinewood Group, Ian Tapp. Dolby Atmos gives "the illusion of there being an infinite number of channels throughout the hemisphere, all the way around you and all above your head," said Ioan Allen, Senior Vice President of Dolby. To keep the cinema business driving it is important to provide an experience not available in the home and Allen feels that with Dolby Atmos they "really achieved that."


Comparisons

In terms of overhead sound, Dolby Atmos provides "true" overhead lifelike sound that is perfectly coordinated with the action onscreen. 5.1 and Dolby Surround 7.1 technologies create and effect in center, but provide more of a "Phantom" sound overhead and with less distinctions compared to what Atmos delivers.

With some sharpness and clarity loss in the inferior sound technologies, Dolby Atmos audio is more consistent and powerful, and even while sounds are moving throughout the theater, tonal quality is maintained. In an effort to maintain purity of sound, indivual speakers can be assigned unique sound elements, a feature largely lacking in 5.1 and 7.1, with their limited movement effect.

Perhaps most importantly, there is a consistent sound experience regardless of theater and regardless of the seat in the theater that is chosen to experience the film.


Availability

Only select movies at select theaters are leveraging this technology at the present time. More theaters are becoming equipped as popularity spikes. For example, only 3 SilverCity locations in Canada currently employ this enhanced sound technology, with many more spread across the United States.

Movies taking advantage of this technology have been surfacing since Summer of 2012 with the Disney and Pixar film Brave, and others in 2012 including Life of Pi, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, as well as The Last Tycoon in late December.

In 2013 we have seen Mama, and Race 2, and more recently Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons and Bruce Willis in A Good Day to Die Hard which was released on Valentine's Day in Canada and the United States.


Other titles expected in 2013 include: Oz The Great and Powerful, Trance, The Croods, Monsters University, Gravity, and the much anticipated Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness. See all Dolby Atmos Movies past and present here.
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post #2 of 17 Old 02-19-13, 03:48 PM
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Re: Immersive beyond-surround cinema-sound with Dolby Atmos

I wonder how long it will be before someone has this in their home (I know it is intended for theaters only)? The only way I could think of it being even somewhat affordable would be a DIY with lots of small speakers. Even then it would be expensive... But i'm sure someone will do it and eventually it will be offered for home use. I would think with that many channels you could also run smaller amps per channel.

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post #3 of 17 Old 02-20-13, 12:13 PM
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Re: Immersive beyond-surround cinema-sound with Dolby Atmos

I saw A Good Day to Die Hard in an Atmos theater the other night and I have to say it sounded awesome. The short "demo" of Atmos in the beginning had more tactile bass than I've felt in any other theater. If you have a supported theater near by I think it is definitely worth a trip.
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post #4 of 17 Old 02-20-13, 03:48 PM
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Re: Immersive beyond-surround cinema-sound with Dolby Atmos

At some point this house of cards is going to fall over and we are all going back to headphones. Probably with a IMAX level HUD on some goggles.
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post #5 of 17 Old 02-20-13, 08:04 PM
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Re: Immersive beyond-surround cinema-sound with Dolby Atmos

The Cinemark Plano West in Plano,TX that I go to has their XD theater with Atmos. Gonna go check it out tomorrow by watching Die Hard.
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post #6 of 17 Old 02-20-13, 11:18 PM
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Re: Immersive beyond-surround cinema-sound with Dolby Atmos

I haven't got a clue what is being offered here.
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post #7 of 17 Old 02-21-13, 02:10 PM
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Re: Immersive beyond-surround cinema-sound with Dolby Atmos

The list of supported theaters is linked in the above article but in case you've missed it:

http://www.dolby.com/us/en/professio....html#Theatres
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post #8 of 17 Old 02-21-13, 02:16 PM
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Re: Immersive beyond-surround cinema-sound with Dolby Atmos

Practically this would be very challenging to set up in a home theater. I could see some sort of adaptation of this by adding two overhead channels to the mix giving 9.1 true discreet channels but anything more would be a challenge given the space constraints we have in most of our homes.

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post #9 of 17 Old 02-21-13, 04:24 PM
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Re: Immersive beyond-surround cinema-sound with Dolby Atmos

Can you imagine what the WAF would be like if you said "I'm putting 16 speakers on the ceiling dear"!!

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post #10 of 17 Old 02-21-13, 04:31 PM
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Re: Immersive beyond-surround cinema-sound with Dolby Atmos

Quote:
Prof. wrote: View Post
Can you imagine what the WAF would be like if you said "I'm putting 16 speakers on the ceiling dear"!!
I think the way to do it would be if someone came out with 4x8 sheets that were speakers... Maybe a panel could have 10 or more speakers on it. Then you just load the room up with acoustic treatments and speaker panels.

tia,
Ron

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