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  #1  
Old 08-17-2012, 12:56 AM
peter5992 peter5992 is offline
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Thumbs up Dolby Atmos

Good evening everyone:

Tonight I was at Dolby Labs in San Francisco for a private demo of their new proprietary Atmos System, and all I can say is this: it is AWESOME.

Basically what it does it take 5.1 or 7.1 to the next level and translate it to a fully immersed experience, tailored to individual theaters and even individual sections within theaters. No matter where you sit, you will get the best experience.

Presenters were Kevin Perry, John Luse and Scott Wood (Avid). The way this works technically, is that you mix everything in Pro Tools, but Pro Tools is closely integrated with Atmos. In Pro Tools / Atmos you create separate 'object' tracks which can then be automated in a 3D environment.

You have a graphical display of the theater plus where individaul 'objects' (sound FX) are going to.

Advantages for the theater experience:

1. No loss of audio fidelity when sounds are traveling from front to rear / sideways / overhead

2. Full range response from all directions

I asked a lot of questions, and I am still digesting tonight 's event after a long day, but this is totally cool.

First feature film this was used on is Brave (Pixar), but we saw remixed scenes from a major feature film and a feature animation, and a 20 sec demo by Erik Adaahl (the fellow who did the sound design for Transformers). Totally sick.
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  #2  
Old 08-17-2012, 02:09 AM
Sonopolis Sonopolis is offline
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Default Re: Dolby Atmos

Hi Peter,

can you be a bit more specific on the integration with Pro Tools? Is is it a plug-in solution? Can you move the audio objects with a hardware controller like a joystick?
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  #3  
Old 08-17-2012, 04:18 PM
Eric L Eric L is offline
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Default Re: Dolby Atmos

Yes there is a Dolby Panner Plugin and yes it is controllable via a hardware panner.
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  #4  
Old 08-17-2012, 08:27 PM
peter5992 peter5992 is offline
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Default Re: Dolby Atmos

Sorry if I was a bit too 'gushy' - the Dolby screening room was quite something, not a place I get to everyday.

Anyways, here is how it works:
  • You still mix and automate in Pro Tools
  • However, you create separate tracks for certain audio elements (nicknamed 'objects') which you place on separate tracks
  • The Dolby Atmos system is an 'add on' hardware / software system which comes after Pro Tools
  • Atmos translates your automation into a 3D environment, using all available speakers
  • The output of Atmos is an integrated file or file folder, with software so the system knows which assets to pick at any point
I am sorry I am not very technical, I wish someone from Dolby could step in and set me straight.

Actually I have a few follow up questions myself:
  1. About the full range speakers - I thought that very low frequency sounds are 'all over the place' so it doens't matter really where the subwoofer is?
  2. Going back, about automation, yes you can automate in 7.1 but not overhead (vertically) so how does that work? Is that still in pro tools or in atmos?
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  #5  
Old 08-22-2012, 02:09 PM
kperry kperry is offline
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Default Re: Dolby Atmos

Hi, Peter-
Glad you had a good time - I had a good time putting things together, and hosting.

To answer your questions,

1. Usually, theater surrounds are calibrated to 82dB, to account for the fact that you're feeding an array of speakers - Dolby Atmos has changed this to the same calibration level (85dB) as the screen channels, so you can smoothly pan between the screen and any of the surrounds. Also, theater surrounds generally didn't previously produce full-range sound - so there was a major shift between the screen and surround speakers. In that room, we've added extra subs in the rear, with bass management from the surrounds, to take care of that issue. It's true that it's difficult for people to accurately localize sound below about 80 Hertz - but a lot of older surrounds built for cinema don't even reproduce well that low...

2. All of the panning of the sound objects are done in the Dolby Atmos panner plugins that send their pan metadata and timecode straight to the Dolby Atmos RMU (Rendering Mastering Unit) - we're bypassing the Pro Tools panners in this case.

