Dolby Laboratories, Inc. has announced Dolby Atmos, a new audio platform that will change the experience of sound in entertainment. Launching in the cinema, Dolby Atmos delivers a more natural and realistic sound-field, which transports people into the story with a lifelike, sensory experience.
For the first time, Dolby Atmos introduces a hybrid approach to mixing and directs sound as dynamic objects that envelop the listener, in combination with channels for playback. Dolby Atmos enables adaptive rendering to ensure that the playback experience is as close as possible to the creator’s original vision in any given environment, irrespective of the specific speaker configuration in the playback environment.
Dolby Atmos is an end-to-end solution that takes into account the entire content pipeline and brings together mixers, studios, and distributors to create dramatic improvements in the audio experience. The Dolby Atmos platform provides content creators with a new creative freedom to tell their stories. It simplifies movie distribution with a single universal package to deliver to audiences the full impact of the artist’s intent, regardless of theatre configuration.
For Content Creators
Dolby Atmos delivers a new level of creative control to sound designers and mixers by marrying today’s familiar channel-based mixing methods with the versatility of dynamic audio object–based mixing. The flexibility of object-based mixing provides total control over placement and movement of individual sounds or “objects” anywhere within a theatre environment.
Dolby Atmos works with the same tools that sound designers and mixers currently favor, allowing them to efficiently create highly compelling content. Using descriptive metadata about how the audio should be played back, Dolby Atmos faithfully generates legacy 5.1-and 7.1-channel mixes automatically, thus saving valuable time during postproduction. Mixers can monitor and tweak these versions in real time and quickly switch between them to verify that everything plays as intended in all cases.
For Studios and Distributors
Dolby Atmos is designed to fit into existing studio workflows with minimal impact on the production schedule. It allows studios to author once and optimize playback everywhere, eliminating the need for multiple print masters. Distribution is simplified with a single Digital Cinema Package (DCP) master, which can then be faithfully rendered at playback in a way that is independent of channel count or speaker location.
Dolby Atmos uses information about the speaker layout and acoustic playback capabilities of the theatre to determine how best to render the audio, delivering consistent and optimized playback that will sound as close to the original artistic intent as is possible for that specific environment. Introduction of the Dolby Atmos platform to the industry offers a compelling, only-in-a-theatre experience to audiences.
Initially, Dolby will be focused on installing Dolby Atmos in a select number of premium global locations in the United States, Europe, China, and Japan, with plans for a larger rollout of Dolby Atmos in 2013.
Preparing for Dolby Atmos
With the ability to transmit up to 128 simultaneous and lossless audio inputs (channels or objects), and the ability to render from 5.1 all the way up to 64 discrete speaker feeds, Dolby Atmos introduces a completely new audio capability for exhibitors. The inherent scalability and adaptability of Dolby Atmos allows exhibitors to manage their budgets and upgrade cinemas over time, yet improve the experience for audiences at each step.
To effectively support precise positioning and movement of sound around the theatre, speakers must be individually amplified and support a wide frequency response and dispersion. To help exhibitors with their upgrades, Harman Professional, a leading manufacturer of high-quality audio equipment, has been working with Dolby to design innovative and optimized solutions to simplify deployment of Dolby Atmos.
Harman’s JBL Professional loudspeakers and Crown Audio amplifiers and network technologies are the system of choice at many of the world’s largest and most prestigious cinemas and theatre chains. Harman is deploying this experience and its category-leading engineering capabilities to design a host of specialized powered loudspeakers to capitalize on the innovations of Dolby Atmos. In doing so, Harman Professional will enable filmmakers and exhibitors to provide their customers with a more immersive cinematic experience.
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