Cinema immersive sound is upside down. Technology providers invest in intellectual property for immersive sound rendering engines, but they compete on the availability of content. Trading on content has been counterproductive to growth, contributing to a lackluster immersive sound installation count that is less than two percent of worldwide screens. Immersive sound has more moving parts to address than distribution, but the industry is fixated on a design from scratch, do-everything, distribution standard that’s two and a half years in the making and at least as many years from finding its way into cinemas. A deeper look shows that the key friction point of production for competing systems has been addressed. It’s time to put immersive sound right side up and grow the format.
The cinema has been the genesis of audio and imaging innovation that drives new, spectacular, and captivating experiences to moviegoers. For more than 50 years, Dolby has been, and continues to be, at the forefront of these efforts to advance the science of sight and sound that lead to unforgettable entertainment experiences. Dolby began its journey in delivering superlative audio experiences with the introduction of Dolby Stereo with Star Wars in 1977. Fifteen years later, with the release of Batman Returns, Dolby Digital ushered in a next-generation multichannel surround sound experience that became the de facto standard for movies, television, gaming, and more. We have always believed, and the industry has demonstrated, that sound is every bit as vital to the patron’s experience as image. Our ability to deliver an improved experience and draw audiences deeper into a story by enabling them to hear the whole picture is what solidifies their desire for a theatrical experience time and time again.
Digital cinema electronic distribution in the Latin American region is rapidly reaching theatres, delivering studio and independent movies as well as live alternative content. Out of the estimated 12,000 screens in the region (some 2,200 theatres), electronic distribution has been growing to reach more than 6,000 screens. Mexico is the main contributor to the number, as Cinepolis and Cinemex account for more than 5,500 of those screens.
Turkey’s cinema exhibition business is in impressive health right now, with more than 2,000 screens generating more than 40 million ticket sales in 2015. It’s clearly a great time for Turkish cinemagoers. With consumer confidence up, new theatres are opening at an unprecedented rate. Hungry for better entertainment experiences, customers are packing auditoriums in big-screen multiplexes and smaller boutique cinemas.
One of the highlights at this year’s Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier Program could be the five-minute virtual reality film experience Giant. Drawing on director and co-creator Milica Zec’s personal experiences as a child in war-torn Serbia, the VR narrative takes the viewer into the experience of a family struggling to survive in a war zone. The film shows how cinematic VR lets us observe our instincts and ourselves and become more conscious of the way we make choices.
The obvious difference between sound for the big screen, the small screen, and now, the tiny screen, may not seem that different. In many ways they are not. As sound designers and editors, we want the viewer to experience every gunshot and explosion as well as every word, whether listening in a theater, at home on a TV, or earbuds on the subway. Sound for the big screen on a movie like Trumbo means you can use 5, 7 or in the case of Dolby Atmos, unlimited channels, for panning. We also have a large dynamic range because of the room size and speaker size. This, in many ways, is the easiest for those of us creating the sound tracks.
DCP stands for Digital Cinema Package. It’s the name for the collection of digital files that make up a digital movie distribution. Actually, there’s a proper name for the collection of files that make up a movie – called the Composition – but no one seems to like that name, and everyone likes the name DCP. There are two kinds of DCPs in the world, because engineers can never leave things alone. The Good DCP and the Bad DCP. When I say Bad DCP, I mean the one called Interop DCP. When I say Good DCP, I’m talking about the one called SMPTE DCP.
At the 2013 National Association of Broadcasters the founders of Archimedia were looking for what the media industry needed next. We were surprised to see a lot of poor video in the booths of the world's best manufacturers so we asked them why? We were told that it was because at a trade show, they needed players for all formats and all kinds of displays, and there wasn't one.
Editor’s Note: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office turned down an offer from the group Remote Area Medical to offer free health care to thousands of New Yorker’s the day after Thanksgiving. Filmmakers Jeff Reichert and Farihah Zaman have made a documentary about Remote Area Medical, which opens in New York on November 28. They published an open letter in response. Here is their letter:
[Editor’s Note: This article is excerpted from the Digital Cinema Society eNewsletter, July 2014, and is published with the author’s permission.]
The world is abuzz with talk of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and in order to avoid conjuring up images of CIA missile strikes, or NSA spying, I’ll avoid using their more common name – drone. The technological and commercial promise of this mode of aviation seems boundless. Amazon talks of delivering packages this way someday soon. Someday you might order a pizza and a UAV will make a beeline navigating by GPS over traffic right to your door. But as things stand today, professional filmmakers in the United States are not allowed to use UAVs on a movie shoot.