There's a good explanation in the PDF at:
http://www.dolby.com/uploadedFiles/A...for-Cinema.pdf

You can also watch the instructional video we showed at:
http://www.dolby.com/us/en/professio...mos-video.html

The presenter was John Loose - the manager of our Creative Services department... (Since he's my boss, I'm pretty sure he'd want his name spelled right )


-Kevin
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  #6  
Old 08-27-2012, 08:47 AM
peter5992 peter5992 is offline
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Default Re: Dolby Atmos

Thanks for the feedback Kevin ... it is fascinating.

I have two more follow up questions:
  1. Is is possible to go back and forth between Atmos and a 'regular' 5.1 or 7.1 surround session, eg if people collaborate on one and the same project where one facilty has Atmos whereas the other is still on regular 5.1, or are the object tracks proprietary for Atmos (meaning they can't be 'folded down' to 5.1 without losing automation information specific for Atmos)?
  2. Is there going to be a "THX" certification for Atmos theaters or something similar?
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  #7  
Old 08-27-2012, 10:42 AM
Alexander K Alexander K is offline
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Default Re: Dolby Atmos

What for stands the specification 9.1? It is mentioned all over the Dolby Docs.

Is it right that the "big start" for Atmos is 2013 (sales launch of the RMU and cinema processors)?
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  #8  
Old 08-27-2012, 06:06 PM
kperry kperry is offline
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Default Re: Dolby Atmos

Hi, Peter-
I'm just the tech engineer in the Creative Services department, I don't (and can't, because I don't know) really speak publicly for the company on product development and future features - but I'll try to answer you as best I can.
Quote:
Is is possible to go back and forth between Atmos and a 'regular' 5.1 or 7.1 surround session, eg if people collaborate on one and the same project where one facilty has Atmos whereas the other is still on regular 5.1, or are the object tracks proprietary for Atmos (meaning they can't be 'folded down' to 5.1 without losing automation information specific for Atmos)?
The object panning metadata for the objects isn't stored in Pro Tools, it's stored in the RMU, outside of Pro Tools. Therefore, both rooms would need a Dolby Atmos setup. However, we have no problem premixing for Dolby Atmos in Creative Services' 7.1 mix room, which is far more likely in my experience...

Quote:
Is there going to be a "THX" certification for Atmos theaters or something similar?
I'm not sure/don't know - I generally find out stuff like that very shortly before the press/show/general public, when my department is asked to put together a video for the tradeshow...

And for Alexander -

Quote:
What for stands the specification 9.1? It is mentioned all over the Dolby Docs.

Is it right that the "big start" for Atmos is 2013 (sales launch of the RMU and cinema processors)?
9.1 is Left, Right, Center, LFE, Left Side Surround, Right Side Surround, Left Back Surround, Right Back Surround, and Left Overhead, Right Overhead channels.

I definitely can't speak to full release dates, or what bit's coming out exactly when - that's well above my rank (I generally help making shiny tradeshow videos)... I'm sure there will be official company communiques forthcoming.
Sorry for all the disclaimer text, I want to be totally helpful, but clear where I'm coming from.
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  #9  
Old 08-29-2012, 03:05 AM
Alexander K Alexander K is offline
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Default Re: Dolby Atmos

Thank you Kevin Perry for the useful info.

Cheers
Alexander
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  #10  
Old 09-05-2012, 05:36 AM
Sonopolis Sonopolis is offline
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Default Re: Dolby Atmos

Thanks for the info Kevin and Eric,

however, going through the Dolby Atmos PDF and gathering bits of information about this new technology, some questions are coming up. Maybe some of you, who have had a demo, can give some answers.

From my understanding the panner plug-in and the RMU are being needed to define the spacial position of "objects". I also understand, that the RMU will be the successor to the current CPs, at least on Atmo dubbing stages.

So what about the sound edit/design phase? Dolby Atmos projects will undoubtedly take extra time and effort in preparation and an RMU will not be present in every edit suite. Will there be a smaller solution for sound designers? Maybe reflecting the mentioned 9.1, maybe a plug-in only solution?

The second question goes towards deliveries. How will a typical Dolby Atmos M&E look like, how an FX stem? My guess is that you basically will have to deliver a PT session containing the particular beds and object tracks together with some metadata from the Dolby RMU. But maybe I misunderstood something here.
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