While working on audio for films this week the term “Dolby Atmos” has been mentioned several times. This technology is music to my ears (no pun intended) and I am eager to get to Crown Casino where they have a cinema equipped with the ground-breaking surround sound system “Atmos” by Dolby.
What is Dolby Atmos? Brought to life in 2012 Dolby Atmos is the latest and greatest addition to cinemas allowing film-goers to be even more immersed in movies by the implementation of more speakers, new speaker locations and new ways of moving sound around a 3D space.
After reading numerous journal and blogs I failed to discover any bad comments or negative thinking towards the somewhat new Dolby Atmos surround sound system.
The new system features speakers mounted along the roof and additional speakers on the side and rear walls. The average amount of speakers per cinema now with Atmos is roughly around 50. With 3 sub woofers (2 rears and 1 front), 16 speakers along the roof, 5 stage speakers, 7 rear speakers and 14 mounted on the walls.
Dolby Atmos is now capable of handling 128 audio tracks being fed into 64 speakers. Not only that, Atmos has made the shift from channel based audio to “Object based technology”. This refers to being able to move any sound around the cinema like never before. With timbre matching speakers the sound can now move between location without any obvious jarring shifts. This allows for mix engineers to disguise a location of a sound or create a sense of movement overhead, front to back, left to right and all combination in between.
“Filmmakers can precisely specify where those sound objects should originate and how they should move” (Dolby, 2014).
What does this mean for the up and coming audio engineers? Well with lots of cinemas following suit it seems inevitable that AAA filmmakers will want to take advantage of the use Atmos and create the best possible experience for the viewer. I see this as a great opportunity for audio engineers to gain more recognition and showcase creativity. The amount of impact that can Atmos can have on a film has been clearly recognised already with the movie Gravity.
Read more here
Cinema, Dolby Atmos. (2014, September 29). Dolby Atmos Retrieved from http://blog.dolby.com/2014/09/dolby-atmos-object-based-audio-matters/
Exhibitors sound off on Dolby Atmos." Film Journal International May 2013: 66+. Expanded Academic ASAP. Web. 6 Nov. 2015.
Feltman, Rachel. (2014, March 3). Gravity Retrieved from http://qz.com/183269/the-3-d-sound-mixing-that-won-gravity-its-oscar-is-going-to-show-up-in-a-lot-more-films/
Sharp, Jasper. (2015, June). Future Sounds Retrieved from http://ezproxy.saeaustralia.edu.au:2054/ps/i.do?ty=as&v=2.1&u=saeinstitute&it=search&s=RELEVANCE&p=EAIM&qt=TI~Exhibitors%20sound%20off%20on~~SP~66~~IU~5~~SN~1526-9884~~VO~116&lm=DA~120130000&sw=w&authCount=1