There is a good possibility that you haven’t quite yet been able to experience movies to the fullest. With Dolby’s most recent sound processing engine, Dolby Atmos, you can begin to fully experience the thoughts and visions of directors. There are currently only a handful of theaters equipped with the new system, but Dolby is quickly expanding the number of theaters equipped with the new immersive technology. This new way of processing sounds places you right at the middle of an explosion or at the heart of the scene.
You might be wondering why this new technology developed by Dolby is so special. It allows directors to place sounds exactly where they want it. Using 128 discrete and lossless tracks simultaneously, along with up to 64 speakers scattered around the theater, movie goers are able to experience an arrow whizzing past their ears and cars swerving around their seats. However, do not expect all 64 speakers to be surrounding you at ear-level. Broaden the image of Surround Sound and expect speakers to be placed not just around the targeted area, but above it too. Expect to hear subtle rain drops falling from above, or a sudden mortar flying through the air landing next to you.
This new level of immersion beings at the studios producing the soundtracks. The start of a Dolby Atmos soundtrack begins at a base lay
Dolby Atmos provides the completely immersive sound experience that filmmakers like myself have long dreamed about.
—Peter Jackson, Film Directorer which contains mostly static ambient sounds. Then layering on top of these are the dynamic audio elements of the soundtrack, which move accordingly with the picture on the screen. This new technology allows the film directors and sound producers more freedom in bringing their imaginations to life and sharing them with their audiences.
Dolby Atmos is fantastic from a sound quality position. We can now hear full-range surround speakers, meaning that when we pan from the front to surround, the sound does not change in quality. The overhead speakers give us the opportunity to place the theater patron really in the location.
—John Neill, Park Road Post Production
Although currently, many of the movies released are not utilizing this new way of sound processing, there are many that have been (Star Trek into the Darkness, Iron Man 3, Pacific Rim) or are soon to be released (Elysium, Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Insidious: Chapter 2) or in production.
Dolby Atmos is currently geared towards commercial applications. However, it may eventually be adopted for home cinemas. In a way, this gives us all new opportunities to go to the local cinemas.
Some Minimum Technical Specs:
Three behind the screen speakers
Individually amplified and wired side, rear, and top surround speakers
Screen or Low-Frequency Effects (LFE) Subwoofers
Provide uniform audio from all directions and speakers
Screen/Surround speakers must be full range with an effective bandwidth of 40Hz to 16kHz
Each speaker and speaker array must be calibrated to deliver a sound pressure level of 85dB at reference listening position
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